SPEECH THERAPY

Feeding and Swallowing Disorders

Children’s Articulation Disorders

Alternative Communication

Speech therapy is the specialty which treatsproblems with production of speech, more general communication and matters related to eating and swallowing. Speech Disorders, Language Disorders, and Feeding Disorders are three general categories in which children often have difficulties from a very early age.

More specifically, speech and language disorders relate to difficulties with:

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Producing sounds in syllables or incorrect words to the point that listeners cannot understand what is being said

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Problems with the flow of speech, such as stuttering, in which flow is interrupted or repeated ("ch-ch-chair"), or there is prolonged use of sounds and/or syllables (chaaaaaaant).

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Problems with voicing and controlling appropriate volume, or using voice qualities which distract the listener, or which can even cause discomfort or pain to the child during their speech.

On the other hand, a language disorder is a problem with understanding or difficulty in putting words together to form a sentence. Such difficulties may concern expressive speech as well as understanding, thus creating difficulties, such as:

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Understanding and processing of language

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Limited vocabulary and the placement of words in order to produce meaning

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Communication skills, which involve memory, attention, perception, organization, regulation and problem solving

And finally, another major category of speech therapy intervention concerns dysphagia – feeding and swallowing disorders. This includes difficulties with chewing, swallowing, coughing and even the type of food a child will allow or refuses to allow into their mouth.

Looking at this range of disorders, the child’s speech therapist assesses the issues presented and uses strategies that include:

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Activities with speech techniques such as the use of appropriate games, objects and photos to stimulate and motivate the development of speech

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Articulation exercises and techniques to strengthen the appropriate pronunciation and the inclusion of words in sentences

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Oral motor strategies/feeding and swallowing therapeutic techniques, which may include exercises for the muscles in the mouth and tongue, massaging techniques and the use of various equipment for chewingand different tastes and textures to mobilize feeding and swallowing mechanisms.