Speech-language therapy involves the study, diagnosis and treatment of disorders that relate to speech, language, swallowing, fluency, voice, and communication, particularly aspects of language that is heard and read, said and written.
A speech-language therapist is trained to help people who struggle with communication disorders because of developmental delays, strokes, brain injuries, learning disabilities, cognitive impairment, cerebral palsy, hearing loss, autism and other problems that can affect communication. People who experience problems with stuttering, speaking clearly, swallowing, and other tasks that make communicating challenging can make use of the services of a speech-language therapist in order to overcome such obstacles.
By using standardized tests and assessment tools, a speech-language therapist can diagnose the specific communication difficulties of each person. After diagnosing the problem, the speech-language therapist devises a treatment plan that suits the needs of each specific person that needs assistance.
Early intervention is the best bet for children with early language delay and disorder.
There are some early warning signs or ‘red flags’ that speech therapists try to look for when evaluating a very young child:
- Poor eye contact
- Poor imitation skills
- Disinterest in paired games like “peek-a-boo”
- Disinterest in people and the environment
- Not responding to sound
- Short attention span
- Difficulty with eating various foods
- Aggressive behaviours / tantrums
Inappropriate play behaviours (i.e. inability to complete a puzzle, not placing action on objects, disinterest in age appropriate toys)