Speech and communication disorders are fairly common in the United States; around 40 million Americans have some form of speech and communication disorder. These disorders can be caused by a number of factors, ranging from partial hearing loss, to cleft palates, to being literally tongue-tied. No matter the cause, the statistics show that 5% of children entering first grade will have noticeable speech disorders, which can have a severe detrimental effect if not corrected. To keep these children, and yours, on the right track, it’s recommended to put them in child speech therapy, which involves sending your child to see a pediatric speech therapist. As with any form of therapy, sessions will vary from one individual to the next, but in general this article will take a look at some of what you can expect as your child goes through speech therapy.
- There Might Be Speech Therapy Sessions at School: One thing to expect with child speech therapy is that there will likely be speech therapy sessions at your child’s school. Some schools, though not all, make provision for speech therapy sessions for young students, and arrange the schedule so that these students can attend their session without missing important classwork. You’ll have to check with your child’s school to see if they do this. If they don’t, then special pediatric speech therapy appointments will have to be arranged outside of school hours.
- It Will Take Time to Make Progress: Another thing to expect with child speech therapy is that it will take time to make significant progress. It will take a lot of patience and repetition for your child to get through the lessons to improve their communication skills, and as with many skills it just takes time for the lessons to sink in. Please don’t be discouraged if you don’t see dramatic improvement right away. With enough time and practice, improvement will come eventually.
- Electrical Stimulation Might Be Used: And finally, a third thing to expect during child speech therapy, in some cases anyway, is the use of electrical stimulation to correct communication issues. Sometimes a communication issue is caused when the muscles in and around the jaw fail to operate properly. If this is the case, low-level electrical stimulation might be used to stimulate these muscles into working properly. This would be an extremely low voltage that wouldn’t create more than a minor tingle, and it wouldn’t harm your child in any way. This also wouldn’t be used in all cases, since it’s mainly used to aid weakened muscles.
In conclusion, there are several things you can expect when your child goes through speech therapy. These include the possibility of your child attending speech therapy sessions during the day at school, the fact that it will take time to make progress, and the possibility of electrical stimulation being used to strengthen jaw muscles, and by extension help with speaking. These are just a few of the things that you can expect during this lengthy process.