Visiting a speech pathologist
Are you thinking of visiting a speech pathologist with your child? What can you expect? Here is some information on what you might experience.
What usually happens in a session?
Your child might see a speech pathologist if they need help with speech, language or have difficulties with mealtimes/feeding. Speech therapy sessions for children at Talk Time usually go for either 30, 45, or 60 minutes, depending on the needs of the child and ability of the family/caregiver. In a session, the speech pathologist will have a variety of activities planned to help your child meet their goals, such as:
· Articulation therapy: Articulation (producing sounds) therapy will involve the therapist modelling correct sounds, such as the ‘s’ sound, and will show your child how to make the sound by demonstrating tongue position during play activities. Sometimes a mirror or props are used to assist correct tongue placement to make the target sound.
· Language activities: This involves playing and talking, using pictures, books, objects (such as bubbles) to stimulate language development. The therapist will use repetition exercises to build speech and language skills, and will have target words and word combinations they will aim for your child to produce during an activity.
· Oral-motor/feeding and swallowing therapy: If your child has difficulty with feeding, chewing or swallowing, the speech therapist will use a variety of oral exercises (using the tongue, lips and jaw) to strengthen the muscles. They may also work with different textures of food, or different utensils/bottles to assist your child.
It is important to work with your child in-between therapy sessions on the activities suggested by your speech pathologist.
How is an assessment different to a therapy session?
In an assessment session, the speech pathologist will ask questions to find out as much information as possible such as how many words a child is saying, how well your child understands others, and whether they have met key developmental milestones, to decide what assessments are most appropriate to complete. Speech pathologists can assess speech, language, pragmatics (social skills), using standardised assessments, which means the results will show where your child shows in comparison to other children of the same age. A therapy session uses the outcomes of the assessment to develop goals and carefully target activities to meet the goals.
But my child won’t sit still!
During a speech pathology session your child may be energetic. Learning does not need to always occur at the table, in fact, it can happen anywhere- playing on the floor, walking around the room, or through an obstacle course, inside and outside! Children learn best when they are engaged and contributing to the learning process, so speech therapy occurs wherever and doing whatever keeps the child engaged!
Why so much play?
Play is the way in which children learn, and can help them develop many skills. In speech therapy we use lots of games that appeal to children of varying ages, interests and energy levels. Therapy is effective and successful outcomes occur when the child enjoys themselves, creating a perfect platform for learning.
- Kate Giulieri, Speech Pathologist at Talk Time