Speech therapy is a treatment that helps people of all ages who have problems speaking and using language. The professionals who provide speech therapy are called speech and language pathologists, or sometimes just speech therapists. Speech therapy is often associated with children, and many kids do need extra help overcoming speech disorders such as a lisp or a stutter. However, older patients also often rely on speech services, for instance after a stroke.
The issues that are treated in speech therapy can be broadly broken down into three main categories. They are:
The way speech therapy is conducted depends greatly on the age and needs of the patient being served. Therapy may be conducted one-on-one, in a small group, or in a classroom. Standardized testing is often used to evaluate speech. Depending on the patient, therapy may include games, conversation, role playing and storytelling, flash cards, or singing. The speech therapist sometimes assigns exercises for the patient to practice at home.
There are many causes for speech disorders, and they are surprisingly common. Speech therapy is an effective treatment that helps these patients communicate their thoughts and feelings with others.