What is Speech and Language Therapy?

Speech-language therapy is the treatment for most children with speech and/or language disorders. A speech disorder refers to a problem with the actual production of sounds, whereas a language disorder refers to a difficulty understanding or putting words together to communicate ideas.

Speech and Language Therapy appointments can be arranged in our Dundalk or Dublin location based on your child’s needs
Speech Disorders:

  • Articulation disorders include difficulties producing sounds in syllables or saying words incorrectly to the point that other people can’t understand what’s being said.
  • Fluency disorders include problems such as stammering, the condition in which the flow of speech is interrupted by abnormal stoppages, repetitions (st-st-stuttering), or prolonging sounds and syllables (ssssstuttering).
  • Resonance or voice disorders include problems with the pitch, volume, or quality of the voice that distract listeners from what’s being said. These types of disorders may also cause pain or discomfort for the child when speaking.
  • Dysphagia/oral feeding disorders, including difficulties with eating and swallowing.

Language Disorders:

  • Receptive disorders refer to difficulties understand and processing spoken, and sometimes written, language. People with receptive language disorders often have difficulty with speech and organizing their thoughts, which creates problems in communicating verbally with others and in organizing their thoughts on paper.
  • Expressive disorders include difficulty putting words together, limited vocabulary, or inability to use language in a socially appropriate way. It affects communication of thoughts using spoken and sometimes basic written language and expressive written language.

Social Language Use (Pragmatics): Pragmatics involve three major communication skills:

  • Using language for different purposes, such as:
    • – greeting (e.g., hello, goodbye)
    • – informing (e.g., I’m going to get a cookie)
    • – demanding (e.g., Give me a cookie)
    • – promising (e.g., I’m going to get you a cookie)
    • – requesting (e.g.,I would like a cookie, please)
  • Changing language according to the needs of a listener or situation, such as
    • – talking differently to a baby than to an adult
    • – giving background information to an unfamiliar listener
    • – speaking differently in a classroom than on a playground
  • Following rules for conversations and storytelling, such as:
    • – taking turns in conversation
    • – introducing topics of conversation
    • – staying on topic
    • – rephrasing when misunderstood
    • – how to use verbal and nonverbal signals
    • – how close to stand to someone when speaking
    • – how to use facial expressions and eye contact

An individual with pragmatic problems may:

    • – say inappropriate or unrelated things during conversations
    • – tell stories in a disorganized way
    • – have little variety in language use

When Is Therapy Needed?
Children might need speech-language therapy for a variety of reasons, including:

    • – hearing impairments
    • – cognitive (intellectual; thinking) or other developmental delays
    • – weak oral muscles
    • – birth defects such as cleft lip or cleft palate
    • – autism
    • – motor planning problems
    • – respiratory problems (breathing disorders)
    • – swallowing disorders
    • – traumatic brain injury