What is Speech Therapy?
Speech Therapy is a form of treatment for a range of speech and language based disorders. Speech therapists work to treat both speech, language, and other communication challenges. Speech disorders involve difficulty with a person's ability to produce sounds fluently and correctly (i.e., difficulty with articulation of certain letters). Language disorders involve a person struggling with understanding language (receptive) as well as sharing language (expressive). Speech therapy may also involve skills related to social communication, both verbal and non-verbal.
How Does Speech Happen?
When we talk, sound comes out of our mouths as vibrations and goes into the child's ear until it reached the chochlea. The cochlea is filled with nerve endings and fluid. The vibrations wiggle the fluid and the fluid wiggles the nerve endings. The sound is now no longer mechanical vibration .... it is now electrical. This electrical impulse is then taken up the auditory nerve to Auditory Processing to analyze sound. Auditory Processing sends a message to Motor Planning. The motor plan is then sent down nerves to the mouth where the muscles of the mouth hopefully have the strength and coordination to implement the motor plan.
What Does a Speech Therapist Do?
In the Speech Therapist's mind, there are stations along this circuit where breakdowns can occur that explain why a child is having difficulty with speech and/or language. Our Speech Therapists analyze each of these stations to look for problems and weaknesses that can be solved and strengthened. It should be clear that hearing speech and being able to reproduce it is a complex combination of processes that all take time. It's a miracle we take for granted until someone we care about has difficulty.