An individual may need speech therapy if he or she has difficulty producing sounds (speech/articulation) or using words to communicate (language). Because the muscles and structures used for speech (lips, tongue, teeth, palate and throat) are also used for feeding/eating, a speech therapist (SLP) may be able to assist with swallowing/feeding issues (dysphagia).
Children who are unable to effectively communicate his or her wants and needs may become frustrated and display inappropriate and self-injurious behaviors such as: hitting, biting, kicking, throwing objects, temper tantrums, etc. Adolescents and adults who may be aware of their errors may refrain from communicating with others.
A speech therapist (SLP) can help an individual become a successful communicator through:
- Articulation – An SLP can help an individual produce sounds accurately to increase his or her intelligibility to be understood by others.
- Language – An SLP can help an individual communicate through understanding (receptive) and use (expressive) of spoken language. Speech therapists find ways for individuals to communicate appropriately by establishing an individual’s primary mode of communication.
- Hearing Impairment – Individuals with a hearing loss tend to have speech and language deficits. Advancements in hearing aids and cochlear implants, individuals with a hearing impairment can learn to listen and speak through aural rehabilitation with the help of an SLP.
- Stuttering – Stuttering is considered atypical dysfluencies that disrupt speech and impede an individual’s’ ability to speak smoothly.