How Speech Language Pathologists Help With Communication Disorders

Guest post by: Alina Pierce

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not
necessarily reflect the official policy or position of ENABLE Special Needs Planning.

Communication is an important skill we use in everyday life. It’s how we interact with other people, how we express emotions, and how we experience new and unfamiliar things. Unfortunately for some people, this skill doesn’t come naturally. Children with special needs, for instance, can take longer to master language and speech skills. An individual might also experience a traumatic event, such as an accident, that impairs their ability to communicate effectively. In some cases, this skill might never fully develop.

That’s where a speech language pathologist or SLP might be able to help. For parents and individuals who need help with communication disorders for their children or themselves, below are a few things you need to know about SLPs.

What SLPs help with and what they do

Speech language pathologists are specialists trained in diagnosing and treating communication disorders. They can trace what is causing the problem and make recommendations on what should be done in order to fix or alleviate those issues. It’s important to understand that some disorders cannot be cured depending on each individual’s situation, but SLPs can make recommendations on how to manage issues.

Problems with language and speech development vary. But typically, what you can observe in a child is a difficulty in comprehending speech and expressing themselves through words. Self-expression through facial expressions, tone of voice, gestures, and body language may also be limited, as well as their ability to understand these signals from other people. They may have trouble with putting ideas together, forming more complex sentences, and speaking clearly or without stuttering.

People with communication problems may also have problems with forming social relationships. That’s because of their limited ability to understand what other people might mean or in understanding what is not clearly stated. These social skills, including the ability to make appropriate interactions and to form relationships, have been found to benefit academic success. It’s just one area where developing these abilities is clearly an advantage which is why it’s important to seek specialized help if needed.

SLPs have different techniques on how they can develop speech, listening, and other communication skills. With children with special needs, for example, they might use communication boards to identify what emotion corresponds with a sentence or a gesture. SLPs might even start with something more fundamental, such as rhyming skills to improve phonological awareness and building vocabulary. All of this is dependent on each person’s unique needs and situation.

Hiring an SLP to help your child

Seeking the help of an SLP can be the next best thing you can do for your child with communication-related needs. But before you do, make sure that they are actually certified to provide assistance and intervention. Check whether they have a formal education in the field, as it is one of the prerequisites for the job. SLPs today can get properly trained traditionally or online. There are even added benefits to completing an online communication sciences and disorders degree, particularly access to innovative technologies like Simucase. It stands for simulated case study, an online-based program that lets students assess speech and language disorders with virtual patients from actual cases. Simulations can help future SLPs make accurate assessments, diagnostics, recommendations, and interventions before facing real individuals with special needs. That means there is no need to worry if your SLP’s educational background is online and it might actually be more beneficial for your case.

You should also check if the SLP has any experience working with individuals of the same age or with the same special needs as your child. That could affect how effectively they can help and how tailored their approach will be. Also check for assistance from your school as SLPs could be part of the special education program, given that your child may have a learning disability, as well.

Every parent wants the best for their child. Connecting them with SLPs, who can give them specialized support with their communication issues, is one way to make their life a little easier.

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