What is Speech and Language Therapy?

 

Here are some common questions that I run into when working in a school or a clinic setting from professionals and parents.

Q: Is there a difference between Speech and Language Therapy?

A: Yes! Speech and Language therapy two different entities. A speech disorder refers to a problem with the actual production of sounds, whereas a language disorder refers to a difficulty understanding or appropriately putting words together to communicate ideas.

Q: Are there different types of speech disorders?

A: Yes, there are four main areas:

  • An Articulation disorder or Phonological disorder. An articulation disorder refers to incorrect sound production. A phonological disorder refers to incorrect sound patterns.  These disorders can greatly reduce intelligibility in conversation.
  • A Fluency disorder refers to stuttering. This is when the flow of speech is characterized by abnormal stops, repetitions, and/or prolonging sounds.
  • A Voice disorder refers to problems with pitch, volume, or quality of the voice.
  • Dysphagia/oral feeding disorders refer to difficulties with eating and swallowing.

Q: Are there different types of language disorders?

A: Yes, there are two main areas:

  • A Receptive disorder is characterized by difficultly understanding or processing language.
  • A Expressive disorder is characterized by difficulty expressing thoughts and wants/needs, limited vocabulary, or inability to use language in a socially appropriate way.

Q: What types of interventions are used in speech/language therapy?

A: There are numerous types of interventions based on what deficits are present. Listed below are some of the most widely used therapies.

  • Interventions for articulation and phonological disorders: minimal pair therapy, paired auditory, visual, and tactile stimuli in intensive drills, traditional articulation therapy (Van Riper, 1978), and training sound combinations (CV, VC, CVC…).
  • Interventions for fluency disorders: fluency shaping, traditional stuttering therapy (Van Riper, 1958), and diaphragmatic breathing.
  • Interventions for voice disorders: teaching good vocal hygiene, reducing/stopping vocal abusive behaviors, altering pitch, volume, or breathe support, and stress      reduction/relaxation exercises.
  • Interventions for dysphagia/oral feeding disorder: sensory stimulation, pacing/feeding strategies, oral motor exercises, maneuvers, adaptive equipment/utensils, diet modification, postural/positioning techniques, and behavioral interventions.
  • Interventions for expressive language disorders:  increasing vocabulary, teaching strategies for social language, increasing ability to answer WH questions, augmentative devices, and strategies to increase syntax skills.
  • Interventions for receptive language disorders: increasing vocabulary, strategies to improve the ability to follow directions, and strategies to improve comprehension of WH questions.

Blog By: Mary Williams- Anderson

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