Is Heartspring’s Speech-Language Therapy Right for Your Child?
Have you noticed your child having trouble communicating or understanding language but aren’t sure why? Speech therapy may be the answer.
Communication is an important part of our lives and for many, speech and language development occur naturally. However, for some children, development may require a little extra support. At Heartspring, we are here to support children by improving their ability to communicate and interact with others successfully.
There can be many factors that can play a role in determining if speech therapy is right for a child. Age, being shy or introverted, or the child’s environment are just a few elements that can influence how a child develops language skills. Because children are different and unique, they will not all develop at the same pace. With their many years of experience, Heartspring’s professionals can help determine if speech therapy might be beneficial for your child.
Here are 5 things to watch for if you think your child may need speech therapy.
1. Difficulty Pronouncing Words Clearly
One of the most common signs that someone may benefit from speech therapy is difficulty pronouncing words clearly. This could involve substituting one sound for another, like saying “wabbit” instead of “rabbit,” omitting certain sounds like saying “bu” instead of “but,” or struggling to say specific consonants or vowels like saying “fing” instead of “thing.” Heartspring Speech Therapists help children with these common issues every day, improving and boosting confidence.
2. Limited Vocabulary
A child that has a limited vocabulary could be a sign that speech therapy is needed. Speech therapy can help children expand their vocabulary, use appropriate language, and convey their thoughts and feelings more clearly. Through assessment, vocabulary building, and improved language and grammar skills, children learn how to express themselves and improve their social skills. Heartspring therapists help children improve in these areas with exercises that help introduce new words, concepts, and appropriate grammar and sentence structure through the use of engaging, age-appropriate materials and activities.
3. Difficulty Understanding Spoken Language
The ability to understand spoken language is crucial. If someone has difficulty following instructions, comprehending conversations, or responding to questions, speech therapy can help. Our Speech therapists use various techniques to help enhance comprehension and listening skills. One technique is Auditory Processing Training. This utilizes different exercises and activities to help improve a child’s ability to understand information. These exercises can include recognizing different sounds, following audible directions, and identifying spoken words and directions. Another technique used to improve the understanding of language is the use of Visual and Communication Aids. To help reinforce spoken words, Heartspring therapists use visual cues such as pictures or diagrams. This helps children connect words to their meanings which helps in their ability to understand what is being said or referred to.
4. Stuttering Issues
Stuttering disorders can significantly impact a child’s ability to communicate effectively. These issues may manifest as repeating words, sounds, or phrases, stretching words, getting stuck while talking, or not being able to finish sentences. Heartspring speech therapy can provide strategies to help children have fewer disruptions while speaking. Stuttering Modification Therapy focuses on helping children manage and reduce the frequency of stuttering. Our therapists teach children to pause after stuttering, try to determine what went wrong, and then try to say the word again without a disruption. They have children practice moving from a word they may stumble with to trying a more controlled version of the word. Our therapists also help children anticipate words they know they have trouble with which can help them focus on saying the word in a smoother way. Other techniques include breathing exercises to help keep the child calm and reduce tension, controlling how fast a child talks which can help keep the focus on reducing stuttering, and supportive counseling that can help manage the emotions and embarrassment that some children feel when they stutter.
5. Social Communication Challenges
Effective communication involves understanding social cues, taking turns in conversation, and maintaining eye contact. For children who struggle with this, speech therapy can help. Heartspring speech therapists work with children to improve social skills and behaviors. Social Skills Training helps teach children how to initiate and maintain eye contact during conversations, take turns speaking, and have an interest in what is being said. Our therapists practice these skills with our children through role-playing exercises and real-life conversations. Social Storytelling uses stories to create examples of how to communicate and act in different social situations. This technique helps children model appropriate speech and behavior based on the setting they are in. Social Interaction Groups use group therapy to help children learn and practice real-world social and communication skills while still in a supportive and structured setting. This strategy provides the best of both worlds and allows them to interact with their peers in a more productive way.
Early intervention with Heartspring is key in addressing speech and language challenges. Getting started early can increase positive results, prevent issues at school and at home, improve communication skills, prevent emotional issues, and improve confidence.
If you are interested in speech therapy, please contact us at 316-634-8710. We accept Blue Cross and Blue Shield as well as most commercial insurance. Financial assistance is available to those who qualify.