There is no doubt that communication skills are an essential part of our life. If a person fails to develop these skills, they will face severe problems with connecting to people around them. From basic everyday activities to life accomplishments, they will have additional struggles if they are not seeking the help of specialists in speech development.
Speech-language pathologists, or SLPs, are highly trained professionals who work with people of all ages who have speech, language, and swallowing disorders. SLPs use their understanding of the unique aspects of speech, language, and swallowing to help their clients reach their fullest potential.
The purpose of this article is to provide information to parents, caregivers, and other professionals about the purpose of speech-language pathologists work with children. It also aims to provide a better understanding of how speech-language pathologists work with children and their families to develop communication skills.
What is Speech-Language Pathology?
Speech-language pathology is a branch of occupational therapy that deals with the treatment and management of communication disorders. Specifically, it involves the assessment and treatment of disorders related to speech, language, voice, swallowing, and fluency.
Speech-language pathologists are trained to understand the structure and function of the speech mechanism and the clinical procedures for treating individuals with speech, language, voice, fluency, and swallowing disorders. These disorders can result from cognitive, developmental, neurological, and physical impairments.
These professionals work with all ages and may help individuals who have difficulty communicating due to a physical disability, hearing condition, or developmental delay.
Why Developing the Right Communication Skills is Crucial?
The first year of life is crucial for the development of communication skills; a child can learn an average of 2-5 new words a day. The child’s ability to communicate is also dependent on the development of speech and language.
If this stage is somehow disturbed by some problems, then lack of reaction on time might create greater problems in the future.
In the early stage of life, lack of correct communication skills can make children with speech-language disorders be at a disadvantage in the classroom. These children are often unable to express themselves clearly, which can lead to frustration, and even bullying, from other students.
Later on, communication skills are vital to any career because we all need to be able to express ourselves and persuade other people to succeed. It’s one of the most important skills you’ll need to get a job and keep it. They make the process of transferring information from one person to another through various methods easy and possible. Communication skills are important for both personal and professional life, no matter the stage of life.
To determine whether or not your child might need help from a Speech-Language Pathologist, you should know a bit about the correct stages of communication and language development. Any derivation and disturbing differences could be a signal that there’s a need to seek professional help.
The first worrying signal for a parent should be if, by 12 months, their child is still not making any babbling sounds or making any gestures. By 18 months, children should be able to say their first words or even short sentences.
When they reach the age of 8 years old, kids should be able to communicate almost like an adult.
If you see that your child is not reaching those goals or there are any other problems, including:
- Hard to understand, husky voice
- They show signs of frustration when they’re trying to talk
- They have serious problems when trying to understand what other people are saying
Then it is a signal to contact a speech-language pathologist. Their work is to solve those problems and improve the life quality of a patient with those communication problems.
How Does a Communication Problem Develop?
The most common causes of communication problems are neurological, physical, and psychological. Neurological problems are often the result of injury to the brain or nervous systems, such as a stroke or head trauma.
Physical problems may be related to the structure of the mouth, throat, or vocal cords, or they may be caused by the misuse of these structures.
Psychological problems are caused by various reasons and usually need additional work with a psychologist and long-term therapy. This will ensure that the specialists working with a patient will get to the root of a problem. It will ensure that eliminating it is more efficient and long-lasting.
Another reason why a problem in communication may develop is that the patient has trouble understanding what is being said to him. This problem is called receptive language disorder.
He or she may also have trouble producing the right sounds, words, and phrases to convey what he wants to say. This problem is called expressive language disorder.
Based on the root of the problem, a professional SLP will decide how to work with the patient and which approach to use to help the patient in reaching their full potential.
How SLPs Work with Children and Families
Speech-language pathologists work with children and their families to improve communication skills. To do this, speech-language pathologists will observe a child’s behaviors and interactions to identify areas of potential concern.
Based on these observations, speech-language pathologists will work with the child to identify goals for improvement.
A speech-language pathologist is there to help with various problems tightly connected to speaking and communication. Some of the problems that SLPs are working on include:
- Deafness and hearing impairment
- Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)
- Intellectual disabilities
- Cerebral palsy
In their work, to reach the goal of improving the life quality of their patients, they can co-operate with psychologists, occupational therapists, and dietarians. Each case of communication difficulties is different and requires individual treatment. That’s why professional SLPs can decide which methods of therapy are best for the specific case of the patient. Depending on the case, there are different approaches to solving or decreasing the scale of a problem:
If the patient is diagnosed with:
In that case, the SLP might opt for 1-to-1 sessions with a child, where they will try to improve the patient’s awareness of their speaking methods.
Being one of the most common communication problems (estimated 1% of the world population stutters, while 5% of children go through a period of stuttering during their childhood), the speech pathologist might take many different approaches to solve the problem. It all depends on the scale of the problem. Usually, it helps to control the speed rate at which the patient is speaking.
The Purpose of Speech-Language Pathology Work with Children and Families
The purpose of speech-language pathology work with children and families is to provide assessment and treatment to children with communication disorders. Speech-language pathologists also work with families to promote communication development and, when necessary, to enhance or restore communication abilities. Speech-language pathologists provide services to individuals in a variety of educational, medical, and community settings.
- That’s why they can be of help if:
- Your child has difficulties with learning how to read
- Have problems with swallowing
- Has a long history of ear infections that might have affected their hearing abilities
- Has serious intellectual disability and needs help with developing other, different ways to communicate
- Needs help with feeding (for example, in case of the cleft palate)
The goal of speech-language pathologists is to help patients, including children and adults, with communication disorders to communicate better and more effectively. Speech-language pathologists use a range of interventions, from therapy to surgery, to treat people with speech, language, cognitive, and swallowing disorders. To develop strong communication skills, there might be a need to find a speech-language pathologist (SLP). SLPs are experts in communication and are uniquely qualified to diagnose and treat communication disorders.
Speech-language pathologists are health care professionals who provide evaluation, treatment, and prevention of communication disorders.
Speech-language pathologists (SLP) work with children of all ages who have difficulties with speech, language, voice, and swallowing. They are professionals who work with people who have problems with communication skills.
The speech-language pathologist is a specialist who is skilled in the identification, assessment, and treatment of communication disorders.
In case you or your child might need help with improving their communication skills, do not hesitate to contact a specialist in the field. Improving the patient’s quality of life is their main goal.