Speech Therapy

Speech and language therapy involves the assessment, coupled with the support of speech, language, communication needs of children.

An assessment appointment will typically last on average for 30 minutes to an hour. A speech therapist will begin by discussing with you your child’s early development history and gathering & collating some information about your concerns and worries. Any assessment carried out will consider how well your child’s speech and language are developing. This decision is in comparison to what would is expected for children of a similar age.

A different number of tasks and activities will be done by a child during an assessment, based on the age of your child and the type of difficulty that they are experiencing. With some children, more often younger ones, the evaluation may be done through the speech therapist playing near a young charge or even just watching and observing them play. The Speech Therapist will see how your child comprehends language. They will also understand how well the child is talking and which sounds they can utilise in their speech and vocabulary.

A more ‘formal’ assessment means they work with your child using some published assessments, many of which are standardised. Standardised tests allow the therapist to ascertain how your child a score compares to others of similar age. With the criteria, the therapist can evaluate if a child is developing as best as they can be, or if there is a delay or issue with speech and language.Our speech therapist will derive a conclusion on how they think your child is doing, and whether they have concluded that your child needs to get some extra help with their speech and language development.

In many cases, we will write a report about the session.Speak to your health visitor or GP to request a referral for your child to be referred for speech and language therapy. Mind you; you can also initiate a referral yourself to us.Most kids learn to speak at variable speeds and some children naturally develop quicker than other kids. We expect children to have developed specific skills by certain ages. Extra help for children that do struggle with learning to talk and understand will be required.

If there is any concern on your part about the way your child is talking or understanding, speak to us about a speech and language therapy assessment. A speech therapist will be able to tell you exactly how your child is getting on and if there is a reason to be concerned.Children diagnosed on the autism spectrum regularly find it challenging to understand others communications with them and similarly find it hard to communicate efficiently and effectively in the other direction.

A child on the autism spectrum may feel he or she does not have any reason to interact with people at all. Often a catch 22 situation will develop where the child’s language acquisition is delayed, and they get incredibly frustrated when they cannot make their needs understood. Then their play and social situations become awkward, and so children avoid interaction, and hence they also inevitably have fewer opportunities to learn the language.

Problems are more complicated than straightforward talking and language issues with children on the autism spectrum. With difficulty in speaking and joining in, a child can find it hard to comprehend social behaviour. This problem of comprehension also means they will find it tough to perceive another individual’s state of mind.

Sometimes it could be a reluctance to make eye contact or use hand gestures. Understanding body language which is an acquired skill is also not natural.A common visible indication that something is awry is a delay in spoken language. The speech therapist more often than not is one of the first professionals to meet the child. All aspects and considerations of communication and social norms, not just speech and language need to be taken into account.The evaluation should ideally be part of a co-ordinated multi-disciplinary assessment [e.g. including the Paediatrician] which ascertains how aspects of the review relate to and influence one another.

When it comes to evaluations and intervention speech specialists are essential cogs in the wheel.Some children have limited, or even more distressing no speech. Subsequently, their ability to understand speech in social situations may fluctuate or vary immensely.Visual methods such as symbols, picture systems and signing, may be utilised by the therapists to get a child to communicate. They may decide to help the child learn how to listen better for example or work on the child’s attention skills.

Expressive language could be another lesson alongside play and social skills.On the flip side, many young humans have brilliant vocabularies and can charmingly converse on all kinds of subjects with significant confidence. Problems with pronunciation are rarer but not unheard of. Using language efficiently in general, understanding social cues of when to speak and reply are an issue. Then there will be children who have questions intonation, and rhythm or with what words or sentences or phrases mean.

The National Autistic Society in one of its information sheets on speech therapy provides a handy breakdown of common communication issues experienced by children.Some common disorders we will look to assess:• Articulation disorders: some children can have problems saying some sounds or words correctly. Lisps are a well-known articulation disorder.

• Fluency disorders: other children can end up repeating some sounds or even have challenges articulating complete words.
• Resonance or voice disorders: Then there can be situations where children talk in a manner in which people will find it hard to understand them

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