Articles on speech language pathology

The Profession of Speech Language Pathology

Dr. Prasanna Hegde, Speech Therapist
Traditionally known to be a profession for teaching children here are some details about The Profession of Speech Language Pathology. Speech Language Pathology, sometimes referred to as Speech Therapy, is a allied health care profession which exclusively deals with rehabilitation of persons with Swallowing, Communication, Cognition, Language, Speech, Voice, Articulation, reading, and other skills. In other skills such as sensory impairment, writing SLP has an important role to play. A Speech Language Pathologist (SLP) is a allied health care professional who practices, promotes and advocates the philosophy of Speech Language Pathology. A SLP is a specialist in the areas of personal, educational, occupational, and social context. These may include: Developing Communication skills through modes such as auditory-verbal, visual-gestural, Orthography or any of the available and suiting combinations.Developing Cognitive skills for effective use of knowledge and Language in cognitive and executive functions of activities of daily living. Developing Language skills for appropriate and efficient use of concepts and communication through verbal or orthogrpahic modality. Developing Speech skills for appropriate and efficient use of verbal Language to be heard, understood, and acted upon by the communicating partner.Developing Voice skills for appropriate and effective use of vocal structures to communicate through spoken verbal language. Developing Articulation skills for appreciate and effective use of oral structures for pronunciation of speech sounds for communication.Developing Reading and Writing skills for appropriate and effective use of knowledge of orthographic language knowledge in communication, education and expressing ideas. Developing Readiness to learning for exploring the world around by attaining, retaining and executive concepts and skills in activities of daily living.These domains may be affected in the medical conditions in the domain of Child development disorders, Progressive and Non-progressive Neurological Disorders, Head and Neck Cancer, aging, and other specific conditions such as voice disorders, stammering.

Speech More Than Speech?

Mrs. Namrata Pai, Speech Therapist
Parents often come to a speech therapist expecting the Speech language Therapist (SLT) to work on speech, but of course just like how jellyfishes aren't really fishes and peanuts aren't nuts, a pediatric SLT does not work on "only" speech. They look at COMMUNICATION. Speech is the combination of sounds to make a string of words. But before you can start speaking, a lot of factors need to come together. It needs two people, a person to initiate, a person to respond, looking at each other, being physically at a distance that you can have a conversation and last but not the least, a reason to communicate and finally the words… Phew!!!In fact, conversations are 65% of these skills and only 35% words/speech. Just like a great musical performance needs the artist to be ready with his instrument, a concert hall, a captivating and practiced musical piece and an audience, a pediatric speech therapist needs to ensure that the child has all the pre-requisite skills for speech.A set of good listening skills and play skills go a long way in building the steps to saying words and using speech. What we do with children in speech language therapy sessions might look like we are having fun with the child by just playing but in reality, we are building the bond and relation with the child which is like telling the child that we are equals in this activity and I respect you! That’s when the child trusts us and at the same time, we can evaluate the important pre-requisites for speech.Parents often complain that we as therapists are not strict with the child. The reality being that, we always include the child’s interests and let the child lead the interaction by going his way wherever possible so that communication and learning is happening without the child realizing it. Being strict is like having a demanding boss in office! Would you like to be with him/her or do things for that person for long? You would be frustrated, angry and sometimes rebellious as well!!! Speech Therapy is “more” than Speech and Play is “Serious” work...Communication, well that's the "overlooked" secret sauce in the recipe!

Role of a Speech Language Pathologist in Early Intervention!

Mrs. Namrata Pai, Speech Therapist
What is Early Intervention?Early intervention is a system of coordinated services that promotes the child's age-appropriate growth and development and supports families of children who have developmental delays or disabilities during the critical early years (aged birth to six years).Who is Qualified to do Early Intervention?An early childhood intervention team generally consists of teachers with early childhood education training, special education specialists, speech and language pathologists (SLP), Physical therapists (physiotherapists), occupational therapists, and other support staff, such as music therapists, teacher aides/assistants, and counselors. Since there are so many professionals involved in a team, it is important to check the quality and background of the team members involved.How different is Early Intervention from Speech Language Therapy/Pathology?Speech language pathologists/Therapists (SLP/T) are a part of the early intervention team and SLP looks in to the communication development of the child. SLPs, as autonomous professionals, assume various roles in addressing the concerns and priorities of families and their infants or toddlers, and should be included on any early intervention team for children who are at risk for or have communication, language, speech, emergent literacy, or feeding/swallowing impairments.Can Speech Therapy and Early Intervention be done at the same time? Will it confuse the child?As previously said a SLP is a core member of the early intervention team so of course it can be and it is also mandatory to avail the help of a SLP! Each professional of the early intervention team works on his/her specialty area and all the team members should be in sync with each other in terms of the goals and the action plan. It will only aid the child’s holistic growth.At what Age can I start Speech Therapy for my Child?Effective communication is fundamental to all aspects of human functioning, particularly learning and social interaction. The development of communication skills begins at birth. So families with infants and toddlers (birth–36 months) and in early childhood (3 years to 5 years of age) are eligible to start speech therapy as part of their early intervention program.

To Prevent Speech & Language Developmental Delay in Normal Children

Mr. Pradeep V R, Audiologist
Like most learning, speech is primarily learned by imitation of mother or care taker.1. Sing to your child. Words are easier to learn if sung.2. Make like a speaker and just keep talking. Always encourage whatever baby utters.3. Spend at least 30 minutes to one hour with your child. Keep talking, playing and do creative stuff together. 4. Expose your child to more playmates than playthings. Interaction with children of the same age would stimulate his speech.5. Consider your child’s interest. “Ma, ball,” your child might say. Instead of just an indifferent “yes,” the mother can say, “Yes, that’s a big, blue ball that bounces.”6. Walk around the neighborhood and interact with neighbors with your child. Expand your child’s experience. 7. Add to his vocabulary. Point out objects to him and say, “See that—that’s a building. Buildings are tall structures that can serve as houses or offices.” 8. Act as interpreter for a stranger or a friend. “If the child cannot comprehend another person’s dialogue, make it clearer for the child. Help your child in such social situations.”9. Do not laugh at or criticize mispronunciation.“If he mispronounced or misused a word, don’t criticize him. Doing so might just frustrate him. Paying attention is also a form of encouragement. If nobody listens to the child, he may choose to just keep quiet,”10. Let him watch less TV programs and interact more with humans.

Unclear Speech Is Curable in All Age Groups

Dr. Chander Mohan Mittal, Cardiologist
Why should you seek speech therapy if you notice difficulties with articulation (pronunciation and talking)?· To improve a child’s ability to produce clearer speech.· To improve a child’s ability to be understood by others.· To improve a child’s ability to engage positively with other children and adults.· To facilitate a child’s interactions with familiar (e.g. family members, peers) and unfamiliar individuals.· To help reduce frustration in a child who struggles with getting their message across.· To improve spelling/writing.Left treated,difficulties with articulation (pronunciation and talking) can lead to:· Difficulties forming friendships and engaging in positive social interactions with peers.· Difficulties completing higher level education tasks.· Difficulties being understood during interactions such as job interviews or when meeting new people.· Difficulties developing literacy skills such as reading and writing.Most children make some mistakes as they learn to say new words. A speech sound disorder occurs when mistakes continue past a certain age. Every sound has a different range of ages when the child should make the sound correctly. Speech sound disorders include problems with articulation (making sounds) and phonological processes (sound patterns).Some adults continue to have problems from childhood, while others may develop speech problems after a stroke or head injury. Some signs of an articulation disorder:An articulation disorder as stated before involves problems with making/ producing sounds. Sounds can be substituted, left off, added or changed. These errors may make it hard for people to understand them.Young children often make speech errors. For instance, many young children sound like they are making a "w" sound for an"r" sound (e.g., "wabbit" for "rabbit") or may leave sounds out of words, such as "nana" for "banana." The child may have an articulation disorder if these errors continue past the expected age.Not all sound substitutions and omissions are speech errors.Instead, they may be related to a feature of a dialect or accent. Consult a speech-language pathologist (SLP). The SLP will do formal and informal assessment to record sound errors. Hearing, language and an oral mechanism examination will also be done. The SLP may recommend speech treatment if the sound is not appropriate for the child's age or if it is not a feature of a dialect or accent or not related to hearing disorder. Treatments are very effective if you consult a qualified and an experienced SLP.At what change SLP should be consulted?You can consult a SLP at any age. If you have any concern regarding your child’s speech development, we recommend that you must contact a speech language pathologist. 

Stammering/Stuttering In Children - Not A Disease But An Undesirable Speech Habit

Dr. Chander Mohan Mittal, Cardiologist
What is stammering?Stammering or Stuttering is a speech problem which occurs when the speaker is not able to maintain a smooth forward flow of speech and experiences recurrent blocks/prolongations/repetitions in the production of speech sounds in conversational speech, particularly when excited or under psychological stress.During childhood it can fluctuate. In other words it can disappear and then return. Evidence shows that most children outgrow this phase over a few weeks or months, although at the time this can be hard to believe.Causes of stammering?Dr. EdwardConture, Professor of Speech Pathology at Syracuse University, New York, talks about what causes stammering: “Things that cause stammering may be, and probably are, quite different from the things that keep it going, aggravate or worsen it. For example, if you mishandle a knife, you may cut your finger. The knife causes the cut and initial pain. Salt rubbed into the cut makes the pain continue or even worsen it but the salt does not cause the cut”. Dr. Conture says, scientists “…still haven’t found the ‘knife’ that causes stammering. However, we do know something about the ‘salt’ that keeps it going, makes it worse or aggravates it”.How you can get help?Consult a speech and language therapist (SLT) as soon as you can. Speech therapy has been shown to be more effective before the age of five. Although your child may/may not need regular therapy, the therapist can carry out a full assessment, offer advice, and help you to monitor your child's fluency.In the meantime, take a look at the following guidelines that can help young children to develop their fluency skills. It may also be helpful to show this leaflet to other family members and adults in your child's life such as teachers. Helpful tips for Parents:1. Show your child that you are interested in what he says, not how he says it.  2. Be supportive.  If you speak quickly, slow down your own rate of speech when you talk to your child. 3. Be encouraging if your child gets upset about her speech, just as you would if she was upset about any other difficulty.                                                                            4. Observe your child's speaking patterns but try to resist seeing it as a 'problem?'.5. Set aside a few minutes at a regular time each day when you can give your full attention to your child in a calm, relaxed atmosphere.  6. Reduce the number of questions you ask.  7. Take turns to talk so that everyone in the family can speak without being interrupted. 8. Respond to your child's behavior in the same way that you would with a child who does not stammer.  9. Try to avoid a hectic and rushed lifestyle.  What we offer?We offer a range of therapy here at our centre which helps us to give you the support that you need. Your first appointment will be an assessment. Depending on your age, you may be asked to attend with your parents or on your own.At the end of the assessment, next steps will be discussed. This may be:1. Therapy with your local Speech & Language Therapist, with a review at our centre in 2 months.2. Individual therapy at our centre3. Group therapy at our CentreDo you know?Ø  People who stammer are as intelligent as those who don’t.Ø  Stammering can run in familiesØ  Early intervention for stammering  is best but therapy can help at any ageØ  It is very important to talk about stammering Ø  Stammering is not caused by nervousnessØ  Stuttering is same as stammeringØ  Most people don’t stammer when they sing                                                                                                              

Articulation Problems Can Be Cured Easily!

Mrs. Sudesh Devi, Speech Therapist
Articulation problems are not as much difficult to cure. These need practice. A daily therapy can cure this problem very fast. The patient just need some support of his/her family and a daily basis practice. Screening individuals who present with speech sound difficulties and determining the need for further assessment and/or referral for other servicesConsulting and collaborating with professionals, family members, caregivers, and others to facilitate program development and to provide supervision, evaluation, and/or expert testimonyMost difficulties can be categorized as an “omission”, a “substitution”, or a “distortion”. An omission could sound like "id" for "lid" or "oo" for "blue." A substitution might sound like a "w" for an "r" which makes "rascal" sound like "wascal," or the substitution of "th" for "s" so that "soda" sounds like "thoda." When the sound simply sounds “wrong” or inaccurate, but sounds something like what the person intended, that is called a distortionAdults also can be faced with articulation problems. The longer the person has been faced with the difficulty, the harder it is to change, but most articulation problems can be helped regardless of a person's ageAn articulation problem sometimes sounds like "baby talk" because many very young children mispronounce sounds, syllables and words. But words that sound cute when mispronounced by young children interfere with the communication of older children and adultsArticulation is the process by which words and sounds are formed when the lips, tongue, jaw, teeth, and palate adjust the air coming from the vocal folds. A person has an articulation problem when he or she produces words or sounds incorrectly; listeners cannot understand what is being said or pay more attention to the way the words sound than what they meanArticulation problems can be caused by physical circumstances such as a cleft palate, a disease that causes difficulties producing words/sounds, or hearing loss, or may be related to other problems in the mouth, such as dental problems. Articulation problems can also result from cerebral palsyMost articulation difficulties occur without any obvious physical disability. Difficulty learning early speech sounds may be the root cause. Children learn their speech sounds by listening to the speech around them. This learning begins very early in life. Problems with ears during early childhood may lead to a failure to learn some speech soundsSome children will “outgrow” a functional articulation problem, but some children will need to be trained to avoid their articulation errors. An assessment by a speech-language pathologist will help to determine whether or not a child should receive therapy. A child's overall speech pattern will usually become more understandable as he or she maturesWhen you consider the possible impact an articulation problem may have on one's social, emotional, educational, and/or vocational status, the answer becomes obvious. Our speech is an important part of us. The quality of our lives is affected by the adequacy of our speech

If Your Child's Stuttering - What Should You Know?

Mrs. Namrata Pai, Speech Therapist
I often see very anxious parents walk in with a concern that their child has suddenly started stammering. The onset of this speech difficulty is usually sudden. Over the past few years, the awareness has grown. I have noticed many young children come in, Our youngest clients being between 2.6 years to 3 years old. Stuttering or Stammering is the difficulty in producing smooth speech leading to pauses or repetitions of words. Stuttering is the technical term for Stammering and both mean the same. The onset of stuttering is between 2 to 4 years of age.There are many causes for stuttering but it is important to note that usually a child with stuttering does not have any structural deficit in his speech organs. He is usually fluent when he sings songs or shlokas due to the rhythmic pattern of the words and there are periods of very fluent speech lasting over weeks followed by periods of dysfluent speech. Remember that there is no instant cure for stammering!It is good to consult a speech therapist at the earliest. Speech therapy is very effective for children below 5 years of age. The focus in speech therapy is to slow down the rate of speech of the child and be supportive of the child’s difficulty. A follow up with a speech therapist at regular intervals over a period of 6 months can be very beneficial for the child. After 5 years of age also, therapy can be initiated but it takes a longer period of time and more emotional support from the environment around the child as the child becomes more aware and conscious of his speech difficulty.As a parent you can foster more fluency in your child’s communication by,Not punishing or scolding the childPlease do not correct and criticize his/ her speech.Acknowledge his/her speech difficulties with reassurance and encouragementTalk slowly to him/herBe patient and do not complete or fill in for the child’s sentences or words. This is importantDo not ask too many back to back questions during your conversationsWhenever the child is fluent and clear , encourage him/her by appreciating their speechIf your child is between 2 to 3 years of age and is stammering for over one month or has severe stammering, do consult a experienced pediatric Speech language pathologist who will guide you to take the necessary steps. Remember that a supportive environment, appropriate feedback and fluency shaping techniques from the Speech Language Pathologist will work like magic for your little schmoozer! :-)