What is Speech Therapy?

Speech therapy is the treatment for children with speech and/or language disorders. Common communication problems in children include Articulation, Language and Fluency (stuttering).

Articulation. Articulation problems refer to difficulty with pronouncing sounds to make words. Children develop sounds in a particular order. English-speaking children learn most sounds by six or seven years. For example, your child may be substituting ‘k’ for ‘t’ pronouncing ‘cat’ as ‘tat’. This in turn will affect your child’s overall intelligibility.

As a rough guide your child’s speech should be understood by a stranger:

• 25 per cent by age one,
• 50 per cent by age two,
• 75 per cent by age three, and
• 90 per cent or greater by age four

Language A language disorder refers to difficulty understanding (receptive skills) or putting words together to communicate ideas (expressive skills) or a combination of both. Expressive language difficulties can show up in problems with grammar, as in “Him is mean,” or vocabulary such as calling a "lion" a "tiger". Receptive problems can show up in misunderstanding what is said, including difficulty following instructions.

Fluency (stuttering)With this type of problem, the child has difficulty with the flow or rhythm of speech. The smooth flow of speech can be interrupted in a number of ways: repeating sounds, syllables, words and phrases and prolonging sounds.

Benefits of Speech Therapy

The goal of speech therapy is simple - improved skills that will allow your child to communicate more effectively.
There are other benefits as well. These can include:
• Improvement in the ability to understand and express thoughts, ideas and feelings
• Intelligible speech so your child is understood by others
• Achievement of school readiness skills
• Development of pre-literacy skills
• Fluent speech
• Development of practical social skills
• Better quality of life
• Greater self-esteem
• Increased independence