Guide to Pediatric Speech Therapy: An Overview & How to Prepare
What Is Speech Therapy for Kids?
While it’s normal for children to have difficulty pronouncing words and forming sentences when they first begin to speak, if this problem persists, it may be a sign of a speech disorder. Learning how to get speech therapy can be the first step toward helping them communicate. Luckily, the Speech-Language Pathologists at Kids SPOT can help your child clearly express their wants and needs.
The Benefits of Pediatric Speech Therapy
The benefits of speech therapy go beyond helping children improve their communication. Speech therapy can improve a wide range of skills, such as teaching children how to demonstrate social appropriateness in various settings. Some additional benefits of speech therapy include:
- Teaching children to communicate their thoughts and ideas.
- Preparing children for academic settings through pre-literacy development.
- Helping children understand and use nonverbal communication skills such as facial expressions and body language.
- Improving fluency and articulation for intelligible speech.
- Enhancing oral motor skills and swallowing to allow children to eat safely.
- Building vocabulary for children to form sentences.
- Educating children in understanding spoken messages so they can follow directions.
- Finding alternative communication devices when needed.
Signs That Your Child Needs Speech Therapy
While every child develops at their own pace, note which milestones they should be achieving to determine whether additional support is necessary. Some other signs that your child needs speech therapy services include:
- Failing to begin babbling between four to seven months.
- Lack of pointing or gestures.
- Issues with following directions and other verbal requests.
- Being unable to speak in complete sentences.
- Trouble making certain sounds.
- Stuttering or inconsistent voice and speech.
- No interest or inability to engage in group play.
- Phonological mistakes or their speech is hard to understand.
Preparing Your Child for Speech Therapy
Speech therapy is a treatment for various speech behaviors, including language disorders, speech disorders, voice disorders and swallowing trouble. As a parent, you may notice these behaviors in your child and seek help from a specialist. If a doctor determines that you should start speech therapy, the next step is finding the best way to prepare your child.
Communication Corner and More will ensure your child feels comfortable in speech therapy to get the most out of treatment. We make it easy to find treatment options and help your child achieve their developmental goals.
3 Steps to Preparing Your Child for Speech Therapy
Preparing your child for speech therapy is an essential step toward gaining progress. If your child feels comfortable attending therapy appointments, they will be more likely to succeed with treatment.
While speech therapy alone can be an effective way to improve your child’s speech, parents can take many steps to help the process. You may feel overwhelmed if you have not brought a child to speech therapy. Speech therapy is a new experience for you and your child, but the following tips can help with the process.
1. Communicate With Your Child
Before the first appointment with a speech therapist, explain the process to your child using tested methods and communication styles. Then, your child will know what to expect and be more willing to talk with the speech therapist. An unfamiliar setting and person may make children nervous and unwilling to speak. If you communicate with your child ahead of time, they will feel more comfortable, talk more and experience more improvement in their speech.
2. Create a Reward System
Be sure to reward your young children in speech therapy. Take your child out for ice cream or buy them a little toy after each therapy appointment or milestone. Your child will begin associating these rewards with therapy, which may encourage them to work hard during speech appointments. Make sure you only offer rewards after speech appointments to make the system more effective.
3. Practice at Home
After several appointments, your child’s speech therapist may suggest exercises you can work on at home. Exercises may include practicing certain sounds, using straws to improve muscular strength or reading aloud with your child. Begin incorporating these practices into your routine to help your child progress even when they aren’t with their therapist.
Contact Kids SPOT for Pediatric Speech Therapy
We focus on giving kids the tools to enhance their confidence and performance at every stage of development. If you think your child may benefit from speech therapy, Kids SPOT can help. We’ll set you up with a speech therapist and provide speech therapy preparation tips for your child.
Contact us online to learn more about speech therapy and what you can do to help your child prepare.