Speech therapy is an intervention service that focuses on improving a child’s speech and abilities to understand and express language, including nonverbal language. Speech therapists, or speech and language pathologists (SLPs), are the professionals who provide these services
It has shown that early intervention helps ensure better results from Speech Therapy. This has definitely been evident in my many years of practice. Therapy can start very young and articulation difficulties with children can start as young as 3 years for sounds like (k, g etc.) (see table summary).
Learn through Play
The word “play” means involvement in enjoyable activities. Therefore, “play-based therapy” involves the use of enjoyable activities to target a child’s speech and language therapy goals.
As a therapist I always try and make the sessions fun and interactive where they are learning through play whilst developing self-confidence.
Frequently Asked Questions
Let me put your mind at ease
How does the referral work?
A child may be referred by a parent, teacher, doctor etc. The parent then contacts me to give consent. I send forms to fill in with background information etc. The child is then assessed over 1 or 2 sessions. Feedback is then given with specific therapy aims targeted. A report is also sometimes written following a full assessment. I can also meet to give advice or answer any questions you have prior to and during seeing a child for therapy.
How does articulation therapy work?
A child can be treated both individually or in a small group.
- The target sound or sounds are identified e.g. /s/ sound
- The sound needs to be taught in isolation
- (e.g. saying a /s/ sound infront of a mirror on its own to elicit correct tongue placement)
- Teaching the sound followed by a vowel e.g./sa/, /si/, /sea/
- Teaching the sound at the beginning of words e.g. /sit/, /sun/, /sock/ etc.
- Teaching the sound at the end of words e.g. /bus/, /mice/, /dice/
- Teaching the sound in the middle of words and clusters e.g. /slide/, /smile/, /basket/ etc.
- Teaching the sound in short phrases
- Teaching the sound in sentences
- Teaching the sound during spontaneous conversation
What to do if unsure whether speech and language therapy is needed?
It is best to speak to a professional should you have concerns. I am more than happy to meet for a consultation and discuss any concerns you may have regarding this area and answer any questions.
What is the incidence of speech and language difficulties?
Delays in language are the most common types of developmental delay. It is estimated that about 1 out of 5 children will learn to talk or use words later than other children their age. Some children will also show behavioral problems because they are frustrated when they can’t express what they need or want.
What areas are covered in Speech Therapy?
Speech and Language therapy with children will look at the following areas depending on the difficulties:
- Articulation: The abnormal production of speech sounds. E.g. lisping, omissions of sounds and substitutions e.g. ‘free” for “three”
- Fluency (repetitions of whole words, parts of a word, struggling to get words out)
- Receptive Language (Struggling with comprehension, following instructions etc.)
- Expressive Language (Difficulties with formulating sentences and using the correct grammar etc.)
- Phonological Awareness: This refers to a child’s ability to reflect on the speech sounds in words separate from word meaning. This is highly related to early reading ability (teaching a Pre-School child rhyming, initial sound identification, the sound the letters of the alphabet make, clapping out words into syllables etc. help this area)
- Voice Disorders
- Central Auditory Processing disorder (CAPD): CAPD isn’t a hearing loss or a learning disorder. It means your brain doesn’t “hear” sounds in the usual way. It is not a problem with understanding meaning. It often starts in childhood, but some people develop it later. Between 2% and 7% of kids have it, and boys are more likely to have it than girls. The disorder can lead to learning delays, so children who have it may need a little extra help in school.
- Social Use of Language Difficulties (using social stories and practical games to elicit improved social use of language)
- Any other areas that may impact on Speech and Language Skills (case history information, medical, hearing loss etc.)
Will the articulation errors resolve on their own?
Certain types of articulation errors can resolve by 4 Years. Typically, these errors do not resolve should they still be evident by the age of 5-6 years. Also, some children have a more forward positioned tongue during articulation, so these difficulties need to be worked on younger so to prevent the difficulty becoming habitual. (See chart for articulation development)
How long does therapy take?
Every case is different so it can be hard to say however, I would be able to give a clearer idea once a child has been assessed and therapy has commenced.
What people are saying
Sally has demonstrated outstanding clinical skills
Dr D. Ogilvy
I could quickly see an improvement.
My son loved her so much that he asked to please go back to “Thally”
Paediatric GP, Claremont)
Sally has received excellent feedback from education colleagues
Speech and Language therapy Team Leader
The boys have absolutely thrived under Sally’s care, and have progressed so well