WHAT IS SPEECH-LANGUAGE THERAPY?

Speech-language therapy involves the study, diagnosis, and treatment of disorders that relate to speech, language, swallowing, fluency, voice, and communication, particularly aspects of language that is heard and read, said and written. A speech-language therapist is trained to help people who struggle with speech disorders because of developmental delays, stroke, brain injuries, learning disabilities, cognitive impairment, cerebral palsy, hearing loss, autism and other problems that can affect speech. People who experience problems with stuttering, speaking clearly, swallowing, and other tasks that make speech challenging can receive the services of a speech-language therapist in order to overcome such obstacles. By using standardized tests and assessment tools, the speech-language therapist has the ability to diagnose specific difficulties of each person. After diagnosing the problem, the speech-language therapist devises a treatment plan that suits the needs of each specific person that needs assistance.

ADULT NEUROLOGICAL COMMUNICATION DIFFICULTIES

Any individual encountering problems with their communication, language and swallowing may benefit from speech and language therapy. The neuro department at Reconnect Lifestyle Speech and Hearing Solutions diagnose and treat a variety of disorders resulting from brain injury, cardiovascular accidents (strokes) or other degenerative neurological conditions.

Therapy usually entails individual training, and education to help an individual overcome or compensate for any of their difficulties. This therapy may take place in the acute phase of care, immediately post injury/condition, as well as during later rehabilitation stages where residual fall outs resulting from the injury/condition may be addressed. Family support is also part of the process right from the first meeting.

SPEECH AND LANGUAGE THERAPY

The Speech Therapist will develop an individualized program for your child. Early intervention is the best bet for children with early language delay and disorder.

EARLY WARNING SIGNS

There are some early warning signs or ‘red flags’ that Speech Therapists try to look for when evaluating a very young child:

  • Poor eye contact
  • Poor imitation skills
  • Disinterest in paired games like “peek-a-boo”
  • Disinterest in people and the environment
  • Not responding to sound
  • Short attention span
  • Difficulty with eating various foods
  • Aggressive behaviors / tantrums
  • Inappropriate play behaviors’ (i.e. inability to complete a puzzle, not placing action on objects, disinterest in age appropriate toys).

SPEECH AND LANGUAGE THERAPY LOCATIONS

Our Speech Therapists currently provide speech therapy at our Umhlanga, Musgrave and Hillcrest practices as well as at leading KZN schools such as Clifton Prep, DPHS, Durban Girls College and Maris Stella.

QUICK CHECKLIST

WHEN SHOULD A PARENT REFER A CHILD TO SPEECH THERAPY?

  • Does not cry when hungry or uncomfortable
  • Does not make comfort sounds or sucking sounds
  • Cry does not vary in pitch, length and volume to indicate different needs
  • Difficulty establishing/maintaining a rhythmical suck/swallow pattern
  • Significant loss of breast milk/formula out of side of mouth during feeding
  • Does not look toward sounds or own name
  • Is not babbling double consonants (bababa…)
  • Difficulty with textures in foods (gagging, chocking, etc.)
  • Is unable to participate in conversations with adults using babbling noises
  • Does not say “mama” or “dada” nonspecifically
  • Does not use different inflections to produce exclamations
  • Is not attempting to sing songs
  • Cannot use 10-15 words spontaneously
  • Is not using vocalization in conjunction with gestures
  • Does not use language to communicate needs
  • Is not repeating sounds or words or imitating environmental sounds
  • Is not jabbering tunefully during play
  • Continues to demonstrate eating problems (swallowing issues, choking, etc.)
  • Vocalizes separately from body movements (sound is not a response to body movement)
  • Inability to establish or maintain face to face communication during feeding
  • Does not vocalize in response to sound stimulation
  • Has not begun to laugh by 5 months in response to play
  • Difficulty with feedings such as above
  • Is unable to successfully eat early finger foods or munch/bite on foods
  • Cannot babble single consonants such as “ba” or “da”
  • Does not respond to words/language appropriately
  • Does not experiment with language when playing independently
  • Does not participate in conversations by responding with vocalizations
  • Is not using jargon with good inflection
  • Cannot label 2-4 pictures while looking at a book
  • Is not putting 2-4 words together to form short sentences or communicate needs
  • Does not understand nouns, verbs and modifiers and their uses
  • Is not using intelligible words to communicate needs
  • Cannot imitate 2-4 word phrases
  • Does not relay experiences using jargon, words and/or gestur
  • Does not babble during play or in response to stimulation (may suggest a hearing problem)
  • Does not use voice to vocalize attitudes other than crying
  • Does not respond to sound stimulation (indicative of hearing problem)
  • Difficulty with swallowing early solids or other feeding issues
  • Does not use inflection (changes in voice) during vocalization
  • Is not experimenting with language during play
  • Is not using 1-3 words spontaneously while repeating additional words
  • Does not vocalize or gesture to communicate needs
  • Is not using “no” emphatically and meaningfully
  • Is not using exclamatory expressions such as “Oh-oh”, “No-no”, “Ta-da”, etc.
  • Cannot sing phrases of songs
  • Is not using three word sentences
  • Is not using a wide range of consonant and vowel sounds
  • Does not use past tense words (“He runned”)
  • Is not expressing frustration at not being understood
  • Does not use up to or more than 50 expressive words
  • Is not imitating phrases or experimenting with new words
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