Speech is an important part of a speech and language therapy assessment.
Parents often ask me to explain what we mean by speech. It is the way we say our sounds. Children learn their sounds over a number of years. Children become clear speakers over time. However, some children need help with some of their sounds.
For example, a three year old may say “wed” for ‘red’ and that is fine. A ten year old saying this may be teased and may benefit from some therapy.
I assess a child’s speech to see if it developing along normal lines or if they have a specific difficulty learning some sounds.
The test is a simple one. The child is asked to name different pictures. I like parents to sit in on the assessment and I can let them know how their child has got on. Speech therapy helps children with speech difficulties. I use play, pictures, toys, games, colouring and rewards.!
Some sounds like ‘buh’ are made with the lips. Some like ‘tuh’ are made in the middle of the mouth and are harder to see. Some like ‘kuh’ are made at the back of the mouth. Some like ‘m’ involve the nose. There are noisy and quiet speech sounds. Can you say ‘ice cream’ without moving your lips? Can you say ‘scarecrow’ without moving your tongue? Can you say ‘football’ without breathing in or out? We need to use out lips, tongue, breath, lungs, nose and face muscles to speak. It is a complicated process! I compare the child’s speech to typical speech development.
A child may have a speech problem with one sound or they may have a problem with several sounds.
A child with unintelligible words may become stressed and frustrated at not being understood.
Speech therapy can HELP.
Check out the Irish Association Of Speech And Language Therapists advisory information for parents for further information. It is all about the speech and language therapy assessment and explains what speech means.