Speech – Language Therapy (or just speech therapy) is such a focused yet diverse field. Some of the many areas that fall under the umbrella of speech language therapy include:
- Social language or pragmatics
- Feeding and swallowing
- Dyslexia and language based learning disabilities
Speech therapy looks very different for each child and family. Sessions differ depending on the age of the child, the type and severity of their disorder, and the families needs.
At our speech therapy practice, each child has only one therapist. We believe that the relationship and repoire is critical to your child’s success.
Length and frequency of sessions vary from child to child. We take into account the child’s needs, age, family’s needs and his/her ability to attend and focus. Generally speaking, children receive speech therapy anywhere between once a month to several times a week. On average, sessions tend to be anywhere from 30-50 minutes at a time, with some exceptions. Longer sessions are not always better, as is often the case with articulation therapy.
Like everything else, the sessions themselves will vary depending on all the variables I have already discussed. Our sessions are designed to reinforce what your child has mastered from his/her previous sessions and to scaffold their skills to the next level. We often start with a review of the homework and then we move into play based (until you get unto the much older grades) activities to target your child’s goals.
At the end, new homework is reviewed with the child and/or parent. Some speech sessions will require the parent to be very involved and hands-on. This is especially true for little ones.
We often use the analogy of a ladder in that its a step by step process when teaching new skills and if you try to skip steps you might wobble and not reach the top easily. Both parents and our speech therapists are there to support the child as he/she moves up the ladder. For example, if a child is learning a new sound such as “f” we would first teach it at the syllable level, then at the initial word level, then word final, then in the middle position. From there we would move to phrases > sentences and so on.
Caregivers are always welcome in the sessions so that YOU can watch and learn and use those strategies your child is being taught in the home. For very young children caregivers SHOULD be involved in the sessions!
Each child is a given a homework folder with the expectation of work being done at home to reinforce what was learned in the therapy sessions. Home practice is key to your child’s success!
Often we are asked what I refer to as “the million dollar question”: how long will my child need speech therapy? The most honest is “I don’t know” but after working your child for about 4-6 weeks we will have much better idea as to how he/she is progressing and can have that conversation with you then. Some children breeze through speech therapy and are in and out in a matter of months and other children either take longer to master a sound or concept or will need ongoing support as they grow or as language demands increase.