Short Term and Long Term Benefits of Speech Therapy For Your Child
A child’s development is not black and white. As human beings, there is a myriad of factors and characteristics that make us all different, not to mention biological and environmental differences. As with other skills and milestones, the age kids begin speaking can vary. These differences are not always a clear indication of anything. Take the example of Albert Einstein, who didn’t begin speaking until he was three years old. Some children might struggle with speaking and swallowing from an early age and this would worry any parent who worries about their child every step of the way. So if you suspect your child could benefit from speech therapy, here is what it can do for you.
First, let’s take a look at some basic concepts. Let’s remember that language is about understanding information and about being understood. Speech is the verbal expression of language and includes the outward articulation of such. Problems of speech and language often overlap.
What is speech therapy?
Most people think about speech therapy as simply assisting with the literal act of speaking. While this is the main component of speech therapy, it also has other important aspects to it like language disorders and social skills. Many children are often considered ‘non-verbal.’ These kids can benefit greatly from speech therapy because they still need to be able to effectively communicate and learn the basics of language to set them up for life.
What Causes Speech Delay?
Speech delays can have multiple causes or reasons. An oral impairment including problems with the tongue or palate or a shorter fold beneath the tongue can limit tongue movement and therefore affect speech. These can also lead to oral-motor problems and these occur if there is some delay in the areas of the brain that are responsible for speech.
Signs of Speech-Language Delay
Many parents often wonder if their child needs speech therapy or whether they are just ‘late bloomers.’ Seeing a speech-language pathologist will help identify any problems that exist. A baby who doesn’t respond to sound or vocalize should generally be checked by a doctor right away. Here are a couple of signs that might clarify if your child might be a candidate for speech therapy. Consider signing your child up for speech therapy if:
- By 12 months your child is not using any gestures or waving bye-bye
- By 18 months prefers gestures over vocalizing
- By 18 months has trouble imitating sounds
- By 2 years old is not producing words or phrases spontaneously
An SLP will check a couple of things when assessing your child for speech impairments. These include:
- The capacity of your child to understand the language
- Your child’s current ability to speak
- How clearly our child communicates
- Your child’s oral-motor status
Benefits of Speech Therapy
There are plenty of benefits to your child as he uses speech therapy. Professional speech therapy will work exercises with your child that will help strengthen their speech muscles and will help them learn to shape and form sounds correctly. There are also other aspects of speech therapy that will benefit your child in terms of their ability to develop socially. This might apply much more directly to children with autism who often struggle with social cues. Overall speech therapy has a wide range of benefits including:
- A development of conversational skills that helps them in their interaction with others including adults and children their age
- Their ability to express thoughts, ideas, and feelings
- Their understanding of social cues to self regulate the conversation
- Clarity of speech and articulation
- Non-verbal communication skills including body language
Other benefits of speech therapy might be more far-reaching and help your child feel more comfortable in everyday situations.
Speech therapy helps kids stop stuttering. If your child suffers from a slight or severe stuttering problem, it might very well affect their confidence and ability to relate to others. Stuttering will affect their ability to speak fluently and clearly. Speech therapy has been shown to eliminate stuttering almost completely.
Increase confidence and eliminate anxiety. Many kids that have a speech development problem will develop issues with self-esteem, confidence, ability to relate to classmates, and even anxiety. These issues can exacerbate the difficulty of learning to communicate with others at an early age. If problems of social anxiety drag on, they can affect your child’s comfort in going to school or being put into social situations.
With the help of a social pathologist, your child can learn how to overcome these problems and become comfortable in communicating with others. This will help them in their schoolwork and extracurricular activities and they’ll be far more successful in relating to others, communicating, and articulating their thoughts, ideas, or even issues they may be having.
Get the Help of an Experienced Speech Pathologist at Pasitos Clinic
Here at Pasitos Clinic, our main objective is to help children get better and overcome any barrier that might be causing them anxiety or frustration. It is quite frustrating to a child that can’t communicate their feelings, doubts, fears, and more. A speech pathologist works with a child and their individual circumstances in figuring out issues they may be having with communication. The end goal is to provide your child with the tools to transcend any issues and live a thriving life where they feel confident and free to communicate their thoughts and feelings.