Speech Therapy assessment process
Our speech and language therapists will first conduct an assessment covering all areas of your child’s speech, language and communication skills.
Assessments may be both formal and informal depending on each child's needs and abilities.
In certain cases, informal assessments are sufficient for our therapists to develop an intervention plan. There are times when our therapists may conduct formal assessments using standardised tests. These help determine the severity of speech or language problems, and allows our speech therapists to make an accurate diagnosis and intervention plan.
How does speech and language therapy work?
Our speech therapists work closely with your child to help them improve their speech and language skills. At the beginning of therapy, our therapists will identify specific goals and interventions tailored according to your child’s age and speech and language needs.
Therapy sessions are conducted individually, and your child will come in regularly to work towards specific goals. During sessions, therapists may stimulate language development using pictures, books or language-based activities.
Articulation therapy may also be utilised to help children verbalise certain sounds. The therapist models correct sounds and syllables for them, and demonstrates how to use the tongue to create particular sounds.
Parents play an important role in supporting the child’s development and learning. Our speech and language therapist works closely with parents through a joint process. The therapist will provide strategies and exercises to practice at home, as parents work with the child to further develop their abilities. These help reinforce what your child learns during therapy sessions.
How beneficial is speech therapy?
Speech therapy can be extremely effective in treating a broad range of speech and language problems. Children with speech and language difficulties benefit emotionally, academically and socially from speech therapy. They become more confident in communicating with others, enabling them to better succeed in life.
Speech therapy is most beneficial if administered at an early age and reinforced at home by parents. This is critical as there are certain windows of opportunity for the development of language skills. During particular periods in a child’s life, the brain is more active in forming connections for certain abilities - one of them being language skills.
The window of opportunity for language development happens between birth and 6 years of age. This is the most sensitive age for acquiring skills such as distinguishing between the sounds of different languages and for grasping syntax or grammar. As such, parents should seek early intervention through speech therapy and address their child's speech and language problems.
Types of speech and language difficulties
A language delay is a type of communication disorder that occurs when a child experiences difficulties expressing themselves or understanding others.
The age of learning language and starting to speak varies from one child to the another. Some children’s language abilities develop at a slower rate than others. For example, they may have trouble learning words and stringing them together to make sentences.
Language delays come in two forms: receptive and expressive. A receptive language delay means that a child has difficulties understanding words or sentences. In an expressive language delay, difficulties are usually associated with verbal communication.
If your child’s language delay continues into their schooling years, this could indicate a developmental language disorder (DLD).
Such children usually have prolonged difficulties understanding and using language. This may have a significant impact on their academic performance, social interactions and even future job prospects. Their difficulties in communication many also manifest as behavioural problems or poor social skills.
However, with appropriate intervention and support, children with language disorders can improve their language skills and communicate more confidently with others.
Children with speech sound disorders typically have trouble pronouncing the sounds in words.
In contrast to language delays, such children may have good language skills and can comprehend and form sentences well. However, their inability to articulate words results in unclear speech. They may leave certain sounds out, add sounds, change a sound or substitute one sound for another. For instance, saying “wadio” instead of “radio”, or “coo” instead of “school”.
Stuttering is a speech disorder characterised by problems with fluency and the flow of speech. Children who stutter tend to repeat or prolong words, syllables and consonant or vowel sounds. They may struggle to get words out and experience interruptions in speech (known as blocks).
Children who stutter often know what they want to say, but cannot execute a normal flow of speech.
Consequently, stuttering may stir up feelings of anxiety whenever a child wishes to speak. This can adversely affect their interpersonal relationships and quality of life.
Social communication is the use of language in social contexts such as the ability to vary one’s speech style, take the perspective of others, understand and appropriately use the rules for verbal and nonverbal communication, and use the structural aspects of language (e.g., vocabulary, syntax, and phonology).
For example, they have trouble following communication rules like taking turns to speak, greeting others and providing background information for conversations. They are also unable to understand information that isn’t explicitly stated, such as sarcasm and metaphors.
As such, children with such disorders encounter difficulties connecting with peers, as well as challenges in school and occupational settings.