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
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;
voice disorders, including problems of pitch, voice quality, and
volume; (4) delayed speech, characterized by a childís slow language
(5) aphasia, the partial or total loss of the ability to speak or understand language.
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
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.
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.