Speech, Language, and Feeding Disorders: How a Pathologist Can Help

Speech therapy concept

Is a child experiencing trouble with certain speech or language skills? Do they need some help handling these issues? Parents should consider taking their child to a pediatric speech-language pathologist. Here, they’ll be able to determine whether a problem exists and how this can be corrected.

Pediatric speech therapy is effective in improving the verbal and non-verbal language skills of newborns, children, and teenagers. Children engaged in therapy at an early age experience benefits earlier and progress faster because they have not developed many speech patterns. Overcoming a disorder will still take a lot of time and effort, and a child will need the patience, support, and understanding of their family.

Speech, Language, and Feeding Disorders

Speech Disorder

This refers to a problem with sound production. They normally include difficulties with articulation, fluency, or resonance. Children may stutter or have difficulty producing syllables without stumbling. A therapist can help them produce words and sounds better.

Language Disorder

With a receptive language disorder, the child has problems understanding and processing language. Expressive disorders manifest with a child having a hard time stringing words together and using language in a socially appropriate way. Cognitive-communication language disorders refer to problems with memory, attention, perception, or organization.

A pathologist can help children take information in and understand what it means or that they are meant to perform a specific action. Children also learn to produce words and form them in a way that allows them to communicate effectively with others.

leaning therapy concept

Feeding Disorder

Oral feeding disorders refer to difficulties eating and drinking, like with chewing, swallowing, coughing, and refusing food. With this type of disorder, a child may be unable to safely consume age-appropriate food and liquid. Therapy may involve facial massage and other tongue, lip, and jaw exercises. This can strengthen the muscles involved with eating, drinking, and swallowing.

Therapeutic Remediation

A pathologist conducts an initial assessment of the child’s speech and language ability. They then lay out a plan most appropriate for treatment of the child. The intervention depends on the specific difficulty a child needs help correcting.

Therapy may occur one-on-one, as a group, or in a classroom setting. Some pathologists try and make sessions more fun and interactive for children. Having a child join a fun course motivates them to improve and correct any speech or language impediment they may have.

Home Remedy and Support

Therapy equips children with the necessary tools to overcome speech or language problems. However, parental involvement remains crucial to a child’s success with the related therapy. The child should spend time practicing and exercising what they learned at home, in order to maintain their progress. As such, parents should be equipped with suggested practice sets and other strategies that allow a child to apply what they learned during their therapy sessions.

The treatment of speech and language difficulties is highly individualized. Different children experience a different range of problems. Parents should keep in mind that treatment options, strategies, and duration will depend on their child’s specific circumstances.

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