What is speech language pathology?
Speech language pathology is an area of practice that supports the development of skills related to speaking, communicating and swallowing. This includes areas such as developing speech sounds and speech clarity, language understanding and expression, social communication, imaginative play skills, literacy, appropriate use of voice, smooth stutter-free speech, and feeding/swallowing.
Speech = Speech is the pronunciation of words. It refers to how well a child can say words and sounds. There are various reasons why a child may have difficulties producing the correct sounds. It could be as simple as a mispronunciation of a sound, or a more complex difficulty understanding the rules that govern how we make and produce sounds (this type of speech sound difficulty links to our language understanding and use as well). Children could also have difficulties coordinating the tongue, lips and jaw quickly to make the sounds we need in a word. A speech language pathologist can help you to understand the underlying cause of your child’s speech sound difficulties and help to determine the best way to treat the sound errors.
Language = Language can be broken down into different parts: receptive language (understanding others’ communication) and expressive language (being understood through communication) and well as social language (how we use our language to manage our relationships with people). Within each of these areas can be specific difficulties, such as difficulties following directions, low vocabulary knowledge or use, not making sense while talking (rambling or confusing conversations) to name a few. A speech language pathologist can evaluate all aspects of a child’s language to see where the strengths and needs are to develop a plan to help the child understand what is going on around him or to express himself well.
Will My Child Benefit from SLP?
Pediatric OT services can help if your child has difficulties with:
· Improve nonverbal children’s ability to engage with people and their environment, or who need an alternative means of communication (e.g. sign language, iPad, picture communication system etc.)
· Language delays and disorders, including expression and comprehension in oral and non-verbal contexts
· Speech sound difficulties (articulation delays, phonological disorder and motor speech disorders).
· Imaginative play skills
· Fluency disorders, including stuttering.
· Voice and resonance disorders (e.g. hoarse voice quality, or nasal quality to speech).
· Swallowing and feeding disorders in children and infants.
· Pre-literacy and literacy skills including phonological awareness, decoding, reading comprehension and writing.
· Cognitive-communicative disorders including social communication skills, reasoning, problem solving and executive functions.
What makes our SLP program different?
At Meridian, our speech language pathologists are passionate about working with parents to identify and work towards meaningful and functional goals. We work hand in hand with parents and caregivers to make sure that what happens in therapy is something that can be integrated into everyday routines and activities. We identify natural teaching opportunities and coach parents (and other adults involved in their child’s life) to know how to “do speech” all day long, without having to make extra time in the day to do “speech homework”.
Helping a child to communicate effectively and efficiently helps them to succeed in their day to day interactions, as well as sets them up to achieve their best academic success. Communication skills are fundamental skills that underlie everything that we do. Working with a Meridian SLP, you will have a program that makes sure we are targeting skills that will have the biggest impact for the child in the home and the community.
Click here to for Speech-Language Audiology Canada’s description of the role of SLPs