What is Speech Therapy?
Speech Therapy refers to the assessment and treatment of disorders relating to speech, language, and communication. Speech disorders can occur due to a variety of structural and developmental abnormalities that affect the child’s ability to articulate sounds properly. Speech Therapy treatments can help the child overcome these abnormalities through a variety of exercises that target their specific issues. The earlier Speech Therapy for children begins, the greater the benefits will be.

When does a child need Speech Therapy?
Those  who demonstrate speech and language delays or disorders at an early age may benefit from Speech Therapy for children. Trouble with articulating word sounds, stuttering or cluttering, resonance disorders owing to obstruction in the oral or nasal cavities, receptive and/or expressive language disorder, aphasia, dysarthria, and cognitive-communication disorders are all signs that intervention in the form of Speech Therapy exercises is necessary. How long the Speech Therapy for kids will continue depends on their age, the severity of the speech disorder, and the nature and severity of the underlying condition that is causing the speech disorder. While some conditions improve as the child grows older, others require life-long intervention and maintenance.

How Speech Therapy works for children?
During the course of Speech Therapy treatment, the therapist will work with the child through one-on-one exercises or group interactions to target their specific speech disorder. There are various Speech Therapy techniques available to treat expressive and receptive language problems, articulation problems, pragmatic language problems (where the child struggles to use language in socially appropriate ways), and others. A course of Speech Therapy treatment often includes the following:

  • Articulation therapy: This is where the therapist assists the child with specific sounds that they have trouble pronouncing. This usually takes the form of Speech Therapy exercises to move the tongue in ways that create those specific sounds
  • Language intervention activities: This is a set of Speech Therapy exercises that build speech and language skills as well as social skills. Through activities like play-based therapy, picture cards, or reading books aloud, the therapist will help the child with their  language skills and provide necessary feedback
  • Feeding and swallowing therapy: Here, the therapist teaches a variety of Speech Therapy exercises to strengthen the mouth and jaw muscles to make eating easier. These exercises may include facial massage, tongue exercises, and swallowing exercises

What do speech therapists do?
Speech therapists are qualified to provide various types of Speech Therapy for children, in order to help them overcome speaking disorders. They can also help with written language and auditory processing issues. 

In the first session, the speech therapist will understand the exact nature of the child’s speech and language problem, whether it relates to articulation, fluency, resonance, or oral feeding issues. Through a combination of tailored Speech Therapy exercises, they are then able to significantly improve the child’s communication abilities. 

How long does Speech Therapy take?
Your child may overcome their speech disorder with just a few months of Speech Therapy treatment, while others could require years of therapy. It is important to remember that Speech Therapy for children does not cure the disorder, but gives a child the exercises and tools they need to cope with it. The speech therapist will typically provide parents/caregivers with tips and strategies to help reinforce the lessons from your child’s Speech Therapy treatment at home. In this context, it is also essential to ensure that your child and their therapist are a good match, so that they can start seeing Speech Therapy results early on.

What are the Speech Therapy benefits?
Speech Therapy for children helps them speak clearly and hold conversations with others, while also enabling them to eat and swallow safely. It enhances their sense of confidence, as they no longer need to struggle while speaking. For children with dyslexia, Speech Therapy treatment can help them distinguish sounds that they would otherwise confuse in their heads. Through tailored Speech Therapy for kids, young children can grow academically, socially, and emotionally from an early age and enjoy a more fulfilling life.

What are the various Speech Therapy exercises for Children?
Speech Therapy for children makes use of various mouth and jaw exercises as well as fun activities to engage your child and obtain the best Speech Therapy results. Some of the popular Speech Therapy exercises include:

  • Flash cards: These help children remember and practice sounds that they have trouble with
  • Mirror exercises: The therapist may make your child stand in front of a mirror and help them pronounce each word very slowly and carefully. This is done so that your child will be aware of what the mouth is supposed to look like while uttering a particular word
  • Tongue exercises: Exercising the tongue is an important part of Speech Therapy treatment for safe swallowing. Examples include pushing the tongue to the bumpy part behind the top teeth and then curling back as far as possibleLarynx closure exercises: These are highly effective Speech Therapy swallowing exercises. They include holding a deep breath while swallowing and then coughing immediately after (a supraglottic swallow), or turning the head while holding a breath and saying ‘ahh’ while breathing out

Some Speech Therapy tips for parents
Apart from Speech Therapy for kids provided by trained professionals, parents play a critical role in reinforcing those lessons and creating a pleasant learning environment at home. Here are some Speech Therapy tips for parents:

  • Focus on your child’s abilities. It is important to praise your child and the improvements they are demonstrating over the course of their Speech Therapy treatment
  • Keep background noises to a minimum while your child is studying or practising their Speech Therapy exercises
  • Be patient with your child while conversing, and give them enough time to articulate what they want to say
  • Practise those sound articulations that your child may be having trouble with, like ‘f’ or ‘sh’, in the form of single syllables 
  • Encourage your child to use straws while drinking to develop muscular strength in the mouth that will help with clearer speech
  • Read a favorite book out loud to your child and encourage them to read bits of it back to you or explain what they understood about the story, if they are too young to read

Speech Therapy results from Plexus
At Plexus Neuro and Stem Cell Research Center, our trained therapists work with children to ensure that they get the best possible Speech Therapy treatment. We pay attention to the smallest of details and take utmost care to ensure that your child is benefitting from the Speech Therapy exercises and speaking more confidently with each session. We have worked with children who have conditions such as Cerebral Palsy, Autism, Ataxia Telangiectasia, and have successfully helped them to speak and even sing with a smile thanks to our Speech Therapy exercises

Frequently Asked Questions related to Physiotherapy Treatment for Cerebral Palsy

How can physiotherapy help with the symptoms of Cerebral Palsy?
Physiotherapy helps to release tightness and reduce pain in muscles and joints in individuals suffering from Cerebral Palsy. It also aids a child to achieve developmental milestones and improve the overall quality of their life by helping them to sit, stand, and walk.

What are the various physiotherapy exercises for Cerebral Palsy?
The different exercises for Cerebral Palsy include pull-to-sit and supine-to-sit exercises to improve strength of the abdominal muscles. Additionally, prone on hands and prone on elbows, quadruped, and sit-to-stand exercises are also effective in managing the symptoms of Cerebral Palsy.

How to endure the physical pain during physiotherapy?
Pain during physiotherapy is a myth, as using the right techniques should not lead to any pain.