Mmmmm I hope they use Peanut Butter Therapy
Do you ever feel like no one around you understands what you're saying?
You know what you're trying to say, but you get stuck in the middle of a
word or the person you're talking to keeps asking you to repeat yourself.
It can be so frustrating! And all you want to do is make your words sound
like theirs or make your thoughts come out in a way they'll understand.
Well, never fear - help is near! A speech therapist can help you make those
feelings of frustration go away. He or she can help you speak more clearly
and can make talking with others a breeze instead of a challenge.
What Is Speech Therapy?
When you have a cold or your stomach hurts, your mom or dad takes you
to the doctor, right? When you have trouble saying certain sounds or words
or if you have trouble understanding what other people say, your parent
may take you to a speech therapist, also known as a speech-language
pathologist (say: peh-thah-leh-jist), who will help you speak better.
Speech therapists help people of all ages with all kinds of speech and language
disorders. Here are a few examples of problems a speech therapist can help correct:
Articulation (say: are-ti-kyeh-lay-shen) disorders: if you have trouble saying
certain sounds or saying words correctly, it's called an articulation disorder.
When you say "run" it may come out as "won." Or the word "say" may come
out as "thay." Kids who have lisps have articulation disorders. Although little
kids often have trouble saying words, older kids who still have trouble may
have an articulation disorder.
Fluency (say: flu-en-see) disorders: if you repeat certain sounds, making it hard
to complete a word, you may have a fluency disorder. For example, when you say
the word "story," you may get stuck on the "st" and say "st-st-st-story." Or you
may draw out certain sounds and say "ssssssstory." Kids who stutter have fluency
disorders. There's a normal period of stuttering once in a while (from about ages
2 to 5) but after this time, kids may have a fluency disorder.
Resonance (say: re-zen-nents) or voice disorders: if people have trouble hearing
you, it may be the result of a voice disorder. You may start a sentence loud and
clear, but be quiet and mumbling by the end of it. Sometimes kids sound like they
have a cold or almost sound like they're talking through their noses. These are
examples of voice disorders.
Language disorders: if you have trouble understanding people when they talk to
you or if you have trouble putting words together to express your thoughts, you
may have a language disorder.
Who Needs Speech Therapy?
Going to a speech therapist is nothing to be ashamed of - lots of kids go. It's
simply a way to learn to speak more clearly - just like you learn to read and
write clearly in school.
If you have one of the following conditions, you may need speech therapy:
Visiting the Speech Therapist
Speech therapists go to school for a long time to learn how to help people
get over speech difficulties. A speech therapist has to have a master's
degree in speech therapy, which means he or she not only graduated from
high school and college, but went for even more school and had to pass a
big test to become a therapist. A speech therapist has put a lot of time
into learning how to help you, so you should trust his or her advice.
The first time you go to your speech therapist, he or she will give you a test
- not a regular test like you take in school. In this speaking test, he or she
will ask you to say certain sounds and words and may record the things you
say with a tape recorder. He or she may also take notes while you're talking.
This test will help him or her decide what your specific needs are and how
to treat them.
If you have trouble with articulation or fluency, the therapist will spend time
showing you how to make the proper sounds. A speech therapist will
demonstrate the sounds for you and ask you to try to copy the way he or
she forms the lips, mouth, and tongue to make the right sound. He or she
will also have you look in a mirror and repeat the sound so that you can see
the difference. Some therapists also play games with their patients, letting
them take a turn each time they say more difficult words correctly. This
makes the sessions more fun and helps patients see that those words
aren't so scary.
If your therapist is helping you with a language disorder, your sessions may
seem like an extra English, reading, or spelling class. He or she will do grammar
exercises with you, helping you learn to put sentences together in the proper
way. If you have difficulties with understanding what you hear, you may play
games that have you follow directions that get complicated and longer as you
go on - like Simon Says. You may also do some reading and writing with your
How Long Will the Treatment Last?
Just like each kid sees a speech therapist for an individual reason, each kid
will also receive a special treatment. The number of times you see a speech
therapist depends on your specific reason for seeing one. Just like some
bones take longer to heal than others, some speech problems take longer to
correct than others. You may see your therapist once a week or a few times
a week, and your treatment can take anywhere from a few weeks to a few
months to a few years.
The best thing you can do for yourself is practice, practice, practice! Don't just work
on your therapy during your sessions. Spend some time before bed practicing in
the mirror. Ask your parent to work with you. Just like hitting a ball or learning your
multiplication tables, practice makes perfect. The more you practice, the shorter
your therapy will be, and the sooner you'll be speaking comfortably and confidently!
Reviewed by: Amy Nelson, MA, CCC-S
Date reviewed: May 2002
dedicated to improving the health and spirit of children. Today, as part of its
continuing mission, the Foundation supports the operation of a number of renowned
children's health facilities throughout the nation, including the Alfred I. duPont
Hospital for Children in Wilmington, Delaware, and the Nemours Children's Clinics
throughout Florida. Visit The Nemours Foundation to find out more about them and
American Speech-Hearing-Language Associationhttp://www.asha.org/The mission of this group is to provide the highest quality services
for professionals in audiology, speech-language pathology, and
speech and hearing science, and to advocate for people with