How can speech therapy help children with special needs who have trouble speaking and communicating?
Speech therapy can help kids who have trouble pronouncing words and sounds.
Speech therapy can also help special needs kids develop language, communication skills and pragmatic (social communication) language skills!
After my daughter, Bethany’s brain tumor surgery and stroke, we tragically discovered that she could no longer speak!
She was only two when it happened so she hadn’t been talking a lot anyway, but still, she lost all the expressive language she had developed!
It became quite obvious that Bethany was going to need speech therapy
As soon as Bethany was released from the hospital we enrolled her in early intervention and she began receiving speech therapy services.
A speech therapist came to our home two days a week and helped Bethany develop speech skills in the following ways:
- She played fun games with Bethany such as blowing whistles, bubbles, and cotton balls with a straw to help train her mouth muscles and position her tongue to produce sounds correctly and to strengthen her abdominal muscles to increase sustained speech.
- She used all sorts of toys and art supplies like play dough, paints, puzzles, books, Legos, puppets, and our play kitchen set to entice Bethany to express herself and help her develop language and communication skills.
- She got all our kids involved in Bethany’s speech therapy lessons by having them play board games, house, store, library and other imagination games and also had them make, identify and mimic facial expressions to give Bethany’s social communication or pragmatic language skills a work out!
- She taught Bethany and the rest of us some simple sign language so that she could have an alternative method of making her wants and needs known.
- She lent us a couple of low tech speech devices, specifically, the Go Talk 9 and the Cheap Talk 8 to see if Bethany would be receptive to using them. However, Bethany ultimately chose sign language as her main way of communication until she was well into her fifth year, when she began talking again!
Some common signs that your child may need speech therapy.
- Your 18 month old may need speech therapy if he or she consistently does not try to get your attention by using sounds or gestures,
Look at people when they speak to him or her, or wave hello and bye-bye.
- Your two year old may need speech therapy if he or she consistently does not use words or short phrases to get your attention, name common everyday objects in his or her environment, or engage in simple conversations.
- Your 3 year old may need speech therapy if he or she consistently does not interact with others, acknowledge when others are speaking to him or her, use language for make believe, or make requests.
- Your 5 year old may need speech therapy if he or she consistently does not use language to express his or her emotions, make indirect requests, or tell simple stories.
For more information about speech therapy, please go to American Speech Language Hearing Association
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