Speech and Language Pathology Unit
Our ability to speak helps us to know more about the wonderful world we live in. It helps us to communicate our ideas and emotions to other people. This act cannot be mastered by many due to a number of reasons, thus, delay in speech and language should be addressed in time. A proper therapy enables the effected people to communicate to the best of their ability.
Delayed Speech and Language
Besides hearing loss in childhood, there are other factors which can cause delay in speech and learning, such as:
- Mental retardation
- Emotional disturbance
- Poor speech/language stimulation
- Brain damage
Normally, children master speech skill by seven years of age but, sometimes children are born with an oral-facial malformation such as cleft of lip and/ or prosthesis. Certain residual difficulty in maintaining air pressure in the mouth results in misarticulation and nasality. Lesions to some centres in the brain cause weakness, incoordination and paralysis resulting in a speech disorder called dysarthria. Also, there are some children with intact speech organs who find it difficult to say some speech sounds. By using speech therapy techniques, it is possible to improve the clarity of their speech.
Abuse, misuse, structural abnormalities such as growth on the vocal voice, persistent hoarseness may be an early sign of laryngeal cancer. Voice therapy can restore or maintain one’s voice.
Disruption of the flow of speech reduces its effectiveness and is known as stuttering or stammering. This may range from mild hesitation to a severe disruption in the flow of speech. Such people not only need prompt therapeutic intervention but also support from family and friends.
Damage to the speech centers (for example in stroke patients) cause language disorder known as aphasia. Such people have difficulty in expressing and understanding speech. In addition, they may have difficulty in reading, writing and calculating. Speech and language therapy helps to recover their speech communication skills.
Various diseases such as lesions in the brain (e.g. stroke), supraglottic tumors, traumatic brain injury, degenerative diseases, cerebral palsy, chemotherapy patients, laryngectomy, tracheostomy, and clefts result in swallowing disorders (dysphagia). Compensatory and therapeutic techniques are carried out to improve swallowing.
Although the hearing impaired child has the ability to speak, he can neither hear what he has to produce nor correct his poor imitations. Such children need immediate audiological help to find out how much of the child’s hearing ability has been left intact. Depending upon whether the hearing loss is mild, moderate, severe or profound, a hearing aid has to be fitted. A hearing aid or cochlear implant helps the child hear better and auditory training is important for listening. Speech and language stimulation helps the child to step into a talking world and learn more about it. Hearing loss can also occur after we learn to speak.
Depending upon its severity, it can not only disrupt listening to other’s speech but also one’s own speech.
- Articulation and phonological therapy
- Child language intervention
- Remedial intervention for late bloomers
- Therapeutic intervention for autism
- Dyslexia intervention
- Mental retardation remediation
- Behavior management
- Accent modification
- Speech therapy for cleft lip and palate
- Stuttering intervention (stammering)
- Aural rehabilitation for hearing impaired/cochlear implant
- Sign language for hearing impaired/deaf
- Voice therapy (e.g. nodules, polyps, voice change)
- Aphasia intervention (e.g. language therapy after stroke)
- Speech intervention (e.g. language therapy after stroke)
- Speech intervention for motor disorders
- Oral motor rehab
- Cognitive rehabilitation (e.g. traumatic brain injury)
- Swallowing management
- Saliva/drooling management
- Peadiatric development screening