When To Consider Speech Therapy

It is difficult to see the first signs of a speech impediment in children because a child is still learning to speak. Understanding the signs that may require speech therapy can help you determine whether your child may need speech therapy. Adults may also need therapy as a result of injury or aging which will be covered by your medical savings account.

Children

  • If a child has not attempted to speak by the age of 1, you may consider visiting a speech therapist to help pin-point the issue. It can be an auditory, social or cognitive issue.
  • If a child does not react to loud noise that cannot be seen, for example a door slamming or a car alarm,he/she should be taken to an audiologist who will refer him/her to a speech therapist once the issue has been pin-pointed.
  • Children with hearing loss may be referred to a speech therapist to help them develop language skills.
  • If a child is between 4 and 5 and constantlyfalls over their words, stutters, repeats words multiple times and has noticeable heightened disfluency, more so than a child learning language for the first time. If this is the case more than 10% of the times they speak it can be considered heightened disfluency.

Adults

  • Speech therapy is usually recommended to stroke patients to help them learn to speak to the best of their abilities again.
  • There are 3 main speechand language impairments that can manifest after a patient has had a stroke (these can appear in varying degrees, in isolation or together) :
    • Aphasia

This is a disorder of language expression or comprehension.You know the word to use but you struggle to access the word. This occurs in varying degrees ranging from simple word finding difficulties to perceiving and producing language as “gibberish”.

  • Apraxia

The sounds in your mouth may sound lazy as if you are struggling to coordinate the movement necessary to produce the correct speech sound. This is a motor planning disorder.

  • Dysarthria

This refers to the physical impairment of the structures and/or muscles of the mouth,jaw and tongue after a brain injury or illness. The weakness in the structures associated with speech will effect the clarity with which you speak.