Speech-language pathologists (SLPs) work to assess, diagnose, prevent and treat speech, language, social communication, cognitive-communication, and swallowing disorders in children and adults.
- Provide aural rehabilitation for individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing.
- Provide augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) systems for individuals with severe expressive and/or language comprehension disorders, such as autism spectrum disorder or progressive neurological disorders.
- Work with children who may not have speech, language, or swallowing disorders, but want to learn how to communicate more effectively (e.g., work on accent modification or other forms of communication enhancement).
SLP’s deal with the following Speech and Language disorders:
- Speech disorders: Occurs when a child has difficulty producing speech sounds correctly or fluently (e.g., stuttering is a form of disfluency) or has problems with his or her voice or resonance & articulation disorders.
- Language disorders: Occurs when a child has trouble understanding others (receptive language), or sharing thoughts, ideas, and feelings (expressive language). Language disorders may be spoken or written and may involve the form (phonology, morphology, syntax), content (semantics), and/or use (pragmatics) of language in functional and socially appropriate ways.
- Social communication disorders: Children have trouble with the social use of verbal and nonverbal communication. These disorders may include problems (a) communicating for social purposes (e.g., greeting, commenting, asking questions), (b) talking in different ways to suit the listener and setting, and (c) following rules for conversation and story-telling. All individuals with ASD and ADHD have social communication problems.
- Cognitive-communication disorders: Include problems organizing thoughts, paying attention, remembering, planning, and/or problem-solving.
- Swallowing disorders (dysphagia): Includes feeding and swallowing difficulties, which may follow an illness, surgery, stroke, or injury. Children with Genetic syndrome, ASD, and cleft lip and palate have difficulty in swallowing.
Standardized tests are done to evaluate all types of speech and language deficits in children. Based on the assessments a holistic program is formed, specific to the child’s need, using an eclectic approach. We concentrate on improving different aspects of speech production, comprehension, and expression of language.
The areas of therapy may include Oro-motor functioning, pre-linguistic skills, pragmatics of language, expressive communication, receptive communication, vocabulary, fluency of speech, clarity of speech , play skills, use and understanding of emotions, body language and facial expressions. The final objective of speech and language therapy is to generalize the skills learned in a structured setting to a natural environment.
We follow play based approach in our sessions with young children, with the support of Augmentative and Alternate Communication (AAC) to facilitate communication. Exercises are taught to improve oro-motor functioning. We provide tactile cues to stimulate sound productions, vegetative skills, and oral movement.
We model the exercises and different strategies for the parents to observe, learn, and practice at home. Home training programs and monitoring of the progress of the child is done at intervals. We counsel parents on how to carry on the home program in a more natural setting.