What is Speech Therapy?
Speech therapy is the assessment and treatment of communication problems and speech disorders. It is performed by speech-language pathologists (SLPs), which are often referred to as speech therapists.
Since 1959, the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) has ensured the provision of quality services to persons with communication disorders by establishing a standards program for the accreditation of professional service programs
Diagnostic and treatment practices are individualized to meet specific needs of each person.
Why do you need speech therapy?
There are several speech and language disorders that can be treated with speech therapy.
- Articulation disorders. An articulation disorder is the inability to properly form certain word sounds. A child with this speech disorder may drop, swap, distort, or add word sounds. An example of distorting a word would be saying “thith” instead of “this”.
- Fluency disorders. A fluency disorder affects the flow, speed, and rhythm of speech. Stuttering and cluttering are fluency disorders. A person with stuttering has trouble getting out a sound and may have speech that is blocked or interrupted, or may repeat part of all of a word. A person with cluttering often speaks very fast and merges words together.
- Resonance disorders. A resonance disorder occurs when a blockage or obstruction of regular airflow in the nasal or oral cavities alters the vibrations responsible for voice quality. It can also happen if the velopharyngeal valve doesn’t close properly.
- Receptive disorders. A person with receptive language disorder has trouble understanding and processing what others say. This can cause you to seem uninterested when someone is speaking, have trouble following directions, or have a limited vocabulary. Other language disorders, autism or hearing loss, and a head injury can lead to a receptive language disorder.
- Expressive disorders. Expressive language disorder is difficulty conveying or expressing information. You may have trouble forming accurate sentences, such as using incorrect verb tense.
- Cognitive-communication disorders. Difficulty communicating because of an injury to the part of the brain that controls your ability to think is referred to as cognitive-communication disorder. It can be associated with memory issues, problem solving, and difficulty speaking, or listening. It can be caused by biological problems, such abnormal brain development, certain neurological conditions, a brain injury, or stroke.
At Encinitas Learning Center, located in Encinitas, we have specialized in working with the Cognitive-communication disorders and treat primarily the part of the brain that processes Auditory Input. We know this is the core issue for the other disorders listed above. We work to strengthened foundational skills by treating the root cause of the problem. For example, if sounds are not being said properly “thith” for “this”, we feel it is a discrimination problem. Once the brain hears the word accurately, then the production of that word improves. Further improvements are more easily attained because the root cause (we say what we hear) is corrected.
Likewise, we have to be sure the attention/listening part of the brain is alerted so that the second level of awareness can be attained and that is discrimination= and the person can tell if the words are the same or different and which part is the same or different. Only when these areas are working with automaticity can we then expect memory for those bits of information as well as storage and retrieval. Guess what we call that? READING.
So the question is, do you go to a Speech Pathologist to learn to READ?
The answer is, it depends on what is breaking down in the above steps and if they are breaking down and we discover THAT is the reason Johnny isn’t reading – then it would be appropriate for Speech to treat these brain functions because they are the underpinnings for READING that cannot be touched by a Reading Specialist and the usual way of instructing someone how to read. The point is there are so many reasons why a child isn’t learning in the usual way and it is up to us to discover what those obstacles are and treat them and often the answers to those questions lie in the areas treated by Speech Pathologists.
Neurologically designed treatment methods are the only way to remove the obstacles blocking the pathway to academic success. Schools and the higher learning facilities teaching our teachers how to instruct are still not accessing the knowledge coming out of research labs that help unravel these mysteries and yet the research is over a quarter of a century old!
Encinitas Learning Center has been using these methods and been successful with literally thousands of children (now adults) who have gone on to successful and productive lives and they couldn’t read at their grade level prior to training with us, It is because the neurological underpinnings affect so much of what Speech Pathologists treat, we begin with Auditory Processing and then, because no human being is “textbook” one diagnosis, we then go on to remediate other concomitant features of their challenges such as autism, expressive language disorder, receptive disorder, articulation, dysarthria, and/or dysfluency. This is true for both children and adult therapy. If you don’t address the underlying cause, you do not “outgrow” it.
What happens during speech therapy?
Speech therapy usually begins with an assessment by an SLP who will identify the communication disorder and the best way to treat it. A Plan of Care is then formulated with long term and short term goals and program approaches outlined. Periodically, progress is measured and goals adjusted to assure continued progress. The main thrust of any therapy approach is to teach a new skill, have the client demonstrate understanding of that skill, then work to achieve fluency in using the new skillset. So if the short term goal is to be able to process two sounds (slowed from regular speech speed of 40 ms) at 80 ms speed with 90% accuracy over three sessions as measured by computer assisted program, then the long term goal would be to be able to process five sounds at 25ms speed so that the person can then discriminate speech sounds even in a noisy setting. Fluency is driven by being able to do this task evenly over time.
Again, all of the treatments listed for Speech services are offered at the Encinitas Learning Center, but we specialize in the cognitive underpinnings as a core issue and that simplifies the overall treatment of anything else that is identified. We use the 80:20 rule in treating the core issue (20%) that generalizes to the 80% and builds a stronger foundation for change.
How long do you need speech therapy?
The amount of time a person needs speech therapy depends on a few factors, including:
- their age
- type and severity of the speech disorder
- frequency of therapy
- underlying medical condition
- treatment of an underlying medical condition
Some speech disorders begin in childhood and improve with age, while others continue into adulthood and require long-term therapy and maintenance.
How successful is speech therapy?
The success rate of speech therapy varies between the disorder being treated and age groups. When you start speech therapy can also have an impact on the outcome.
Speech therapy for young children has been to be most successful when started early and practiced at home with the involvement of a parent or caregiver.
The bottom line
Speech therapy can treat a broad range of speech and language delays and disorders in children and adults. With early intervention, speech therapy can improve communication and boost self-confidence.
Lynda G. Detweiler-Newcomb, M.A., C.C.C./SLP6849
Lynda holds the Certificate of Clinical Competence, a California State Board of Medical Examiners License, A Lifetime Teaching Certificate and ACE standing from American Speech and Hearing Association for passing the qualification boards in 1972 and 1986. Lynda is a Clinical Provider of Learning Rx Cognitive and Processing Enhancement, Interactive Metronome Specialist, Lindamood-Bell Auditory Discrimination in Depth and Scientific Learning FastForWord neuro-cognitive training.