Top 5 Benefits of Speech Therapy for Kids
If you have a child with a speech disorder or impairment, speech therapy involves assessing and treating all types of speech disorders and communication problems. Speech therapists use a variety of techniques like language intervention and articulation therapy activities.
Speech conditions range from articulation delays to complex disorders like down syndrome, autism, motor speech disorders, hearing impairment, and other developmental problems that affect children.
Speech-language pathology meets the child where they are according to their individual issues. While the main goals of a speech therapist is to improve communication, there are other benefits that help children in a number of ways.
If you’re unsure whether speech therapy is suitable for your kid, here are five benefits you should to know:
1. Enhanced Articulation Skills
One of the benefits speech therapy offers kids who need it is enhanced articulation skills. In speech, articulation refers to a child’s ability to move their lips, tongue, palate, and jaw to produce speech sounds or phonemes.
Speech issues have a lifelong negative effect and should be addressed immediately. If you have a kid that has a speech disorder, his articulation skills may be compromised due to decreased intelligibility if no speech therapy is offered. Intelligibility refers to people’s understanding of your child’s speech.
Getting a speech therapist to help your kid develop articulation skills can ensure that he produces sound patterns or speech sounds in a way that increases intelligibility in the future.
2. Improved Expressive Language
Although speech is primarily involved in developing a person’s motor ability to speak, language is more symbolic of rules used to pass a message. Symbols can include words that are either written or spoken. They may also include the use of gestures like waving to mean ‘bye bye’, shoulder shrugging to mean ‘I don’t know,’ or raising eyebrows to communicate surprise.
Hiring a speech therapist can help children with speech disorders learn new words, and combine them to form sentences and phrases. This enables children to communicate better with you and other people.
3. Develop Receptive Skills
Another benefit of speech therapy for kids is the development of receptive or listening skills. Speech therapists work with kids to improve their receptive language to listen and understand better. In many cases, kids have a strong sense of what they understand but struggle with expressive language.
If your child struggles with receptive and expressive language, a speech therapist can help him overcome this challenge. Speech therapists do this by teaching them new vocabulary and showing them how to apply it when answering questions, following directions, and engaging in simple conversations.
4. Reduced Stuttering
Some kids develop stuttering during childhood. Stuttering is a common speech disorder that affects kids’ speech fluency. Often, this disorder is characterized by a broken speech flow known as disfluencies. Although every person experience disfluency in speech at one time or another, too many disfluencies can affect one’s ability to communicate effectively.
Primary indicators of stuttering that may require the help of a speech therapist include prolongations, repetitions, blocks, and interjections. Some secondary behaviors may also be present in severe stuttering cases. These include tension in the face, chest, jaw, neck, and shoulders.
People with severe stuttering conditions may also flare their nose, blink their eyes and perform odd facial movements. Further, they may experience extraordinary motor movement with their upper and lower limbs, like stomping their feet and clenching their fists.
Whether your kid shows mild or severe stuttering behavior, working with a speech therapist can help them develop strategies for controlling such behavior in a way that enhances speech intelligibility and fluency.
5. Reduce Voice Hoarseness
The other benefit that speech therapy could offer kids is reducing voice hoarseness caused by voice disorders. In most cases, kids experience hoarseness, a voice disorder that results from vocal abuses that damage or strain their vocal folds.
Vocal abuse includes habits like yelling, coughing, excessive talking, and throat clearing. Speech therapy enables kids to repair damaged or weakened vocal folds while helping them reduce practices relating to vocal abuse. Moreover, speech therapy can help kids improve voice quality by addressing sound vibration in the nasal, oral, and pharyngeal cavities.
Final Thoughts and Resources
Speech therapy is an effective way of treating speech disorders in children. Everyday speech disorders that affect kids in their childhood include poor articulation, hoarseness of voice, stuttering, and receptive language. This will more than likely bring increased anxiety.
If these disorders are left unaddressed, the ability of your child to communicate effectively in the future may be affected. If you think your kid suffers from a speech disorder or impairment, engaging a speech therapist can help him overcome the challenge and communicate better as he grows up.
Explore this guide on speech pronunciation for kids, provided by Maryville University. The guide provides detailed insights and resources on the following topics:
- Types of Speech Disorders
- Activities Parents Can Use to Teach Pronunciation
- Helpful Tools and Professional Speech Therapy
- Meeting Speech Pronunciation Goals for Kids and more
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