Speech delay is also known as alalia. Speech delay(alalia)refers to a delay in the development or use of the mechanisms that produce speech is very different from language, refers to the actual process of making sounds, using, such organs and structures as the lungs, vocal cords, mouth, tongue, teeth, etc. Language delay refers to a delay in the development and or use of the knowledge of the language.
because language and speech are two independent stages of development, they can be individually delayed. For example, a child may be delayed in making a speech.
Unable to produce intelligible speech sounds but not delayed in language. In this case, the child would be attempting to produce an age-appropriate amount of language, but that language would be difficult or impossible to understand. Conversely, since a child with a language delay typically has not yet had the opportunity to produce speech sounds, they are likely to have a delay in speech as well.
Baby development Stages and Speech Therapy
With Speech Delay, the baby development stages are very different, first babies must hear the sounds frequently and memorize them before learning to speak or learn their meaning. For children with hearing impairment, among the many activities that can facilitate listening to sounds are sound-object association activities also known as “learning to listen to sounds.
This type of activity involves associating a sound to a referent, an item such as transportation vehicle or animal with a routine meaningful action. Linking a sound to a referent is considered an important activity for auditory-based intervention because it encourages the child to attend to sounds, facilitate the recognition that sounds are different and help the child understand that different sounds have a different meaning.
This activity also develops stored perceptual representation for specific sounds or language-based phonemes. It also develops auditory familiarity with the spoken language.
There are some important things to consider when facilitating this kind of activity. One thing is to incorporate toys or personal action for a very young child. This allows children to actively participate in the learning and listening process as this activity is meaningful and enjoyable for them.
Another thing is the variation of the suprasegmentals of these sounds. This restructures the auditory schema of a child for a particular sound each time he hears it in a different context. Also, toys used for learning to listen to sounds should be simple representational items that are easily recognizable by young children.
Adults should also remember that “hearing comes first” for an effective auditory-verbal strategy. This means that the adult should first vocalize the sound before showing to the child the toy.
Magical Transportation Sounds
An example of learning to listen to the sound associated with transportation vehicle is aaaah(aeroplane) which is a good basic vowel and even the deafest kid typically comprehend and use it quickly. The clinician can vary the suprasegmentals of this sound as he shows to the child how he moves the aeroplane up and down.
Another sound is buhbuhbuh. It is one of the first consonants that the babies learn and besides that, it is also an easy sound for the babies to imitate and produce on their own. The toy bus can be moved around as the clinician vocalizes the sound. Ooooo is one sound that is good for stimulation of pitch variation with the same vowel.
The clinician can use a fire truck as he produces the sound with alternating high-low configuration. Other learning to listen sounds associated with transportation vehicles include brrrrrr(car), p-p-p-p-p(boat), and ch-ch-ch-ch(train). These sounds concentrate on stimulating the lip articulator and develop listening for some high-frequency sounds.
Familiar Animal Sounds
Learning to listen to sounds is also associated with animal sounds. A common sound that is used by clinicians is mooo(cow) which is a good vowel combined with the initial consonant /m/. This sound is produced with a low voice and this change in voice is interesting for children.
The repeated tongue clicking for the hoarse is also a good sound because it is another prespeech skill. Most children are fascinated with the tongue clicking, thus, it is good for stimulation. This sound also exercises the movement of the tongue. Meow has some nice vowel transition and clinician may use this to also produce inflectional variations within a two-syllable combination.
Other learning to listen sounds for animals include arfarfarf(dog), ssss(snake), quakquakquak(duck),hop-hop-hop(rabbit), oinkoink(pig), ba-a-a-a(sheep), and squeak(mouse).
There are also learning to listen to sounds that can be associated with eating, sleeping, and clock. These sounds are mmmm, shhhhhhh, and t-t-t-t-t correspondingly.
Helping a baby through their Baby development stages with speech therapy is a very important part of overcoming Speech delay.
Stammering or stuttering is probably seen as one of the most common Speech issues or speech delay problems we might face in society. Well, we’re not really sure of that, but what we are sure of is that Stammering therapy has some different techniques used for the treatment of intermediate Stuttering or stammering. Stammering therapy techniques are a mix of fluency shaping and stuttering modification techniques. Here are some of the commonly used techniques for treating intermediate stammering.
Flexible rate is slowing down the production of a word, especially the first syllable. This technique is thought to allow more time for language planning and motor execution. In here, only those syllables on which stuttering is expected are slowed, not the surrounding speech.
Flexible rate is taught by having the clinician model production of words in which the first syllable and the transition to the second syllable is said in a way that slows all of the sounds equal. Vowels, fricatives, nasals, sibilants, and glides are lengthened, and plosives and affricates are produced to sound more like fricatives, without stopping the sound of airflow.
After the clinician’s model, the child produces the word with flexible rate, and successive approximations of the target are reinforced.
Easy onsets refer to an easy or gentle onset of voicing. Teaching easy onsets is like teaching a flexible rate. The clinician models the target behaviour by the use of a lot of different sounds and then he makes the child imitate the models. After the child tries to imitate, the therapist should reinforce the child’s successive approximations.
Some children, particularly younger ones, maybe helped to get the concept by performing an action, such as bringing their hands together slowly, as they produce an easy onset.
Producing consonants with light contacts prevents the stoppage of airflow and/ or voicing that can trigger stuttering. Light contacts are taught by modelling a style of producing consonants with relaxed articulators and continuous flow of air or voice, depending on the consonant.
Plosives and affricates should be slightly distorted so that they sound like fricatives but are still intelligible. Modelling a variety of words with initial consonants and reinforcing the child’s successive approximations of the target accomplish teaching a child to use light contacts. The clinician can use a variety of games to make the concept of light contact more interesting.
Proprioception refers to sensory feedback from mechanoreceptors in muscles of the lips, jaw, and tongue. The effectiveness of teaching proprioception may be that it promotes conscious attention to sensory information from the articulators, perhaps bypassing inefficient automatic sensory monitoring systems and thereby normalizing sensory-motor control
Children can be taught to use proprioception by having a child first hold a raisin in his mouth and report on its taste, shape, size, and other attributes. Children can also learn proprioception by picking a word from a list and then closing their eyes and silently moving their articulators for this word and being rewarded when the clinician guesses the word.
Children can be coached to feel the movements of their lips, tongue, and jaw as they say a word. Proprioceptive awareness can also be enhanced by using masking noise or delayed auditory feedback to interfere with self-hearing. In this, the clinician must look for slightly exaggerated, slow movements to verify that a child is trying to feel the movement of his articulators.
It is useful with some children to “scaffold” their use of superfluity by letting the listener/s know that we are working on our speech and sometimes by coaching the child in that fluency-friendly environment. This can be exhibited for example telling a stranger in a mall that the child and the clinician are working on their speech and would like to ask him some questions, another example would be when the child makes telephone calls.
Speech delay can come in plenty of different forms to a lot of different people, but it doesn’t have to mean the end of the world. Especially Stammering or Stuttering, which can be easily managed with stammering therapy like some of the tips and methods above. If you have any Speech delay in any form make sure you see your local GP as a great place to start in finding methods and techniques that can help you greatly.
Using Toys as Materials For Speech Therapy
Believe it or not, there is a range of tools and materials, which are designed for speech therapy in the market right now. So this gives the therapist many more options when it comes to choosing the equipment that could help them help their clients. The toy is quickly becoming a favourite tool to use, and there are various reasons for the rise in their use.
The Toys and Their Functions
Usually, before the therapy starts, an evaluation of the patient’s oral motor structures is done. This is where the therapist inspects the various structures that are inside and around the patient’s mouth that are used for speech. Some of these are the lips, tongue, teeth, jaw and cheeks.
For the structures to be seen more accurately, a penlight is usually used. The only problem with it is that the patient may find it a little unpleasant to have a flashlight in his mouth. This is why there is the colourful and jelly-like oral light system, which gives the same amount of light minus the metallic appearance.
The examination of these muscles also usually requires gloves and tongue depressors; no one appreciates either of these, which can smell and taste a little horrible. Which is the reason why colourful and fruit-flavoured gloves and tongue depressors are already available.
After the oral motor examination has been performed, the therapist can and may find a weakening in one or some of the structures. Some seemingly ordinary materials and toys may aid the strengthening of these muscles. One of them is the straw, which can come in all colours and designs. As well it serves two purposes.
The first purpose is for the rounding of the lips. This activity is important for the articulation of vowels and the semi-vowel /w/. Another function is the act of sipping. In this activity, the velum, the muscle right above the throat is exercised. This muscle is used when producing vowels and back consonants like /k/ and /g/.
Another commonly used material is any toy, which has to be blown, an example would be the whistle. The whistle can be considered a difficult toy to blow. It means that among the toys that work when blown, it is one of those, which requires more effort for it to perform its function.
The whistle, like the straw, aids in the exercise of the muscles of the lips. Another structure, which it strengthens, is the cheeks. It maximizes the capacity of the cheeks to hold in air and to gradually blow it out.
Other materials that are more commonly used are picture cards and interactive books. They usually contain pictures of words, which represent all the speech sounds. When these cards are used, all the therapist has to do is to show the picture and have the child produce the word together with the speech sounds within the word.
If the patient sees the materials they have for therapy are colourful and fun toys, he will come to think that the reason he is in the clinic is to play and have fun. And having the patient thinking this, will help them to cooperate with the therapist.
Play is a universal activity that blends social, cognitive, linguistic, emotional, and motor components. If you remember playing as a child, the play serves as a representation of the thoughts and abilities of a child. Through play, the therapist will be able to know how to approach the concerns of his patient, and hopefully, help you deal with your speech delay problem.
Speech therapy comes under one of the little-noticed areas of rehabilitation medicine. Most people wouldn’t even know that something like this existed. If you’ve landed on this site, it might be the first time finding or researching a topic like this and you might not really fully understand what the practice is all about. The sad truth about Speech Therapy is that you usually don’t encounter it unless the situation calls for it. However, getting to know what it involves can be very beneficial information to have, you might even be able to help someone that needs it.
What is Speech Therapy?
As the name suggests, speech therapy deals with speech problems that an individual may have developed. However, the field of Speech Pathology doesn’t only tackle speech, but also language and other communication problems that people may already have due to birth defects, or people acquired due to accidents or other misfortunes.
Speech therapy is basically a treatment that people of all ages can undergo though, to fix their speech delay problems. Although speech therapy alone would focus on fixing speech-related problems like treating one’s vocal pitch, volume, tone, rhythm and articulation.
Goals Of Speech Therapy
Speech Therapy aims for an individual to develop or get back effective communication skills at its optimal level. Recovery mainly depends on the cause and severity of your problem, especially if your speech problem is an acquired issue, meaning you had normal speech skills before then you had an accident or abrupt incident that caused your current speech problem; so, you may or may not get back your old level of speech function.
Speech problems are mainly categorized into three separate areas: Articulation Disorders, Resonance or Voice Disorders and Fluency Disorders. Each disorder deals with different pathology and uses different techniques for therapy.
Articulation Disorders are basic problems with physical features used for articulation. These features include lips, tongue, teeth, hard and soft palate, jaws and inner cheeks. If you have an Articulation Disorder, then you may have a problem producing words or syllables correctly to the point that people you communicate to can’t understand what you are saying.
Resonance or Voice Disorders
Resonance, more popularly known as, Voice Disorders mainly deal with problems regarding phonation or the production of the raw sound itself. Most probably, you have a Voice Disorder when the sound that your larynx or voice box produces comes out to be muffled, nasal, intermittent, weak, too loud or any other characteristic not about normal.
A voice disorder is characterized by a non-typical, and unpleasant quality of voice. It can be excessively harsh, breathy, hoarse, or abnormal pitch, or loudness, given age and gender. It is always recommended that anyone with an unpleasant/non-typical sounding voice, pain in the laryngeal area (around the adam’s apple or voice box), or a suspected voice disorder seek immediate attention from a qualified physician. Usually, an Otolaryngologist (or Ear, Nose and Throat doctor) will be the professional to diagnose and recommend treatment for a vocal disorder.
The causes can be varied from vocal pathology,
incorrect use of the voice, or just cheering at a football game. Vocal misuse can lead to the development of a voice disorder, thus it is important to protect and care for your voice. Some general guidelines are as follows
Make sure your child drinks plenty of liquids daily. Water hydrates/lubricate the tissues around the vocal folds.
Your voice can tell you if you are not caring for your body, or if you are sick. Thus, it is important to follow a healthy plan of diet and exercise
Refrain from shouting, yelling excessively. Increased or prolonged loudness of speech during sporting events, concerts, loud places and/or improper tension of the laryngeal area to increase volume may contribute to poor vocal quality.
Use products that have a dehydrating effect on the body and voice in moderation (i.e. caffeine). Smoking (even second-hand smoke) and allergens can be irritating to the vocal cords/larynx as well.
For children, try to reduce making gruff noises such as car/motor sounds with the voice. This may place stress on the vocal folds.
If your child is using his/her voice in extracurricular activities such as singing, debating, or cheering, please seek professional advice for the proper way to project your voice without placing strain on the vocal folds.
Fluency Disorders are speech problems about the fluency of your speech. There are some cases that you talk too fast, in which people can’t understand you, thus, you have a Fluency Disorder of Cluttering. The most common Fluency Disorder, however, is Stuttering, which is a disorder of fluency where your speech is constantly interrupted by blocks, fillers, stoppages, repetitions or sound prolongations.
Who Gives Speech Therapy?
A highly trained professional called an SLP or a Speech and Language Pathologist gives Speech Therapy. Speech and Language Pathologists are informally more popularly known as Speech Therapists. They are professionals who have education and training with human communication development and disorders.
Speech and Language pathologists assess, diagnose and treat people with speech, communication and language disorders. However, they are not doctors but are considered to be specialists in the field of medical rehabilitation.