Speaking is much more than just facial movement. Experts refer to speaking as “an orchestration of human communication expressing thought, intent, and emotion in a carefully choreographed performance.”
A motor coordination skill, speaking involves more than 100 muscles and an extensive network of brain regions as well as visual input and language perception and production. In simple words, speech is the verbal expression of thoughts. Further, speech acts as a window into the mind, thereby expanding one’s potential to better utilize the technologies to evaluate one’s mental health.
Considering this, speech therapy is used as an innovative technique in different mental health treatment settings to empower people suffering from different mental health problems to express themselves coherently. It is important that the voices of patients struggling with different mental health problems are heard.
Speech therapy may prove useful in situations where people struggle with:
Low sound intensity
Low speech rate
Increased monotonous speech
Speech Problems in Children
Parents these days are concerned about language and speech problems in their children. While it may not be a serious problem in most cases, an underlying mental health problem like autism may be a possibility in some cases.
A speech disorder is a problem characterized by difficulty in producing or forming certain speech sounds essential for communicating with others, which makes it difficult to understand a verbal message clearly.
Common speech disorders include:
Symptoms of Speech Disorders
Inability to use some or all speech sounds and to form words as expected from children of their age.
An example of this disorder is when the child may say “boo” for “book” or “pi” for “pig”, but easily pronounce words like “key” or “go”.
Inability to produce speech sounds clearly, like pronouncing “coo” instead of “school.”
Distorted or changed sounds like “r”, “l”, or “s”. the change in these sounds may be a result of making an “ss” sound with a whistle.
It is commonly characterized by ‘stuttering’.
Pausing during a sentence or words, often with the lips together
Blinking eye or jerking head repeatedly while talking
Embarrassment with speech
Speech disorders may also produce problems including:
Breaking of voice in or out
Hoarseness or raspiness in the voice
Lack of voice modulation resulting in it being either too loud or too soft
A sudden change in pitch of voice
Running out of air while completing a sentence
A strange oddness in voice, either due to excess air escaping through the nose (hypernasality) or scarce air coming out through the nose (hyponasality)
Treatment of Speech Disorders
Children may overcome milder to severe forms of speech problems through speech therapy, which may help the child learn to use their tongue to create certain sounds.
Children with speech problem face difficulties related to speech as well as nonverbal communication. They also struggle with social interactions. That’s where speech therapy can play a significant role. Speech therapy comprises the central part of our treatment program for autism, which helps improve communication and interaction skills in both children and adults.
Role of Speech Therapy in Speech-Related Problems
Our speech therapists at Athena specialize in treating disorders related to language and speech. The therapy may begin by involving people battling autism in the following activities:
Signing or typing
Improving speech articulation by massaging or exercising lips or facial muscles
Using pictures instead of words to improve their communication skills
Practice rhythm and flow of sentences through songs
Primary Goals of Speech Therapy
With speech therapy, our therapists focus on enabling individuals with autism to:
Acknowledge verbal and nonverbal communication
Start communication without prompting
Articulate words well
Communicate both verbally and nonverbally
Know and understand the use of different words/terms at specific times, such as greeting someone
Develop relationships through effective communications
Enjoy playing, communication and mutual interaction
Right Time to Begin Speech Therapy for Autism
In simple words, the earlier the better. Autism starts to show symptoms before the age of 3 while language problems can be noticed by the time a child is 18 months of age. Early detection and treatment increase the chances of improvement in communication, spoken and other soft skills.
For more information about our speech therapy treatment programs available for both children and adults, call our 24/7/365 helpline number 9289086193.