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Speech Therapy

What is Speech Therapy?


Speech Therapy is the treatment of speech defects and disorders, especially through use of exercises and audio-visual aids that develop new speech habits.

Experts in the profession of speech therapy work with children and adults whose speech interferes with communication, calls attention to itself, and frustrates both speaker and listener. These specialists, called speech therapists, evaluate and correct defective speech and teach new speech skills. The field of speech therapy is often called speech pathology, and speech therapists are sometimes known as speech-language pathologists or speech clinicians.

Types & causes of Speech Defects.


Speech therapists divide speech defects into five main types:
(1) articulation problems, such as the inability to produce certain sounds;
(2) stammering, cluttering (rapid, slurred speech), and other fluency problems;
(3) voice disorders, including problems of pitch, voice quality, and volume; (4) delayed speech, characterized by a childís slow language development; and
(5) aphasia, the partial or total loss of the ability to speak or understand language.

Some speech defects result from a physical condition, such as brain damage, cleft palate, a disease of the larynx, or partial or complete deafness. Other speech defects may be caused by a personís environment. For example, a child who receives little encouragement to talk at home may not develop normal speech skills. Severe emotional problems, such as pressure to succeed or a lack of love, can also lead to speech difficulties.

Diagnosis.

In many schools, speech therapists test students regularly for speech disorders. If students have a speech problem, they receive therapy at the school, or they go to a speech clinic for treatment. Many doctors, psychologists, and teachers refer people with speech defects to such clinics.

Speech therapists diagnose their patientsí speech problems and try to learn their causes. They take detailed case histories and give their patients special speech and hearing tests. A patient may need medical or psychological treatment in addition to speech therapy.

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