7 Things Parents Should Know About Speech-Language Therapy

By Jessica Drake-Simmons, Speech-Language Therapist

Here are the top 7 things parents should know about speech therapy, by our very own speech-language therapist Jessica Drake-Simmons.

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1. The best time for your child to get services is now!

If you have any concerns with the development of your child’s speech, language or feeding development, it is recommended that you get them evaluated. There is an abundance of research that supports the effectiveness in addressing skills at a young age. At young ages, the brain is rapidly developing. The brain can be shaped and reorganized based on learning experiences and opportunities. Providing intervention at a younger age can lead to a decreased duration of therapy, fewer behavioral issues, increased self-confidence and better academic outcomes.

2. We work on more than speech!

• Speech
o Speech Sound Production
o Stuttering
o Voice Quality
o Nasal or hyponasal speech

• Language
o Phrase and sentence production
o Use of grammatical structures
o Vocabulary expansion
o Listening comprehension
o Reading comprehension
o Literacy (reading, writing, spelling)

• Social Skills
o Prelinguistic communication-shared attention and communicative signaling)
o Using language to effectively communicate
o Conversation skills

• Cognition
o Attention
o Memory
o Sequencing
o Problem-solving
o Organization
o Planning
o Self-monitoring

• Feeding and Swallowing
o Oral-motor functions
o Swallowing
o Food tolerance

3. There is not a one-size-fits-all approach to speech therapy.

When working with your children, we assess their age, interests, comfort level, speech/language/feeding needs, severity of issues, additional delays the child may have, learning style and personality to create a treatment approach that most effectively meet their needs.

4. We Love to Play!!!

Based on your child’s age, interests and learning style, we may spend most of, or all of, our session playing with your child. This play is very purposeful. We are constantly assessing their independent functioning, using strategies to expand their speech and language development and modeling skills just above their developmental level. Play is how children learn. We are providing a meaningful and motivating context for your child to practice and expand their communication skills.

5. We would love to be able to tell you how long your child will need services . . . however the truth is that we just don’t know!

Some children make significant progress quickly and other children take more time to experience notable changes. Each child experiences development and progress at different rates. Based on the severity of the child’s delay, we can make our best guess at how long he will benefit from services but speech therapy is a unique process for each child.

6. YOU are your child’s best speech therapist!

We are here to guide the process, assess areas to work on, problem solve different issues, assess best strategies and trial different activities. BUT, it is YOU who are your child’s best teacher! If your child comes to speech therapy one time a week, we spend less than 1% of the week targeting their goals. Your child’s skills can be worked on through any of your normal daily events. You do not need time-consuming or expensive activities to address their communication needs. Your child’s communication skills can be developed during any of the following activities:

o Picking what to eat for breakfast
o Reading their favorite book
o Helping them with their homework
o Driving in the car
o Talking about their favorite part of the day
o Playing a game
o Cleaning up toys

Would you like more ideas? Visit our Pinterest page at: http://www.pinterest.com/speechdeptes/

7. We Love Your Kids!

We LOVE your kids and want the best for them! Getting to know your child’s personality, viewing the world from their perspective and witnessing their progress is what makes us LOVE our job!

Want more information about speech-language therapy or to schedule an evaluation? Please call our Intake Coordinator at 630.282.2022.

This blog post is by Jessica Drake-Simmons, a speech-language therapist at Easter Seals DuPage & Fox Valley (detailed bio and photo coming soon).

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