What is Speech and Language Therapy?
Speech and language therapy (SLT) is concerned with the management of disorders of speech, language and communication and swallowing in children and adults.
SLT is science of treatment which can help the person (adult/children) with communication & swallowing difficulty.
Speech and language therapists (SLTs) are allied health professionals. They work closely with parents, care givers and other professionals, such as occupational therapists, physiotherapist, doctors, nurses, teachers and others.
People may need Speech and Language Therapy:
- Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)
- Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
- Down syndrome
- Cerebral Palsy
- Hearing impairment
- Cleft lip and palate
- Learning disability
- Intellectual disability
These conditions may associate with:
- Speech delay
- Speech disorder
- Language delay
- Language disorder
- Specific difficulties in producing Sounds
- Voice disorders
- Selective mutism
- Mild, moderate or severe learning difficulties
- Articulation disorder
- Phonological disorder
- Swallowing/eating disorder
Communication or eating and swallowing problems following neurological impairments and degenerative conditions including:
- Head injury
- Parkinson’s disease
- Head, neck or throat cancer (Tracheostomy/Laryngectomy)
- Voice Disorder
- Physical disabilities e.g. Short Soft palate
- Hearing impairment
- Swallowing disorder
These conditions may associate with:
- Language Disorder
- Aphasia- Inability to speak
- Anomia- Naming difficulty
- Dysarthria- Slurred speech
- Learning difficulties
Working field of Speech and Language Therapists:
Speech and language therapists work closely with
- Children and
Who have various levels of speech, language and communication problems and swallowing difficulties?
Speech and Language Therapist works in a variety of settings, these include:
- Hospitals (both inpatients and outpatients)
- Community health centers
- Mainstream and special schools
- Assessment units and day care centers
- Clients homes
- Mother & child care center
- National or international NGO
- Rehabilitation center
- Private practice
Speech and Language Therapists usually work as a part of a multi-disciplinary team with other health professionals such as:
- Occupational therapist
- Health worker
The role of Speech and Language Therapists:
- Identification of children’s developmental speech and communication difficulties/disorders
- Assessment, diagnosis and intervention of swallowing and communication difficulties arising from a variety of causes, e.g. congenital problems (such as cleft palate) or acquired disorders after a stroke or injury
- Implementing and revising relevant treatment programmers
- Advising careers on implementing treatment programmers and training other professionals in therapy delivery
- Assessing communication environments
- Monitoring and evaluating client’s progress
- Working with clients on a one-to-one basis, and in groups to deliver therapy
- Writing and maintaining confidentiality of client case notes and reports, as well as information for clients, carers and other professionals
- Managing a caseload taking account of priority cases, waiting lists, successful outcomes, referral and discharge of service users
- Working with others (e.g. occupational therapist, physiotherapist etc.) to improve the effectiveness of service delivery
How does Speech and Language Therapist give services?
Speech and language therapist provides a wide range of services, mainly on an individual basis, but also as support for individual’s families, support groups, and providing information for the general public.
Speech services begin with initial screening for communication and swallowing disorders and continue with assessment and diagnosis, consultation for the provision of advice regarding management, intervention and treatment, and provision counseling and other follow up services for these disorders.
What services does Speech and Language Therapist provide?
Speech/Language therapy services include:
- Preverbal Skills: In preverbal skills speech and language therapists work in development of eye contact, attention, requesting, choice making, vocalization etc.
- Cognitive aspects of communication (e.g., attention, memory, problem solving).
- Phonation – the process of sound production
- Resonance – Air escape through nose while speaking it can be excess or insufficient
- Intonation – the variation of pitch
- Voice – including aeromechanical components of respiration
In articulation therapy speech and language therapist help individuals to produce clear, intelligible speech by eliminating sound errors in words, phrases, sentences.
- Phonology – the manipulation of sound according to the rules of the language
- Morphology – the understanding and use of the minimal units of meaning
- Syntax – the grammar or principles and rules for constructing sentences in language
- Semantics – the interpretation of meaning from the signs or symbols of communication
- Pragmatics – the social aspects of communication
Voice Therapy: In voice therapy speech and language therapist helps clients gain appropriate vocal hygiene and habits. Speech and language therapist teaches clients to use their natural voice as well as various strategies to improve and preserve their vocal quality.
Fluency Therapy: In fluency therapy speech and language therapist helps clients to express their ideas more fluently and with less tension.
AAC: AAC stands for Alternative and Augmentative Communication. It may be a picture board, book, a device etc. Speech and language therapist helps the client learn communication through AAC.
Eating/Drinking Therapy: For swallowing problem speech and language therapist uses exercises for the lips, tongue, jaw etc. S/he lets the patient try food with different tastes and fluid consistencies and provides advice on compensatory strategies (e.g. seating position, posture, modifying texture, changing feeding technique).
Sensory awareness: Sensory awareness is related to communication, swallowing, or other upper aero-digestive functions.