The benefits of online speech therapy commonly referred to as telepractice are well-known. Convenience, cost, and control of when sessions will be held are to mention but a few. What may be less apparent is the sheer variety of speech and language problems that can be addressed by teletherapy. Generally speaking, if an onsite speech therapist can do it, telepractice can as well..
1. Telepractice can help articulation skills and speech intelligibility
The physical ability to move the palate, tongue, jaw, and lips combine to bring articulation. These movements produce the sounds that comprise speech, which is technically known as phonemes. Although most people just talk, when there is a problem, the speech therapist whether onsite or by way of teletherapy must identify each component to be of any help.
Very much related to articulation skills is speech intelligibility, a term used to refer to the ease or difficulty of understanding another’s speech. A compromise in any of the variety of skills necessary for articulation will reduce intelligibility. SLPs are trained to teach children how to create specific sounds they may be having trouble pronouncing themselves.
2. Language Skills and the art of expression
It is essential to understand the difference between speech skills on the one hand and language skills on the other. Speech is the ability to marshal the physical motor skills involved in making specific sounds. Language is the symbolism by which we convey a message. This symbolism includes not only oral and written expressions but body language as well.
So when we talk about expressive language, we are referring to what the child is “saying” with the words he/she is using. SLPs trained in telepractice can help children learn new ways of expressing themselves such as expanding their vocabulary or by teaching them new ways to express the same idea. In this way, an SLP can significantly enhance a child’s ability to communicate.
3. Listening or Receptive Language Skills
While language skills are those needed by your child to communicate, receptive language skills are required first to hear and then understand communication from others. In other words receptive language is the child’s ability to understand. It is often the case that young children are stronger when it comes to an understanding than expressing themselves. An SLP through the venue of teletherapy can help children to answer questions and follow directions.
4. Stuttering and fluency in speech
While practically everyone experiences interruptions in the fluency of their speech, when it becomes habitual, it may indicate a stuttering problem. For many stuttering begins as a young child so that intervention early on can make a world of difference as the child grows and develops.
SLPs through the medium of telepractice have seen wonderful results in arresting this potentially crippling malady. They are trained to implement strategies that go beyond the speech part of stuttering and address the behaviors and anxiety that often are at the root of the stuttering problem.
5. Voice quality
Sometimes a child suffers from a disorder that affects the standard way to make sounds. Hoarseness which is commonly found among children is often caused by abusing the vocal cords. SLPs can teach their students how to express themselves in “gentler” ways that won’t create the strain that is destroying their voice quality.
Only the beginning
These are just some of the ways that an SLP can help your child through the marvels of telepractice. Stay tuned for Part 2 to find out other ways that an SLP can improve your child’s speech and language skills and in so doing make a significant impact on his/her life!