What does speech therapy mean? Does a speech therapist only help with a person’s speech? How would I know if my child needs speech therapy?
At Therapeutic Potentials, Inc., we get questions like these a lot from members of our Sarasota, Bradenton, and Lakewood Ranch communities. And because speech therapy offers such a diverse range of benefits for adults and kids, we feel strongly about helping people understand what speech therapy really means and how it can have such a positive impact on a person’s life. Read on.
What Does Speech Therapy Mean?
When people hear about speech therapy, they most likely think of it as a branch of health care that helps individuals living with conditions that affect their speech and language skills. While this is absolutely true, what many people don’t realize is that speech therapy can offer individuals and their loved ones so much more!
According to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA), speech therapy aims to “prevent, assess, diagnose, and treat speech, language, social communication, cognitive-communication, and swallowing disorders in children and adults.” People who provide speech therapy are known as speech-language pathologists (SLPs), or simply speech therapists.
If your loved one has been referred to speech therapy by a health care provider or educator, it could be because your loved one needs help with things like:
- Expressing themselves and communicating, interacting, and playing with others using verbal and non-verbal language
- Speaking and making sounds clearly
- Improving their ability to hear sounds using their ears or make sense of (process) sounds using their brains
- Nourishing and feeding themselves safely
- Developing their “executive functioning skills,” which includes things like regulating their emotions, making decisions, solving problems, paying attention, and remembering things
To us, speech therapy means helping people nourish themselves—through safe swallowing and feeding, effective communication, and improved learning and self-care skills—and helping people nourish others by improving their interpersonal interactions!
Who Can Benefit From Speech Therapy
Speech therapy is an excellent resource for kids and adults living with health conditions that affect parts of their bodies and brains involved in speaking, swallowing, and communicating. This may include conditions that people are born with and conditions that people acquire later in life due to factors like accidents or illnesses.
Conditions that people are born with that often benefit from speech therapy include:
- Autism spectrum disorder
- Sensory-processing disorder
- Hearing impairments
- Cleft lip and palate
- Stuttering and other speech impediments
- Down syndrome and other congenital conditions
Acquired health conditions that may benefit from speech therapy intervention include:
- Traumatic brain injury
- Anoxic brain injury
- Spinal cord injury
- Facial burns, wounds, and other injuries
- Alzheimer’s dementia
Looking For Speech Therapy for Kids Near Sarasota, FL?
No matter how old your loved one is, our speech therapy providers would be proud to help them achieve meaningful improvements in their speech, language, and feeding skills. To connect with a speech therapist near Sarasota, Bradenton, or Lakewood Ranch, FL, call TPI now at 941-758-3140 or fill out our contact form.