While some children can learn to speak at an early age and have no difficulty at all, there are also those that have problems with their language and communication skills development. Unfortunately, children that have problems with communication or language development often struggle with fitting in socially and as individuals. Hence, this kind of problems need to be addressed immediately. Just because they’re still children, it doesn’t mean that you should turn a blind eye on their development needs. In fact, if anything, it’s during these early years of their life that you should address their problems. That way, early intervention is achieved, and potential bigger problems in the future will be avoided.
If a child has a speech disorder, they may have developmental issues that can be corrected with speech therapy. There are websites like Connectionstherapies.com that have professional therapist that provides evaluation and treatment. Aside from speech disorder, there are other issues that can also be addressed such as communication problems, learning disabilities, and even motor skills. A very good speech pathologist or therapist can work with children to develop patterns and learning avenues that can help solve their underlying problems from its root cause.
When it comes to speech therapy for children, there are a lot of benefits that’ll make every session worth the time and expense. Here’s what your child can gain from going through speech therapy:
- Improve Coordination of Speech Muscles
Speech therapists spend so many long years completing their study, simply because they tackle more than just talking. These medical professional problems tackle speech problems right from the core.
One of these is through improving the coordination of speech muscles through undergoing coordination and strengthening exercises, imitation, and sound repetition.
Note that oral skills are a result of the movement of the facial muscles such as the mouth and the jaw. Proper coordination of these muscles is achieved during infancy through simple movements like sucking and chewing. But, if there’s any difficulty or impairment along these lines, it’ll manifest itself in the toddler years through speech impairment.
To correct these problems, the speech pathologist will first undergo an initial assessment of your child. It’s here that your child will be asked to do different exercises or movements with their lips, tongue, and jaw. That way, the speech therapist can check where the problem is, if there’s any along that line.
When your child has any problems in these areas, the speech pathologist will undergo what’s known as oral therapy intervention. Some of the activities they may perform include:
- Blowing bubbles
- Breathing control exercises
- Blowing cotton balls and other soft materials
- Up-and-down tongue movements
- Sucking or drinking
- Perform Exercises to Help with Speech Development
The mouth and tongue have functions that goes beyond eating. One of the most obvious function is to produce the correct speech sounds. While this function may seem like an ordinary one to do, some children experience difficulty particularly when they’ve got low muscle tone.
To address this problem, the speech pathologist will let your child go through the following exercises:
- Tongue Pops. These are done with the main goal of strengthening the tongue. In this exercise, the tongue has to be sucked on the top of the mouth, pulled back to release, while creating a popping sound.
- Icing. This kind of exercise is intended to increase oral awareness and stimulation. Using ice pops, the lips will be moved from the middle, going outward, and then topping it off with a smile.
- Whistle. This is needed to increase the lip’s strength. The child will be asked to pucker their lips and whistle.
- Say “Ah”. This kind of exercise is performed to increase the soft palate strength. The speech therapist will demonstrate this to your child using a mirror. Then, your child will follow to say “Ah.”
- Blowing. While very simple, this exercise is helpful for increasing tongue strength. Your child will be asked to blow small objects such as tissues and feathers.
- Improves Communication Skills
Perhaps one of the most well-known benefits of speech therapy for children is that it improves communication skills. You wouldn’t want your child to live through their life without a voice – literally and figuratively. After all, it’s through talking that they’re able to learn, communicate their wants and needs, create social skills, make friends, and land a job, among others.
Speech therapists can provide this voice to your children through the use of the correct communication tools and technology.
But, remember that as your speech therapist works to improve your child’s communication skills, it’s very important that you’re on the same page as them. This means that at home, you’ve also got to do your part in helping your child.
That said, here are some insights you may also learn from your child’s therapist. That way, the efforts to improve your child’s condition is unanimous – with the therapist and yourself as the parent and primary caretaker.
- Give your baby or toddler full attention when they’re trying to talk to you
- Listen and respond to everything they have to say
- Set a strict schedule of phone, computer, and television use at home
- Be careful about your child’s body language, as this could also mean that they’re trying to tell you something
- Encourage talking and conversations at home
- Improves Fluency Through Breathing Exercises
Communication skills also have a lot to do with fluency. This refers to the ability to speak (and also write) easily and accurately. Particularly with speaking, it means your child’s capacity to express themselves in an articulate manner.
Apart from learning the basic rules of speech and grammar, there’s one way that fluency can improve for children. This is through breathing exercises. It has promising benefits along the lines of:
- It can benefit patients who suffer from neurological problems as the root cause of their voice and communication impairment;
- It may increase your child’s self-esteem and confidence when socializing with others;
- It supports sounds even up to the end of the sentence, which can greatly help children communicate their wants, needs, and feelings.
- Avoids Lagging and Delays in School
School is very important, even for young children. This is the foundation of their future. Hence, as early as now, you wouldn’t want them to lag behind their peers or have delays in their academic development. Unfortunately, if your child suffers some form of difficulty, such as their speech impairment, even going to school and understanding their lessons can be very hard for them.
Depending on how severe your child’s problem is, for instance, there may be certain technological tools that could be helpful for them to learn alongside their peers. Through speech and tech education, parents can be taught to enhance and teach their kids how to use technology properly. The idea is to give them an early start and make them embrace it in their everyday lives. This way, they can grow up as competent, happy, and well-adjusted individuals.
Alongside learning, children who undergo speech therapy typically go through an individualized education plan. This is a personalized, adaptable, curriculum made exclusively for each child with a specific set of needs. Using an Individualized Educational Program (IEP) enables parents to plan lessons for each child, tailor teaching methods based on the child’s learning style, and significantly increase the parent-child interaction. Furthermore, IEPs are usually aligned with the teaching plans of special education programs and services. Because they take into account the unique needs of children with speech pathology and other learning disabilities, an IEP is considered a more efficient and effective way of teaching children with these conditions.
Your child’s capacity to learn and grasp the lessons of the day at school is improved as you can also share this learning plan with your child’s teacher. That way, all of you who are key-players in your child’s success, are working unanimously and are on the same page with your child’s learning.
- Improves Social Skills
No man is an island, and this certainly is true for children. They’re social creatures, and part of going to school involves interacting with the other students. In fact, it’s also usually in the school that they’re able to build some of their first friendships and lasting relationships.
The benefits of speech therapy for children go beyond enhancing speech abilities. Once your child starts to undergo speech therapy, they’ll get over the communication anxieties and barriers that hamper their social interaction. Children with speech and language disabilities often feel tense when interacting with others, especially children their own age. But with the help of a speech-language pathologist, these youngsters can learn to express themselves more freely and interact better with others. In so doing, they learn to enjoy school and develop their academic performance as well.
All these benefits considered, if you feel that your child has a problem area with their speech and communication needs, it’s not yet too late for you to address these needs. Rather than set this aside as an afterthought, make it a priority right now. Give your child the proper attention they need to address this problem by taking in the services of a licensed speech therapist. Remember that communication skills are more than just spoken words per se. If left unchecked, these problems can lead to adverse problems in your child’s future. Don’t leave your child without a voice.