What is speech therapy?
Speech therapy is the science that deals with the prevention, diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation of all. Speech, voice, language and communication disorders. Those might occur in both children and adults. Most disorders are due to the following causes:
The ages that the speech therapist deals with are from 0 to 90 years old. From 0, infants diagnosed with syndromes that need treatment and adults with neurological diseases. In addition, speech, voice, language or communication disorders can be congenital or acquired. Last, they can be summarized as follows:
Articulacy of native language sounds
Phonological system organization
Understanding of oral and written speech
Expression of oral and written speech
Special learning disorder
The role of the speech therapist:
- First, evaluate and diagnose the individual.
- Second, decide on the necessity or not of the treatment.
- Third, determine the time, method, frequency and end of treatment.
- Plan the treatment.
- Then constantly evaluate its effectiveness.
- In addition, must collaborate with family, relatives and the scientific team. Depending on the disorder, specialists such as: neurologist and physiotherapist. Occupational therapist, ΕΝΤ or child psychiatrist. Pediatrician, teacher or preschool teacher. Last, special educator, social worker or orthodontist are involved.
- Furthermore, gathering the essential information from the person’s history (+ from relatives and experts), the speech therapist evaluates the disorder through observation and special tests he performs. Then delimits the needs and difficulties. Thus, according to them, he plans the short-term or long-term goals of the treatment.
- Last, he informs and guides parents and specialists at the beginning, but also, throughout the treatment process.
It is worth emphasizing that:
However, the age at which a skill is acquired varies from child to child. If there is difficulty in speech, voice, language or communication, the sooner we detect it and ask for help, the better. At last, 60% of children with the above difficulties in preschool age, may have difficulties in reading and writing further.
Read more about child development and skills by age: 3-6 years old here
Speech Therapist-Speech Pathologist
Member of the Greek Association of Speech Therapists