Speech language therapy is a treatment method for children who have speech or language delays or disorders. According to the Nemours Foundation website, "a speech disorder refers to a problem with the actual production of sounds, whereas a language disorder refers to a difficulty understanding or putting words together to communicate ideas." Schools employ speech language therapists, who work with students? with these delays or disorders during the school day. There are a variety of methods these therapists might use for improving speech and language skills with their students.
In this type of therapy the therapist will essentially play with the child to encourage language interaction to occur. The therapist might play games, act out role-playing activities or even just talk about a picture or a toy with the child. In doing so, she will try to encourage the child to manipulate language to form a message and to understand what the therapist is saying as well. This models proper language-based interaction for the child so that he can learn to have these types of interactions in the outside world as well.
Children who have articulation problems may have difficulty physically pronouncing words and letter sounds. They may simply lack the connection between the sound itself and the way they have to form their mouth to make that sound. In this type of therapy the therapist works with the child to model the way to make certain letter or word sounds. She may show the child how to hold his mouth when he says certain words or practice repeating the sounds with the child until he becomes more comfortable making the sounds on his own.
Oral Motor Therapy
Oral motor therapy is a strategy for children who have difficulty manipulating the muscles in their mouths. A child with this type of delay would benefit from therapy sessions where he can practice mouth exercises or even eat foods with different textures to learn about eating and swallowing. For this type of therapy, the student? might even bring his lunch to the therapist's office for their session so they can practice with food together.
A child who has a speech or language disorder may not be able to communicate in the traditional sense. However, he can still benefit from speech language therapy. In a speech language therapy session, the child would learn to communicate in non-traditional ways. He could learn to use sign language or even to point to a picture of something to convey a message. He might learn to use an assistive device to communicate such as a typing device that will spell out a message for him. All of these methods still help a child learn to communicate, even if he cannot do so in the traditional way.
Access to Therapy
The therapy a child receives during school hours is usually a component of the child's Individualized Education Program, or IEP. If a child has a speech or language disorder, then his parents and school officials will work together to write an IEP that addresses his specific needs for classroom learning and therapy to help him be successful in school. When the IEP states that a child requires therapy sessions for a speech or language disorder, the school is legally obligated to provide those services.
Each campus has a staff member who is trained and certified to address these learning problem.