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Speech and Language Pathology

February 17, 2011 / Posted by in Blog

For almost every child, the development of speech and language follows a very typical and specific pattern. Success in therapy has shown that the earlier an impairment can be recognized, the higher the rate of recovery is. Therefore, today, parents are advised to look for signs of delays in children, as early as a baby’s first year.

Speech and language disorders in school age children can pose serious challenges to the learning process. Language is the basis of communication; reading, writing, gesturing, listening, and speaking are all forms of language. When a child presents with trouble articulating, voicing, stuttering, or producing speech sounds correctly, he or she may be showing signs of a speech disorder. A language disorder may be present in a child who shows symptoms of trouble understanding others, sharing thoughts or ideas, or the basic principles and rules for structuring sentences in language for social interaction. (1)

Though the causes for most speech and language disorders can be hard to pin-point, it has been determined that infants with certain complications, injuries, abnormalities, nerve damage, or loss of hearing at birth can present with many issues that often lead to trouble in speech or language development. Genetic disorders such as Autism, Asperger’s, or cleft palate, can also have adverse effects on the speech, language, or cognitive development of a child.

Speech and Language Pathologists are professionals who work to evaluate and diagnose speech, language, swallowing and cognitive-communication disorders in children and adults. Their job is to assess each patient to determine the extent of the disorder. In cases that involve school age children, they work to provide recommendations for an (IEP) Individual Education Plan, along with providing suggestions for follow up support at home. (1)

Patients may receive speech therapy in either a classroom or clinical setting, as speech and language disorders can be developmental or acquired. This makes it crucial for speech and language pathologists to work in collaboration with other health care professionals as part of a multidisciplinary team.

In most states, speech and language therapy is offered in public schools as a support service for children with communication delays or disorders, which can negatively impact social, emotional, or academic functioning. In-school screenings, evaluations, treatment and consultation services are available; although in certain cases, parents may be referred to specialists. The best results for a child’s success are usually found in coordinated efforts between parents, teachers, and speech and language professionals.

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