If you’re looking to schedule your first visit with a speech therapist, you might be curious about what will happen during a session. With the popularity of recent Oscar winning film, “The King’s Speech,” some may have misconceptions about the techniques and methodologies of an average speech therapist. According to Health Guidance, speech therapy has progressed monumentally in recent history, much due to therapists having the ability to collaborate via the Internet and raised awareness of speech ailments. With that said, working with a speech therapist for the first time depends on what problems a person is having when speaking, and therapy methods vary from individual to individual.
Basic types of speech ailments
In general, speech impairments can be divided into three categories, according to the National Institutes of Health. The first is articulation disorders, which involves challenges in speaking clearly in a way that can be interpreted by others. The second is a matter of disfluency, which involves problems with speech patterns. A common example of disfluency is a stutter. Voice disorders are the third category of speech impairment and involve issues such as volume and pitch. The NIH notes that voice disorders are caused by problems when air passes from the lungs through the vocal cords and out the mouth and nose. Voice disorders can be caused by a number of external health problems such as throat cancer or acid reflux.
Speech therapy techniques
Articulation exercises is one of the most common types of speech therapy. Articulation techniques generally involve a speech therapist working with a patient to teach them how to pronounce certain sounds and syllables with which they may be struggling. Therapists may demonstrate visually how various sounds are annunciated. Speech therapists can cater these activities for different age groups, using appropriate techniques for children at different stages of maturity. One technique often used is training is encouraging the patient to speak in slow motion, according to Health Guidance. Slowing down speech allows the therapist to work on various aspects of articulation.
Language intervention is another common therapy strategy, which involves encouraging patients, specifically children, to speak more often. If speech impairment is caused by a physical issue, therapists may implement a regimen of oral motor therapy. Essentially, mouth exercises designed to strengthen muscles that contribute to speech. These various techniques are used by speech therapists depending on a patient’s speech impairment and goals.
This article is brought to you by PREFERRED Therapy Providers Inc. PREFERRED is the nation’s leading payor management services network. Our expertise is working with physical, occupational and speech therapy practices – from single clinics to multiple clinic locations.