Center for child development

How speech therapists can help your child

Speech Language Pathologists or SLPs are the specialists who support children with speech and communication.They deal with children with a variety of maladies spanning from simple articulation issues to more compound difficulties such as Down syndrome, autism, motor speech difficulties, hearing impairment and several other developmental issues.

Most of the speech therapy centers Ernakulam have experienced speech & language therapists to help children who need speech therapy in Kochi.

Articulation and Speech Intelligibility skills

Articulation is the ability to move the articulators such as the tongue, jaw, lips and palate to produce individual speech hums. Intelligibility explains how well a child’s speech is understandable by the audience. By three years of age, a child’s speech should be at least 50% intelligible to unfamiliar adults. If a child’s articulation skills are inadequate, his/her level of intelligibility will also be less. SLPs can help your child with the articulation of specific speech sounds or sound patterns thus increasing his/her overall speech intelligibility.

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Expressive Language Skills

While speech is the ability to speak, language is a ‘system of symbols to convey desired messages’. These symbols need not always be written or spoken words; it can also be non-verbal, such as moving our head to say ‘no’ or waving our hands to say ‘good-bye’ etc. At the same time, expressive language is what a child expresses through words. A speech & language therapist can improve the vocabulary of the child by helping the child learn newer words. Further, the therapy sessions will encourage the child use the learned words to structure sentences and phrases.

Receptive Language Skills

A child’s ability to understand and comprehend language is referred to as receptive language skills. Young children are seen to have better receptive language skills than expressive language skills. An SLP at your speech therapy centre in Kochi can help your child understand newer words and use these newly-learned words into structuring simple, yet meaningful sentences. As the child picks up the skills, the complexity of the sentenced will be increased.

Stuttering

Stuttering is one of the many communication disorders that affect the fluency of speech. Prolongations, interjections, repetitions and blocks are the primary behaviours that characterize stuttering. An experienced speech & language therapist in Kochi, like us, can help the child take control of such behaviours effectively. And thus, the quality of speech improves naturally, leading to improve the fluency and intelligibility of the child’s speech.

Cognitive-Communication Skills

Cognitive skills refer to those thought processes that allow human beings to function effectively and interact meaningfully and cognitive-communication disorders arise from weakened thought processes. It can result in the failure of executive functions such as problem-solving, planning and even self-monitoring. These cognitive-communication disorders may be congenital or acquired from a head injury, a stroke, or due to any kind of degenerative diseases. An SLP can help the child augment these skills and/or teach them alternate methods to deal with their disabilities.

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Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC)

Excluding oral speech, all kinds of communications used to express ideas, needs, thoughts and/or wants is collectively referred to as Augmentative and Alternative Communication or AAC. If a child has a severe impediment that restricts him/her from using traditional methods of oral speech, a speech & language therapist in Kochi can help the child and his/her family to find an adequate AAC system to enhance the quality of communication. However, parents must keep in mind that the AAC systems do not replace speech if the child is able to speak; the system is used along with speech to improve the quality and intelligibility of the child’s speech.

Educating and empowering the parents to help the child

Perhaps the best and most important thing any speech therapy centre in Ernakulam or anywhere else in the world can do is to prepare the parents to become the strongest support that the child needs. There are chances that the children often go through a lot of pressure and self-doubts that they may not even be able to communicate to the parents. It is the responsibility of the parents to understand them and become their beacon of hope that they hope the society will one day become. An SLP will surely orient the parents with effective ways to become the best support the child need.

Speech therapists can only do so much to improve the quality of your children. However, a larger part of the play is the parents’ responsibility. Understanding what a speech & language therapist can do for your child can often persuade the parents find one to help their child.