Speech Therapy Fluency Shaping: A Different Approach

There is a lot of fluency shaping techniques used in speech therapy for fluency disorders. However, due to the advancements of technology, a new kind of fluency shaping approach is now available. This is possible by the use of biofeedback mechanisms.

Fluency Shaping At A Glance

In fluency shaping therapy, motor skills are acquired. But in order to have a successful therapy the client needs to have feedback. Since it involves physically learned behavior, the client should know if what he is doing is right or wrong.

For example, a therapist asks his patient to use diaphragmatic breathing. The client and the speech therapist knows if the client is doing it right or wrong because they could observe it by putting a hand in the patient’s stomach.

On the other hand if the therapist asks the client to execute air with vocal tension, and he does so, and then therapist asks the client to do it faster; it would be hard to observe and see the difference between the two actions. That’s why biofeedback devices were invented.

Biofeedback Mechanisms

A biofeedback mechanism is an instrument that shows the user’s physiological activity’s display and measurement. It is very helpful to increase the awareness of the client. The client has an increased control of the activity too. It provides real time feedback that is more reliable and precise than human observation. It is able to measure what can’t be seen or heard by human senses.

It is also helpful with to that SLP so that he can concentrate on the other behaviors of the client. If the client is a visual learner, it would benefit him very much and it may speed up his way to successful fluency therapy. There are devices that can be used not only in the clinic but at home too, so the client can practice even at home.

Some examples of this kind of devices are CAFET or the Computer-Aided Fluency Establishment And Trainer, Dr. Fluency, EMG (Electromyograph) and Vocal Frequency Biofeedback.

The Dr. Fluency and CAFET are computer based biofeedback systems. They make use of a microphone to monitor the user’s vocal fold activity. A chest strap is also used to monitor breathing. The change in vocal fold activity and breathing is displayed on the computer display. Instructions and error messages are also seen.

The device trains a lot of fluency skill behaviors such as: continuous breathing, relaxed diaphragmatic breathing, pre-voice and gradual exhalation, gentle onset, continuous phonation, adequate support of breath, and phrasing.

In a study of CAFET, 197 teenagers and adults used the program reported that just after six months of finishing the program, eighty-two percent met the fluency criteria. After twelve months, eighty-nine percent were fluent. Lastly, in two years of post-therapy, ninety-two percent were fluent.

EMG and Vocal Frequency Biofeedback is a device using an EMG working with a DAF (Delayed Auditory Feedback) mechanism. The EMG monitors muscle activity and if it detects something wrong a red light would turn on and the DAF would automatically play.

The use of biofeedback mechanisms can be considered to a breakthrough in the realm of speech therapy and fluency disorders. However, not every one can have access through it, since getting such devices can be very expensive.

Nonetheless, other fluency shaping approaches are still viable and have been proven effective already from years of practice.


Toys As Materials For Speech Therapy

There are a variety of tools and materials, which are designed for speech therapy in the market right now, thus giving the therapist much more options when it comes to choosing the equipments that could best maximize his services. One variety of materials are toys. And there are various reasons for the rise in its use.

The Toys and Their Functions

Before the therapy starts, an evaluation of the patient’s oral motor structures is usually done. This is where the therapist inspects the various structures that are inside and around the patient’s mouth that are used for speech. Some of these are the lips, tongue, teeth, jaw and cheeks.

For the structures to be seen more accurately, a penlight is usually used. The only problem with it is that the child may not find it very pleasant to have a flashlight in his mouth. This is now why there already is the colorful and jelly-like oral light system, which gives the same amount of light minus the metallic appearance.

The examination of these muscles also usually requires gloves and tongue depressors; in which kids do not appreciate both of whose smell and taste. This is now the reason why colorful and fruit flavored gloves and tongue depressors are already available.

After the said oral motor examination has been performed, the therapist may find a weakening in one or some of the structures. Some seemingly ordinary materials and toys may aid the strengthening of these muscles. One of them is the straw, which can come in all colors and designs. It serves two purposes.

The first purpose is for the rounding of the lips. This activity is important for the articulation of vowels and the semi-vowel /w/. Another function is the act of sipping. In this activity, the velum, the muscle right above the throat is exercised. This muscle is used when producing vowels and back consonants like /k/ and /g/.

Another commonly used material is a toy, which has to be blown. An example would be the whistle. The whistle is considered a difficult blow toy. It means that among the toys that work when blown, it is one of those, which requires more effort for it to perform its function.

The whistle, like the straw, aids in the exercise of the muscles of the lips. Another structure, which it strengthens, is the cheeks. It maximizes the capacity of the cheeks to hold in air and to gradually blow it out.

Other materials that are more commonly used are picture cards and interactive books. They usually contain pictures of words, which represent all the speech sounds. When these cards are used, all the therapist has to do is to show the picture and have the child produce the word together with the speech sound within the word.

Why Play?

If the patient sees the materials they have for therapy are colorful and fun toys, he will come to think that the reason he is in the clinic is to play and have fun. And having the child thinking this, will allow the child to cooperate with the therapist.

Play is a universal activity that blends social, cognitive, linguistic, emotional, and motor components. It is an integration of the many aspects of a child. Play serves as a representation of the thoughts and abilities of a child. Through play, the therapist will be able to know how to approach the concerns of his patient.


Speech Therapy Diagnosis: Autism

Before a child could undergo speech therapy with the diagnosis of Autism, he should pass a criteria of characteristics first that is given by the DSM-IV. So here are the criteria for a child to be diagnosed with such conditions.

Autistic Disorder Criteria: Social Interaction

First off, a child should have impairment in social interaction. This could be manifested by at least two of the following behaviors. First is a marked impairment with the use of different non-verbal behaviors like facial expression, eye-to-eye gaze, and body posture.

Second is the child’s failure to develop peer relationship that is appropriate for his developmental level. In this case the child may seem to have difficulty gaining friends, or even just relating to other children within his age.

The child may also have the lack of spontaneity to share his emotions and thoughts. He may not share enjoyment, achievements, or interests to other people. In this case, the child doesn’t usually bring or point to objects that interest him.

The lack of emotional reciprocity is also possible. No matter how hard you try to connect or show your emotions and feelings to the child, he wouldn’t care less.

Autistic Disorder Criteria: Communication

The child also has communication impairment. Having at least one of the following conditions manifests this.

First is having a delay, or even total lack of spoken language development or expressive language. In this case, the child doesn’t even try to use of compensatory strategies to communicate or other means of communication like gestures.

For children that have adequate speech, the communication impairment is manifested by not being able to initiate or sustain a conversation with other people.

The child can also have stereotyped and repetitive use of language. This phenomenon is actually called idiosyncratic language, where what the child keeps on saying seems to me meaningless. He may keep on saying the word “blue” for countless of times, even for the whole duration of the day.

He can also lack the ability to have varied, spontaneous make-believe play or social imitative play that is appropriate for his developmental level. Play is one of the notable things that differentiate a child with Autism with normal children. For an Autistic child, play does not exist. The main concern is that play is an important factor for language development since it is a prerequisite or co-requisite of inner language.

Autistic Disorder Criteria: Repetitive And Stereotype Behavior Patterns

An Autistic child also manifests repetitive behavior. This criteria is judged by having at least one of the following conditions.

The child may have an encompassing preoccupation with one or more restricted and stereotyped patterns of interests that may seem abnormal in respect to focus and intensity. For example the child can sit and look at the ceiling fan for the whole day, and doesn’t care what is happening in his environment, all that matters is the fan.

The child also has fetish with routines and rituals. If he passes by a certain way to school, it has to be the same way. If you use the main stairs going to his classroom, then taking a different route like the elevator would definitely agitate him, make him angry and have tantrums.

The child may also have repetitive behaviors or mannerisms. Hand flapping, finger twisting, and complex body movements are examples of these.

Lastly, he can also be preoccupied with object parts like buttons, screws and other small details.

The Role of Speech Therapy In Traumatic Brain Injury

Traumatic brain injury can cause about a lot of speech and language disorders that would entail the need of speech therapy. That’s why the role of speech therapy in the rehabilitation process of a traumatic brain injury patient is very vital.

What Speech And Language Problems TBI Brings About

A person may have loss of consciousness after a traumatic brain injury. This loss of consciousness can vary from seconds, minutes, hours, days, months or even years. The longer you are out of consciousness, the more severe your injury is. After a traumatic brain injury, you may suffer secondary consequences, which are considered to be more lethal and dangerous than the primary injury.

Some of these secondary consequences include damage to your brain’s meninges, traumatic hematoma, increased intracranial pressure, herniation, hyperventilation, ischemic brain damage, and cerebral vasospasm. When these brain damages occur, they tend to affect parts of your brain that are responsible for speech and language processing and production, thus you get speech and language problems.

Traumatic brain injuries can cause you permanent or temporary memory loss, orientation problems, lesser cognitive performance or slower processing of thought, attention problems, deterioration of skills in basic counting, spelling and writing. You can also have Aphasia, where you have a loss of words.

Traumatic brain injury can also cause you difficulty in reading simple and complex information. Your naming skills, of everyday seen objects, familiar others can also be affected. It can also bring about dysarthria, or problems with movement, that can cause you to have shaky movements leading to difficulty speaking and writing.

Speech Therapy For Traumatic Brain Injury Patients

Treatment for traumatic brain injury patients can be classified into three categories. There are different treatments for early, middle and late stages of a traumatic brain injury. There are also compensatory strategies taught for a TBI patient.

Early Stage Treatment

Treatment during the early stage of a traumatic brain injury would focus more on medical stabilization. A speech therapist would also deal more on establishing a reliable means of communication between the patient and the therapist. The patient is also taught how to indicate yes or no, when asked.

Another goal is for the patient to be able to make simple requests through gestures, nods, and eye blinks. The behavioral and mental condition of the patient is also treated. During the early stage, sensorimotor stimulation is also done. Where in the therapist would heighten and stimulate the patient’s sense of sight, smell, hearing and touch.

Middle Stage Treatment

The main goal during the middle stage treatment is for the patient to develop an increased control of the environment and independence. The adequacy of patient’s interaction to the environment is also increased. The therapist should also stimulate the patient to have organized and purposeful thinking. The uses of environmental prompts are to be diminished during this phase.

A lot of activities focusing on cognitive skills like perception, attention, memory, abstract thinking, organization and planning, and judgment, are also given.

Late Stage Treatment

During the late stage of treatment, the speech therapists’ goal is for the patient to be able to develop complete independence and functionality. Environment control is eliminated and the patient is taught compensatory strategies to cope with problems that have become permanent.

Some of these compensatory strategies are the use of visual imagery, writing down main ideas, rehearsal of spoken/written material, and asking for clarifications or repetitions when in the state of confusion.

Speech Therapy Activities For Aphasia

To begin with, the primary cause of aphasia should be stabilized or treated. After doing so, that’s the only time that a therapist can work on the rehabilitation of the patient. To recover a person’s language function, he or she should begin undergoing therapy as soon as possible subsequent the injury.

Speech Therapy: As A Treatment For Aphasia

Since there are no surgical or medical procedures that are currently available to treat Aphasia, conditions that result from head injury or stroke can be improved through the treatment of speech therapy.

For majority of Aphasic patients though, the main emphasis is placed upon optimizing the use of the person’s retained language skills and being able to learn to use other ways of communication to be able to compensate for their permanently lost language abilities.

Therapy Activities

The formulation of what activities to use during a speech therapy session is critically done and would highly depend on the therapists’ assessment and diagnosis results on the individual. However, there are some general activities that are done to treat Aphasia.

Exercise

Since most types of Aphasia would include right-sided weakness of the body and sensory loss, it is important for the patient to be able to exercise their body. Regular exercise and practice is needed to strengthen the weak muscles and prevent it from further degeneration.

The exercise activities do not have to be exhilarating. For the purpose of speech function, the therapist can exercise the patient’s weakened muscles through repetitive speaking of certain words, and projecting facial expressions, like smiling and frowning.

The use of food too is helpful, since the patient is able to exercise articulators needed for speech production like the tongue and jaw, which may be weakened due to the condition.

Picture Cards

One of the tools used for therapy are picture cards. Pictures of daily living and everyday objects can be used to improve and develop word recall skills. Picture cards can act as a visual cue to increase the learning process of an Aphasic. These can also help increase the vocabulary of the patient.

By showing the picture cards and repetitively saying aloud the names of the objects in the picture, the patient will be able to exercise weak muscles and practice vocalization.

Picture Boards

Another tool for therapy are picture boards. Since aphasia can bring about difficulty in recalling names of activities, objects and people, use of material to help recall these names is very helpful. By making use of a board where the therapist places pictures of different everyday activities and objects, the patient can point to specific pictures to express ideas and communicate with other people.

Workbooks

The use of workbooks is also important in the treatment of Aphasia. Since reading and writing skills are affected, this is one way to exercise them. Workbook exercises can be used to sharpen an Aphasic’s word recalling skills and recover reading and writing abilities.

By reading aloud, hearing comprehension can also be exercised and redeveloped through workbook exercises.

Computers

With the development of technology, there are now computer programs that are used to treat Aphasia. Such computer programs can be used to improve an Aphasic’s reading, speech, recall, and hearing comprehension. In fact, the use of computers can bring about optimal results, since it can stimulate senses of vision, and hearing at the same time, helping speed up the learning process.

Speech Therapy Assessment Tips For Fluency Disorders

During the assessment of an individual with suspected fluency disorder, there are some things to remember to make the assessment more comprehensive and useful. Here are some of those critical points to take note of during assessment.

Benefits Of Obtaining Both Reading and Conversation Sample

It is more beneficial to obtain both reading and conversation sample from school children and adults because this would give more reliability and credibility to the samples taken.

Since stuttering varies in different situations, a reading and conversation sample would allow the clinician to see the behaviors of the person in two different tasks. A conversational speech sample is likely to have more variability, while a reading passage would likely have less variability.

Information To Assess Motivation

Through interview, a therapist can learn a lot from his client. In fact, insight about the client’s motivation could be seen by asking the following questions like ”What do you believe caused you to stutter?”, “Has you stuttering changed or caused you more problems recently?, “Why did you come in for help at the present time?”, “ Are there times or situations when you stutter more? Less? What are they?”.

Benefits Of Continuing Evaluation

No individual could be understood in an hour or two; that’s why continuing of evaluation is recommended. The clinician might overlook an important element at times and some times a vital clue will not be present in the samples of behavior taken from the limited time of the evaluation period.

Note The Difference When Assessing Feelings and Attitudes

Assessing a school-age child’s feelings and attitudes would require the clinician to establish rapport and to get to know the child much better after some time, because the clinician’s judgment is also a fair measurement in the case of school-age children.

Talking to the child and observing his behaviors would be necessary. When the clinician has known the child much better, he could administer the A-19 Scale to the child. Other methods could also be used such as “Worry Ladder” and  “Hands Down” that could be found in the workbook, The School-Age Child Who Stutters: Working Effectively with Attitudes and Emotions.

For adults and adolescents assessment of feelings and attitudes are usually done by administering tools such as, the Modified Erickson Scale of Communication Attitudes, the Stutterer’s Self-Rating of Reactions to Speech Situations, the Perceptions of Stuttering Inventory and the Locus of Control of Behavior Scale.

Remember The Role Of The IEP Team

An Individualized Education Program (IEP) team is appointed to a child to be the ones to consider reports by the clinician and other information. They decide if the child meets the state’s eligibility standards and if the child’s stuttering has a negative effect on his education.

If a child is eligible for services measurable, the IEP team sets goals and short-term objectives for the child. They also provide services needed by the child for improvement in the educational setting.

Goals Of Trial Therapy

Trial therapy for a school-age child is done to understand what approach might work and what might be difficult for him. This could increase the child’s motivation and positive outlook for the treatment. In the case of adults and adolescents, trial therapy is done for 3 main reasons.

First, is to get an idea of how a client would respond to different therapy approaches. Second, is to make a differential diagnosis between developmental, neurological or psychological stuttering. Third, it gives a preview to the client of what to expect during therapy sessions, in effect it would give them motivation to go on their treatment.

Speech Therapy: PROLAM-GM Approach

PROLAM-GM is an acronym for the various intervention and transfer strategies used in the management of stuttering. PROLAM, which stands for physiological adjustments, rate manipulation, operant controls, length and complexity of utterance, attitude changes, and monitoring, are the intervention strategies. GM, which stands for generalization and maintenance, are the transfer strategies.

Physiological Adjustments

Physiological adjustment strategies include tactics that manipulate bodily components known or thought to be involved in the production of stuttered speech. An example of this would be the attempt to use gentle contact between the articulators when talking.

The rationale behind this approach is that the physiological components necessary for the production of normal fluent speech are in some way used inappropriately when stuttering occurs. Therefore, the therapy tactics used will result in a “readjustment” of the disordered component, or in use of compensatory behaviors and strategies.

Rate of Speech Manipulations

Use of a reduced speech rate to modify stuttering operates in the belief that: (a) reduction of rate results in simplification of the physiological speech processes, thus allowing easier synchronization or; (b) reduction in the rate of speech prevents the stutterer from anticipating feared stimuli that result in the production of the stuttering response.

The rate of the stutterer’s speech may be reduced by: prolongation, combining prolongation with continuous phonation, and using an instructional rate control method.

Operant Controls

Use of operant controls in the management of stuttering believes that if stuttering is an operant behavior (behaviors whose frequency or probability of occurrence are influenced by the consequences they generate), then its frequency will increase if it is reinforced, and its frequency of occurrence will decrease if it is punished.

Two of the most frequently used operant procedures for treating stuttering are positive reinforcement of fluency and punishment of stuttering.

Length and Complexity of Utterance

Controlling the length and complexity of the stutterer’s utterance reduces stuttering and increases fluency. This technique is often used to increase fluent speech. Most of the approaches utilizing this technique combine manipulation of length and complexity of the client’s language with operant controls (punishment of stuttering and reinforcement of fluency).

Attitude

There are two components of stuttering namely: the feelings accompanying it and the speaking behaviors that are resulted from it. It is believed by some that to have a successful therapy, a balance of treating both factors should be done. That’s why attitude manipulation is done in some approaches while in other approaches it can be optional depending on the case of the client.

Monitoring

In the science of Speech Pathology, especially in the field of stuttering, there are a lot of meanings for the term ‘monitoring’. Some say it’s a process in which the PWS becomes aware of what he is doing at the time he is doing it. Some say it is a specific form of consciousness where the act of speaking is raised from an automatic level to a purposeful level. Basically, it has three key components: self-awareness, deliberate control and self-feedback.

Generalization

The technical term for generalization is “the occurrence of a relevant behavior under different nontraining conditions.” The term generalization is usually interchanged with ‘transfer’ or ‘carryover’.

Maintenance

Sometimes, when clients are able to achieve fluency, they think the fight is over. They forget to maintain their skills and in result they have a relapse with their stuttering. Maintenance refers to different after-treatment activities to help clients keep the skills they learned from therapy intact.

Some activities to help maintain skills are daily self-monitoring activities, regular clinic contacts, refresher programs and having self-help groups.

Speech Therapy: An Overview On Fluency Disorders

One of the main categories of speech problems in need for speech therapy are fluency disorders. However, there are different types of fluency disorders, even though they may all seem the same. Each type has its own cause, and defining characteristics that make them stand out from one another.

There are basically six main types of fluency disorders, while some are considered to be other conditions that are related to fluency disorders.

Normal Developmental Disfluency

Normal developmental disfluency, is a fluency disorder that is a lot of times mistaken to be stuttering. This condition occurs with children from ages 1:6- 6 years old, although the peak of the condition is considered to be 2-4 years of age.

A lot of parents may be concerned of the way their child speaks, but in reality, this is a normal condition that every child goes through. Normal developmental disfluency is a normal part of a child’s development. So there is really no need to worry at all.

A child would normally get over this stage as his speech skills develop. However, a proper environment, and interaction is needed for that to happen. If a child is pressured by his parents or people around him about his speech, the higher the probability that his disfluency would become a problem in the future and could develop to stuttering.

Stuttering

Stuttering is a disorder of childhood (developmental) that is characterized by an abnormally high frequency or duration of stoppages in the forward flow of speech. Although normal developmental disfluency has its own share of stoppages, stuttering on the other hand has some extra characteristics that normal developmental disfluency doesn’t have.

What makes stuttering different, from normal developmental disfluency, is that stuttering has escape behaviors, avoidance behaviors, and other secondary behaviors. These so called behaviors are also called physical concomitants. Some examples are eye blinks, head nods, jaw tremors and total body gyrations.

Neurogenic Disfluency

This kind of disfluency is a result of an identifiable neuropathology in a person that has no history of fluency problems prior to occurrence of the pathology. People who have accidents that caused brain problems, which induced their disfluency, fall into this category.

Neurogenic disfluency has similar characteristics as stuttering, including the physical behaviors like eye blinks and tremors. The thing is that, the main problem in conditions like these is not fluency at all, but the lesser control of muscles needed in speech production.

Psychogenic Disfluency

A disfluency with no found evidence of neurological dysfunction and no history of developmental stuttering. It is of sudden onset and attributed to an identifiable emotional crisis. Can be grouped into three categories namely: emotionally based, manipulative, and malingering disfluencies

An example of this kind of disfluency is when a person starts to stutter when a specific other is around. For instance, a student who is afraid of her teacher, starts to stutter every time her teacher is around but speaks fluently when around her friends and family.

Language Bases Disfluency

This is a disfluency that is attributed to the development of linguistic sophistication. The main root of the problem here would be language problems, which would require language based therapy rather than fluency-based therapy.

Mixed Fluency Failures

These are fluency failures that are characterized by overlapping causative factors. Speech pattern observed is the result of a blend of two or more factors/disfluency.

Cluttering

This is a condition that is related to fluency disorders. It is considered to be the extreme of stuttering. It is a disorder of timing and rhythm of speech where the person speaks too fast that his speech can’t be comprehended. The thing is, a clutterer isn’t aware that he is cluttering, while a stutterer is very much aware that he stutters.

Therapy Procedures for Speech Disorders

The terminal goal of speech therapy is for the client to spontaneously use the appropriate speech sounds of his or her linguistic culture in connected speech. In this context, therapy becomes a continuum of short-term goals designed to meet the terminal goal. And therapy procedures may either use the motor or traditional approach or the cognitive-linguistic approach.

Motor or Traditional Approach

This approach is structure-based and uses drills more. Drills are activities that have rapid rates of stimulus presentation and which puts much stress on accuracy of the patient’s response to the stimulus and the said response reaching various set criteria.

Under this approach is auditory training. Its proponent is Charles Van Riper. This procedure uses pictures and games as motivational events or events that serve as a way of presenting stimuli. Activities are mainly about speech sound discrimination. It highlights the awareness and detection of sound.

Another procedure is the exercise of the oral motor structures. It is used when an oral motor assessment shows muscle weakness or spasticity. For children, it should be made fun and functional. It also uses mirrors for visual feedback.

One other procedure under this approach is phonetic placement. Van Riper was also the proponent of this procedure. It provides clients with verbal descriptions or instructions regarding articulatory position and movements for target sound. It is usually used together with visual, auditory, tactile and kinesthetic cues.

Weiner’s contribution to this field is his modified sensory motor approach. It is where a word in which the target sound is correct in the final position is paired with a word in which the same sound is in error in the initial position. The words are produced without a pause to facilitate assimilation of the incorrectly produced sound.

In this line also is syllabication. It uses the syllable-by-syllable production of words. It is used in addressing weak syllable deletion or the deletion of the syllable in a word which is the least stressed.

One procedure that is closely related to syllabication is chaining. The client is first asked to say the whole word. If he says a syllable incorrectly, the therapist instructs the patient to look at his lips while he produces the word syllable by syllable with the patient following him after every syllable until he produces the word the same way that the therapist did.

Cognitive-Linguistic Approach

The first procedure under this approach is auditory bombardment, also known as cycles approach. There are treatment cycles which have their designated phonemes, taught in a span of 2-4 weeks. Auditory bombardment requires that the patient be bombarded with the phonemes that he needs to learn without him being aware of it.

Another procedure is auditory bombarding with PACT (Parents and Children Together). Here, production should not be over-emphasized. It may use funny, perceptually salient make-up words like ker-plunk, boing, shilly-shally or kaboom. All that matters is that the words contain the phonemes that are being targeted.

Modified cycles approach is also under this group. It requires the clinician to make purposeful and obvious lexical errors in words that contain target phonemes to make the patient correct the clinician, thus producing the target sound. Parental involvement is important for explanations of goals, procedures, and assignments.

Minimal contrast therapy, on the other hand, contrasts presence and absence of phonemes, establishing also the difference between phonemes. This procedure can be utilized in addressing perceptual or production difficulties when it comes to final sounds of words, establishing the difference between words like fee and feet.

Speech Therapy: An Overview

One of the not so noticed areas of rehabilitation medicine is Speech Therapy. In fact, a lot of people may not even know that something like this existed. It may be the case that this is your first time to encounter the field or you may have heard it somewhere, but don’t fully understand what the practice is all about.

The sad truth about Speech Therapy is that you may not encounter it unless the situation calls for it. However, getting to know what the practice is can be very beneficial information.

What Is Speech Therapy?

As the name suggests, speech therapy deals with speech problems that an individual may encounter. However, the field of Speech Pathology doesn’t only tackle speech, but also language and other communication problems that people may already have due to birth, or people acquired due to accidents or other misfortunes.

Speech therapy is basically a treatment that people of all ages can undergo through, to fix their speech. Although speech therapy alone would focus on fixing speech related problems like treating one’s vocal pitch, volume, tone, rhythm and articulation.

Goals Of Speech Therapy

Speech Therapy aims for an individual to develop or get back effective communication skills at its optimal level. Recovery mainly depends on the case and severity of your problem, especially if your speech problem is acquired, meaning you had normal speech skills before then you had an accident or abrupt incident that caused your current speech problem; thus, you may or may not get back your old level of speech function.

Speech Problems

Speech problems are mainly categorized into three namely: Articulation Disorders, Resonance or Voice Disorders and Fluency Disorders. Each disorder deals with a different pathology and uses different techniques for therapy.

Articulation Disorders

Articulation Disorders are basically problems with physical features used for articulation. These features include lips, tongue, teeth, hard and soft palate, jaws and inner cheeks. If you have an Articulation Disorder, then you may have a problem producing words or syllables correctly to the point that people you communicate to can’t understand what you are saying.

Resonance or Voice Disorders

Resonance, more popularly known as, Voice Disorders mainly deal with problems regarding phonation or the production of the raw sound itself. Most probably, you have a Voice Disorder when the sound that your larynx or voice box produces comes out to be muffled, nasal, intermittent, weak, too loud or any other characteristic not pertaining to normal.

Fluency Disorders

Fluency Disorders are speech problems with regard to the fluency of your speech. There are some cases that you talk too fast, in which people can’t understand you, thus, you have a Fluency Disorder of Cluttering. The most common Fluency Disorder however, is Stuttering, which is a disorder of fluency where your speech is constantly interrupted by blocks, fillers, stoppages, repetitions or sound prolongations.

Who Gives Speech Therapy?

A highly trained professional, called a SLP or a Speech and Language Pathologist, gives Speech Therapy. Speech and Language Pathologists are informally more popularly known as Speech Therapists. They are professionals who have education and training with human communication development and disorders.

Speech and Language pathologists assess, diagnose and treat people with speech, communication and language disorders. However, they are not doctors, but are considered to be specialists on the field of medical rehabilitation.