• Home
  • /
  • Blogs
  • /
  • What is Speech Therapy?

What is Speech Therapy? How Speech Therapy for Children helps in the treatment of communication disorders ?

Oct 1, 2020

Speech and language pathology is the pathology of speech and language (less formally referred to as speech therapy). It falls under the communication sciences and disorders discipline, which also includes the closely aligned—but separate—study of audiology. The speech and language pathologist (SLP) is defined as the professional who engages in professional practice in the areas of communication and swallowing across the life span. Communication and swallowing are broad terms encompassing many facets of function. Communication includes speech production and fluency, language, cognition, voice, resonance, and hearing. Swallowing includes all aspects of swallowing, including related feeding behaviours.

SLPs specialize in the evaluation, diagnosis, and treatment of Communication disorders (Speech disorders and Language disorders), Cognitive-communication disorders and Swallowing disorders. The practice of speech-language pathology includes those who want to learn how to communicate more effectively, such as those who want to work on the production of sounds and words, the flow of speech, voice modification or to improve their communication skills. It also includes the treatment of people with tracheostomies and ventilators.

The following disorders fall under the umbrella of speech-language pathology: Speech Disorders (e.g., stuttering, cluttering ), Language Disorders(Autism, Sub average intellectual functioning, etc..), Voice disorders (Vocal nodules, polyps), Social Communication Disorders: Communicating with others socially (e.g., greeting others, asking questions, etc.). Changing their way of communicating depending on the listener or setting Cognitive-Communication Disorders (traumatic brain injury, stroke, or dementia), Swallowing Disorders (Dysphagia result of an illness, injury, or stroke).

SLP Service Delivery Areas

Stuttering
Cluttering
Motor planning and execution
Articulation
Phonological
Phonology
Morphology
Syntax
Semantics
Pragmatics (language use and social aspects of communication)
Prelinguistic communication (e.g., joint attention, intentionality, communicative signaling)
Paralinguistic communication (e.g., gestures, signs, body language)
Literacy (reading, writing, spelling)
Attention
Memory
Problem solving
Executive functioning
Phonation quality
Pitch
Loudness
Alaryngeal voice
Oral phase
Pharyngeal phase
Esophageal phase
Atypical eating (e.g., food selectivity/refusal, negative physiologic response)
Speech, language, communication, and listening skills impacted by hearing loss, deafness
Auditory processing

These are the servicing areas of SLPs.Now have a look at how they are carrying out these services. In AMMA we are following four steps to identifying and treating the disorders. The steps are:-

  • Screening
  • Assessment
  • Treatment
  • Counseling

Screening will be the first procedure.The child is evaluated by the SLP according to a screening tool ,parents/caregivers can accompany them.After that we will follow the assessment.This session will lead to the provisional diagnosis and thus the treatment.The treatment includes the therapy sessions. In AMMA pathology department we are providing individual speech therapy sessions and are 45 minutes duration.After the assessment ,goals will be selected according to the evaluation.Therapy includes different activities which will help the child to achieve their goals.After 7 sessions re-evaluation will be conducted and the goals will change accordingly.After each therapy session counselling will be given to the parents/caregivers regarding the session and home training;which should be followed by them for the better improvement.

Procedures in detail:-

SCREENING

SLPs are experts at screening individuals for possible communication, hearing, and/or feeding and swallowing disorders. SLPs have the knowledge of—and skills to treat—these disorders; they can design and implement effective screening programs and make appropriate referrals. These screenings facilitate referral for appropriate follow-­‐‑up in a timely and cost-­‐‑effective manner. SLPs

  • select and use appropriate screening instrumentation;
  • develop screening procedures and tools based on existing evidence;
  • coordinate and conduct screening programs in a wide variety of educational, community, and health care settings;
  • participate in public school meetings to review data and recommend interventions to satisfy federal and state requirements
  • review and analyze records (e.g., educational, medical)
  • review, analyze, and make appropriate referrals based on results of screenings;
  • consult with others about the results of screenings conducted by other professionals
  • utilize data to inform decisions about the health of populations.

Though a majority of speech-language pathologists are involved in direct patient care, these professionals also fulfill a number of other roles in areas such as: Advocacy, Research, Product development and evaluation SLPs collaborate with other health care professionals, often working as part of a multidisciplinary team. They can provide information and referrals to Audiologist, Physicians, Nurses, Dentists Psychologists, Physiotherapists, and Special Educators. They usually work at Private practices, Physicians' offices, Hospitals, Schools, Colleges and universities, Rehabilitation centers, long-term and residential health care facilities.

The screening (material/tool) process will give SLP an idea about what to assess in the patient and in how detail. It will lead SLPs as well as other professionals to the proper assessment and thus provisional diagnosis.

ASSESSMENT

Speech-­‐‑language pathologists have expertise in the differential diagnosis of disorders of communication and swallowing. Communication, speech, language, and swallowing disorders can occur developmentally, as part of a medical condition, or in isolation, without an apparent underlying medical condition. Competent SLPs can diagnose communication and swallowing disorders but do not differentially diagnose medical conditions. The assessment process utilizes the ICF framework, which includes evaluation of body function, structure, activity and participation, within the context of environmental and personal factors. The assessment process can include, but is not limited to, culturally and linguistically appropriate behavioral observation and standardized and/or criterion-­‐‑ referenced tools; use of instrumentation; review of records, case history, and prior test results; and interview of the individual and/or family to guide decision making. Not only the assessment process but also the treatment should be carried out in collaboration with other professionals.

TREATMENT

Speech-­‐‑language services are designed to optimize individuals’ ability to communicate and swallow, thereby improving quality of life. SLPs develop and implement treatment to address the presenting symptoms or concerns of a communication or swallowing problem or related functional issue. Treatment establishes a new skill or ability or remediates or restores an impaired skill or ability. The ultimate goal of therapy is to improve an individual’s functional outcomes. To this end, SLPs

  • design, implement, and document delivery of service in accordance with best available practice appropriate to the practice setting
  • provide culturally and linguistically appropriate services
  • integrate the highest quality available research evidence with practitioner expertise and individual preferences and values in establishing treatment goals
  • utilize treatment data to guide decisions and determine effectiveness of services
  • deliver the appropriate frequency and intensity of treatment utilizing best available practice
  • engage in treatment activities that are within the scope of the professional’s competence
  • utilize AAC performance data to guide clinical decisions and determine the effectiveness of treatment
  • collaborate with other professionals in the delivery of services

Treatment is not the end word of therapy.If the therapy want the be effective and beneficial proper counselling should be given to the parents or caretakers.

COUNSELING

SLPs counsel by providing education, guidance, and support. Individuals, their families and their caregivers are counseled regarding acceptance, adaptation, and decision making about communication, feeding and swallowing, and related disorders. The role of the SLP in the counseling process includes interactions related to emotional reactions, thoughts, feelings, and behaviors that result from living with the communication disorder, feeding and swallowing disorder, or related disorders. SLPs engage in the following activities in counseling persons with communication and feeding and swallowing disorders and their families:

  • empower the individual and family to make informed decisions related to communication or feeding and swallowing issues.
  • educate the individual, family, and related community members about communication or feeding and swallowing disorders.
  • provide support and/or peer-­‐‑to-­‐‑peer groups for individuals with disorders and their families
  • provide individuals and families with skills that enable them to become self-­‐‑advocates.
  • discuss, evaluate, and address negative emotions and thoughts related to communication or feeding and swallowing disorders.
  • refer individuals with disorders to other professionals when counseling needs fall outside of those related to communication and feeding.

All together they provide better improvements in communication abilities and Swallowing skills of children as well as adults.