Speech impairment may occur at birth or due to other factors such as injuries, diseases, or certain medical treatment. Not only is the correction of the patient's disorder related with speech, language, and hearing are addressed by a speech therapy, but problems with communication skills are also treated. Speech therapy is basically a subset of speech pathology which involves the study, diagnosis, and treatment of disorders that relate to speech, language, swallowing, fluency, voice, and communication.
Types of Speech Problems
Toddlers usually face speech disorders related to articulation, voice, and fluency. Palate, tongue, teeth, jaws, cheeks, or lips sometimes give rise to articulation speech disorders in kids. Pronunciation of words and syllables gets affected due to this type of disorder. So, the listeners, generally have a tough time deciphering what the kids are trying to say.
Any kind of abnormality in the larynx and the voice box becomes the primary reason of voice disorders. Due to this, the voice may sound different from normal i.e., nasal, muffled, weak or too loud, breaking/intermittent, etc.
Disorders of fluency, however, does not crop up due to any physical reasons. Normally, fluency is affected due to speaking too fast. This causes the person to eat half of his words, thereby affecting his fluency. This disorder is also related to speaking too slow, which may be caused due to too many halts, redundancy, fillers, foghorns, etc. while speaking.
Speech Therapy Techniques
Depending on the individual, the professionals use an array of speech therapy techniques. Holding a conversation with kids in a playful manner helps them acquire language intervention skills. Books, pictures, toys, puppets, etc. are the common means by which the therapist helps to improve the toddlers' understanding of vocabulary.
Exercises dealing with the production of sounds and phonetics also form a vital part of the program. Here, the kids are required to hear and say the sounds correctly. The therapist's job is to keep a check on the toddlers' usage of sounds and syllables. How the tongue should be positioned while uttering the sounds, is also included in the speech therapy.
As aforementioned, speech pathology also involves teaching the process of swallowing to the toddlers. In order to keep up with this, the professional will conduct some exercises which will help strengthen the muscles of the mouth.
Parents' Contribution In Speech Therapy for Toddlers
Without an active participation from the parents' side, any speech therapy is incomplete. The therapists merely serve as a guide for helping the parents to help their kids.
Parents must encourage their kids to practice all the sessions which have been taken by the speech therapist. It is a very good idea for the parents to get themselves acquainted with as many exercises as possible to keep a follow-up with the therapy at home with their kids.
Making the kids read the books aloud also helps them learn from their mistakes. Parents must also point out the mistakes and help the kid realize the mistakes. Practicing sounds all the time may be quite a boring activity for the kids; so, if parents also join in the practice sessions along with their kids, then it serves as a profound motivation. Adding some tongue twisters to the practice also aids the efficacy of the speech therapy.
While making conversation with their kids, parents must talk in a normal pace; not too fast or too slow. This will help the kids to control their speech and improve their fluency. Keeping a healthy and involved communication helps sharpen the communication skills of the young ones.
Active interest and patience is what is required from the parents side to help the kid overcome any kind of speech disorder. When it comes to any speech therapy, understanding the disorder and addressing it properly is the important thing. Along with this, support and sincere effort should come from parents.