It’s called “speech therapy,” but actually it’s so much more. Of course speech therapy addresses delays in communication, disfluencies, difficulties forming words or putting thoughts into words, but it also addresses feeding difficulties, poor social skills and so much more.
Signs a Child Needs Speech Therapy
While these signs will vary by age, here are some indicators that young children may benefit from speech therapy.
- Babies do not babble and seem rather silent.
- They have difficulty breastfeeding.
- By 12 months, they don’t express themselves through appropriate gestures.
- By 12 months, they can’t understand simple sentences.
- They don’t learn as many new words as other children their age.
- The child is not well understood by other children or adults.
- Disfluent speech
- As they get older, they don’t produce age appropriate sounds or letters.
- There is a cleft palate or other structural problem.
- The child will only eat foods of certain textures.
- They have difficulty swallowing.
- There is an intellectual disability or hearing impairment.
If you see these signs, we recommend that you complete our Developmental Checklist so you can see where your child is. We provide pediatric speech therapy evaluations so parents understand how pediatric speech therapy can help their child.
How Does Pediatric Speech Therapy Address These Problems?
The first rule is make it fun and engaging! We interact constantly with your child by using books, toys, clay, sand, food and games. We always want to make speech therapy an activity your child looks forward to.
The techniques used could include repetition of words or sounds related to your child’s play or games. The therapist will demonstrate how to create certain sounds the child has difficulty with and play with toys that feature those sounds. We focus on new vocabulary during game time and exercises to build facial and oral motor structures.
A poor awareness of the different sounds in words can be improved by carefully identifying the sounds that make up each word or reading rhyming material. Also, it’s always fun to act out the events in a story.
The therapist may give your child a single or multi-step instruction depending on their age. This is accompanied with praise for completion.
Difficulties with feeding are addressed by using exercises to strengthen oral motor structures, changing food textures or the thickness of liquids. Your therapist will work with you to show you how to incorporate these exercises in your home as well.
Benefits of Speech Therapy
Speech therapy helps your child communicate clearly with you and understand your communication. It improves their ability to express their feelings and, as they get older, use communication to resolve problems in an independent manner. For the child to be successful and independent, they also need to be able to feed themselves and eat a variety of nutritious foods.
These are key abilities your child needs to reduce frustrations and make home life enjoyable for every member of the household. They’re also essential for success in school. Our therapists are expertly trained in addressing these points and are ready to help your child improve.
We Invite You to Contact Us
If you are searching for a pediatric speech therapy clinic near you, you have found a wonderful resource in Building Futures Pediatric Therapy. When you visit our pediatric speech therapy clinics in Ruston/Monroe, you’ll meet the most caring and professional staff in the area. We invite you to call us for an appointment so we can look at ways we can benefit your child and your family. Please call us to schedule a consultation:
To begin helping your child at home, fill out our free Developmental Checklist. We’ll email you with recommendations right away!