Speech and Language Articulation Therapy
Speech and language articulation is the process of forming words using the following parts of the face: jaw and mouth (specifically the tongue, lips, and teeth). Certain individuals have difficulty saying words—some severe enough to require the assistance of a speech therapist.
Speech Therapy for Articulation Disorders
Articulation disorders refer to the inability to produce the correct sound to communicate. There are three types:
· Omission – omits the pronunciation of syllables
· Substitution –not pronouncing a syllable, replacing it with a different sound
· Distortion – pronunciation of a word is changed, but still resembles the sound of the word
There are some noted physical causes such as a cleft palate or abnormal facial tone as a result of suffering from a stroke. In most cases, there is no apparent cause.
There are cases when articulation disorders go undetected because they are thought to be baby talk. Adults think it’s cute, so they don’t think much of it. They expect the child to outgrow the baby talk stage. Unbeknownst to them, the child may already have an articulation disorder. Speech and language development is usually assessed when children apply for preschool. Some cases are referred to as a speech and language pathologist (SLP) for further assistance.
Qualification of a Speech and Language Pathologist (SLP)
SLPs diagnose and treat clients with articulation disorders. To be able to do this, they must meet the following minimum requirements: an undergraduate degree in communication and a graduate degree in speech pathology. There are other certifications that they can take to specialize.
Process of Diagnosis
When diagnosing a child who is suspected of having an articulation disorder, they usually use the following methods and conduct specific tests:
· Oral cavity inspection
· Producing sounds and pronouncing words
· Hearing and feedback test
· Medical history
What Therapy Sessions Look Like
During therapy sessions, patients are grouped based on the type of articulation concerns and the severity. It starts with small talk and self-introductions to break the ice and help the clients warm up their facial muscles. The session will then proceed to games and activities to address specific articulation disorders. The therapist may use props like flashcards and mirrors. These sessions are usually conducted in groups to encourage the clients to communicate with others and put their learnings into practice.
Speech Therapy Example
Articulation disorder: Substitution
Activity: practice the “th” sound
1. Clients will gather in a small group
2. Each one will introduce themselves
3. The therapist will display a flashcard that says “thin.” Each one in the group will say the word
4. The therapist will provide a mirror for each participant. The therapist will give the instruction: bite your tongue and blow air through your mouth. Participants will be instructed to look at the mirror as they do this and attempt to make the “th” sound
5. The group will practice saying other words with the “th” sound
Final Thoughts Speech therapy is highly recommended for those who have articulation disorders. This is to help clients improve their ability to communicate with other people. When looking for a therapist, look for one who is qualified and has had a lot of experience conducting therapy. Do keep in mind that therapy sessions may vary depending on the therapist and the concerns of the client.