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 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 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 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.