A Speech Language Therapist Can Help Treat Stuttering
Posted Oct 31 2010 6:06pm
Stuttering is a speech disorder. Fortunately, someone can help even if there is no permanent cure and this person is known as a Speech Language Pathologist or SLP.
This professional is educated in the study of human communication, its development and the various disorders so they know how to help a patient. They hold a master’s degree under their belt and must pass a state certification or licensure exam in order to practice as well as a certificate from the ASHA or American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. If the doctor is not around, a speech assistant can help out.
Before the SLP can treat the child, some tests need to be done because treatment for one patient is different with another. You must remember that stuttering varies depending on the child’s age, type and gender so this needs to be tailor made. Sometimes, the professional will need to use various strategies to treat the disorder.
A language intervention activity is one example. Here, the specialist will interact with the child by playing and talking. Pictures, books and other instruments are sometimes used if this will help stimulate language development. When the child is unable to pronounce something properly, this is when repetition exercises will be used.
Another is articulation therapy also known as sound production. Here the specialist will teach the child how to pronounce certain letters and produce the correct sound. A demonstration is used so the child will know how to move the tongue. In both cases, therapy sessions can be done one on one or with a small group.
Other examples include airflow therapies, anxiety reduction techniques, attitudinal therapy, biofeedback methods, rhythmic speech, trial therapy and vocal control.
If your child is diagnosed with stuttering, the only thing to do now is find a specialist who can help. You can get a referral from your doctor or look around in the phone directory. Some states have associations with listing of licensed and certified specialists.
Parents should also do their part in helping the child since a session with the specialist is not enough to make the problem go away. In fact, studies show that parents who are very supportive are able to complete the program the quickest with long term results.
This happens by creating a relaxed environment at home so the child can speak. The parent should also speak slowly so the child will be able to learn how to say the word correctly.
The specialist may recommend certain SLP activities and drills to be done at home to ensure continued progress outside the clinic.
The use of medication has also been used to treat stuttering but given that it has side effects, it is no longer used. There are also devices that have been invented.
Advances in science make it easier these days to get treatment for people who stutter. If you have a child, take him or her to a speech language pathologist. If you have it, do the same thing and educate yourself about the proper treatment options. Remember that this disorder neither has a cure nor a single remedy and the only thing it can do now is reduce the number of disruptions when a person is speaking.
We have a long way to go before we can say goodbye to stuttering.