Happy Better Hearing and Speech Month!
May is typically a busy month with graduations, end-of-year ceremonies, awards—you name it! I think that’s why May is also Better Hearing and Speech Month. We, as Speech-Language Pathologists, are always busy, preparing for your child to make sure that they progress. So, this month suits us perfectly!
How a Speech-Language Pathologist Can Help People of All Ages
I just wanted to take some time to let you know a little bit about what we do. When people think of speech therapy, they usually think of someone who is working on articulation; in other words, pronouncing sounds correctly.
But we do so much more!
Speech-Language Pathologists can work with people of all ages, from infants to geriatrics. Infants may need help with swallowing after birth due to complications or other medical issues; adults may need help with swallowing following trauma such as a stroke. Some children also need help with feeding because they are “picky eaters” and their diet is so limited that it affects overall nutrition.
As children grow, parents may notice that their child is not talking as much as other children their age, or that their speech doesn’t sound very clear. Speech therapy can address vocabulary development to help children combine words to make phrases and sentences.
Speech-Language Pathologists can work on language skills that are essential to reading and writing, including improving phonological awareness (recognizing sounds in words), phonemic awareness (the ability to manipulate sounds within words), and comprehension skills.
We can also help children and adults who stutter by teaching them about stuttering, including techniques to cope with it as well as strategies to increase the fluency of their speech. We know how to teach people to use their voice again, whether it’s due to trauma or vocal abuse.
Speech-Language Pathologists can also teach people who aren’t able to talk to use a communication device so that they have the ability to communicate as well. We also address social skills for children who didn’t learn rules of communication as expected. We address cognition and know how to work with those who suffer from dementia or decreased cognition following a stroke. We can help people increase language, memory, and speech following a stroke or other brain trauma.
So, as you can see, Speech-Language Pathologists work with people throughout their lifespan, providing services every step of the way. Because there are so many areas that we can address, we put in lots of time preparing for our patients to make sure that they get what they need. We think about our patients at all times, even when we aren’t working together, and we’re always thinking about what we can do next. Even now, as we practice social distancing, our profession has learned to adapt by providing services via telehealth.
Building Connections in May at Villa Children's Therapy
Our theme for this month is “Building Connections,” by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. Communication is so important. It gives us a way to connect to those around us, to express how we feel, what we need, and what we think. Perhaps that’s why we develop such strong bonds with those we treat; we hear them and want to help others hear to them, and really listen to them, as well!
I love what I do, and am so proud to know that I can contribute to a person’s ability to communicate. Thank you for giving us the opportunity to work with your child! Stay safe and healthy during this time.