5 Ways a Child Can Benefit From Speech Therapy
Sometimes a child’s development may include struggles with speaking or swallowing from an early age. Speech therapy offers many solutions, such as improving the verbal expression of language or articulation and providing a more comfortable way of life. In this post, we cover the different ways a child can benefit from speech therapy so that you can help foster a lifetime of clear and effective communication for your child.
5 Benefits of Speech Therapy
Speech therapy refers to professional and facilitated language and social skills training. Some common focuses include helping children pronounce certain letters, speak or understand words clearly and consume food with ease. These practices and teachings can show positive and transformational improvement in many children’s lives, including those who have non-verbal symptoms or autism.
Here are the top five benefits speech therapy can provide:
1. Understanding of Body Language
Observing others helps develop an understanding of body language. These skills are necessary to communicate with others through facial expressions, posture, gestures and stances. If a child doesn’t naturally learn how to identify and practice these interactions, speech therapy can help.
For example, speech therapy can teach children with autism how to identify body language. Recognizing physical signals can help them appreciate jokes more effectively or understand the tones of more serious conversations.
2. How to Ask and Answer Questions
Asking and answering questions are two valuable concepts in language development. Speech therapy can teach these skill sets so children can use them in everyday communication when gathering information and connecting with others.
Speech therapy can teach children how to recognize and use voice intonation. Other facilitated learning methods cover the six most common question words — who, what, when, where, why and how. These inquiries build a strong foundation for asking more complex questions when engaging with others.
3. Conversation Skills
Speech therapy can improve a wide range of communication skills so that a child can exchange a back-and-forth flow of comments and questions when interacting with others. Learning how to listen, engage in conversation and respond appropriately offers an opportunity to cultivate meaningful relationships.
Children with autism can benefit greatly from learning how to converse in speech therapy. While personalized teachings may vary, some essential skills developed and practiced in a session can include strengthening muscles in the mouth, jaw and neck and making clearer speech sounds to communicate better.
4. Non-Verbal Communication
Some children with autism can’t verbalize their thoughts or responses. A speech therapist may teach a child to use pictures when identifying requests from them or made to them by others.
Other important aspects of non-verbal communication can include practicing eye contact, matching emotions with facial expressions and understanding gestures. Developing these skills can help a child receive and convey messages in everyday interactions.
5. Increased Confidence
Once a child begins noticing progress in speech therapy, you can often see a boost in their motivation to keep improving and learning. The ability to communicate with others and feel understood provides independence, fueling their confidence.
For example, a child with an articulation or stuttering disorder who sees an improvement in their communication may initiate more conversations or engage in social activities they previously avoided. The courage and self-esteem to speak in public improves a child’s ability to form friendships and face challenges in life.
How Are Speech and Language Evaluated and Diagnosed?
Effective communication involves voice, fluency, and the proper articulation and pronunciation of words. A child may naturally struggle to develop these skills. In other cases, a need to improve speech can stem from conditions such as brain injury, cleft palate, cerebral palsy, stroke, and hearing loss or congenital hearing disorders.
If you think your child could benefit from speech therapy, it’s best to evaluate their speech and language early on. A speech-language pathologist (SLP) performs a series of tests to assess:
- Speech clarity.
- Language comprehension.
- How many sounds or words your child uses.
- How their mouth, tongue, and palate work together when speaking or eating and swallowing food.
After an evaluation, an SLP can identify whether your child could benefit from speech therapy. Together, you and a language specialist can personalize a plan to move forward with any proceeding steps.
Contact TLC Pediatric Therapy to Learn More
At TLC Pediatric Therapy, a part of Kids SPOT’s family of companies, we make it our goal to help children improve their language and social skills by offering customized treatment plans with evidence-based practices.
If you think your child may need speech therapy, please fill out a contact form to schedule an evaluation. We’re also happy to answer your questions and provide you with more information about our services as needed.