If your child has problems with speaking, thinking, or other language skills, speech therapy is a treatment program that can help.
Speech therapy may be used to help children who:
The earlier speech therapy is started the better. Children who start therapy before age 3 usually improve faster and do better than children who start at an older age. Older children may make slower progress because they often have to learn how to change they way they used to speaking or using language.
A speech therapist will test your child and find out the types of speech and language skills that your child needs to work on. Therapy includes training and repetitive exercises and use of devices that can make it easier for some children to speak. Speech therapists also work closely with the family members who help care for the child.
The therapist may work one-on-one with your child or in a small group. During therapy your child may do a variety of age-appropriate fun activities.
Speech therapy may be given at a variety of places. Your child's speech therapist may be at a hospital, clinic, or even at your child's school. Ask your child's school what speech services they provide. Your child may have speech therapy at school and at a separate office as well.
How often a child has therapy depends on the speech problem. Your child may need to go more often at first, possibly 1 or more times a week. Later your child will not need to go as often and will just need to practice a lot at home.
Helping your child at home is very important. You will work with the speech therapist to learn the different skills and exercises your child needs to practice. Children who complete the program quickly and with the best results are those whose parents have been involved. Overcoming speech and language problems takes time and patience. Ask the therapist what you can do to help at home.