In our previous blog, we analyzed:
What is speech therapy?
What is the role of the speech therapist?
What are the types of speech and language disorders?
Let’s see now,
When does a child need speech therapy?
- Absence of speech or the child uses simplified speech compared to children of the same age (speech delay), for example children over 2 years old who produce few words and do not form phrases (instead of “I want water” – says “water”)
- Suddenly and abruptly he/she stops speaking or his/her speech and speech, instead of improving, get worse.
- Difficulty in articulation, for example in the production of some sounds / phonemes until infancy – for example the child does not produce the sound / r / at all (instead of “round” – he/she says “ound”) or replaces the sound / th / with / s / (instead of “they” – /she says “sey”)
- Systematic grammatical and expressive errors – ex the child confuses verb tenses or endings (instead of “Yesterday i went” – he/she says “Tomorrow i went”)
- Difficulty in the flow of speech, ex repetition of words, phrases or blockages (stuttering)
- Difficulty in expressing, ex. in telling a story or in describing his/her day.
- Use of limited vocabulary or absence of use of new words
- Does not react to sounds and does not show points of contact with the environment.
- Makes repetitive, monotonous movements of the body, head or limbs.
- He/she is obsessed or deals in a peculiar way with his/her objects and toys.
- Difficulty in understanding speech, ex. in executing simple / complex commands – for example show me the ball or bring me the blue car.
It is necessary for the child to be included immediately in a speech therapy program, early intervention, when there is a diagnosis such as Autism, Down syndrome, Hearing-Deafness, Cerebral Palsy.
Parents should be aware of the difficulties that arise in the course of the child’s development, and whether they directly affect his/her daily life. It would be helpful for parents to consult a speech therapist about whether or not to intervene.
In the speech therapy program it is very important for the development of the treatment, to build a relationship of trust between the parents and the speech therapist as well as between the speech therapist and the child. Early prevention and intervention presupposes a better prognosis for the child’s future.
Up to 2 years old:
- The child’s vocabulary has 20-50 words.
- Obeys simple commands ex. give me your ball
- Uses two words to form phrases ex. I want water
- Uses symbolically different toys (ex. combs the doll, answers the phone, etc.).
Up to 3 years old:
- Answers simple questions.
- Makes simple sentences e.x I will go to my grandfather
- Can watch a dialogue.
- He/she likes fairy tales and watches them with ease.
- He/she asks questions like: what is this?
Up to 4 years old:
- Answers all kinds of questions like: who? where? Why? When? Ex. who gives us a vaccine? Where are your shoes? When do we go to the snow?
- His/her speech is understood by strangers.
- His/her speech is closer to that of adults in terms of grammar and syntax.
- Can narrate his/her own experiences ex. what did you do today?
During the evaluation the speech therapist examines and collects data on the characteristics, abilities and needs of the individual in order to make a clinical decision. The evaluation process allows us with the data we have collected to set goals for the therapeutic intervention as well as its time schedule.
Once the evaluation process is completed, then we proceed to the analysis of this information in order to diagnose-differential diagnosis of any existing disorder.
They provide treatment programs aimed at maximizing the child’s abilities and skills.
An integral part of the speech therapist is the counseling to the parents or the family and the immediate environment of the individual. The speech therapist also includes written reports to the child’s school and the medical services to which he/she belongs, in order to inform the health professionals dealing with the child about his/her progress but also for the exchange of information in order to deal with the child’s problems in a comprehensive way.
- It is very important when you talk to them, to talk simply and slowly.
- When you do an activity with them, describe what you do ex. Look now we will paint in red!
- Do not use baby talk, it is best to use the right words and complete sentences.
- Listen carefully when they speak to you, in order to enhance the interaction with them.
- Add new words often when you speak to them, to enrich their vocabulary.
- When the child does not understand a word, give him/her the necessary time and explain.
- Encourage the child to cut the bottle and pacifier, if he still uses them.
- Encourage them to socialize with other children through play and extracurricular activities
- Introduce reading stories together and tell it to the child. Thus, you encourage a positive attitude towards reading and language, even if the child is very young they can change the pages and point to pictures.
- Give them the opportunity to help you in planning and scheduling activities ex. to decorate the Christmas tree together or bake cookies.
- Reward any efforts for speach.
- Give them the opportunity to participate in family discussions.
- I try to be the right language model for my child.
- Variety of educational toys: such as children’s kitchen, telephone, cars, cubes, ball, puzzles, dolls, board games, books, etc.
- I always cooperate with the school.