What should you expect from speech therapy? Each child is unique and will have a unique experience in therapy. Therapy sessions will be tailored around your child’s specific needs. Here are some common questions and answers about your child’s experience in therapy.
Won’t my child just grow out of this? The answer to this question can be yes or no. While some language and articulation errors are perfectly normal at certain ages, others are not. If your child is demonstrating articulation errors or language errors that are age appropriate, chances are they will just grow out of that. However, not all errors are typical and some processes should resolve by a certain age. A skilled Speech Pathologist will be able to assess your child’s speech and inform you if their speech patterns are typical for their age or should require intervention. Atypical error patterns seldom resolve without proper intervention and can impact all aspects of communication and education, so if you are concerned about your child’s speech it is best to have them evaluated by a professional.
What is the cost of therapy? HVSST accepts many private insurance plans for affordable options for our patients. If your insurance is accepted you will be responsible only for your typical co-payment. For individuals who are uninsured or do not have speech therapy benefits, we offer low cost options for private pay.
My child is too shy during sessions will therapy still work? Some children will require extra time to get accustomed to the therapy techniques so remember to be patient with your child during this process. If you try to go faster than the child is ready for, therapy will become an unpleasant experience and progress is halted. It is our goal to have each child truly enjoy coming to therapy as this will ultimately yield the optimal results. It is also important to remember often even when children are not actively speaking during initial sessions, they are still benefiting from the techniques used for language stimulation.
Therapy seems like a lot of playing, how is this benefitting my child? Our therapy techniques are incorporated into play activities to make children enjoy working on their speech. Specific language stimulation techniques are always being used throughout each therapy session; these include the specific repetition structures of words in sessions, sound isolations of words, verbal and visual modeling of sounds and words, and breaking down as well as building up of sentence structure. Your therapist can explain all these techniques to you.
How long will my child require speech therapy? All children are different and will progress at different rates, however for most, speech therapy will be a long term commitment. Language and speech development are complex processes. When a child develops a speech or language disorder they will need to learn the correct process from start to finish. For example a child who uses the /t/ sound In place of a /c/ sound such as tat for cat will need to learn the correct placement for the /c/ sound first in isolation, next in syllables, then words, then small sentences , larger sentences, and finally in conversational speech. Remember if you gave your child piano lesions you would not expect them to play Mozart a month later. On average a child will require therapy from anywhere to 6 months to 2 plus years depending on the severity of the disorder being treated. For many, significant progress can be noticed in 3-6 months when sessions are consistent. As with any therapy the more you do with your child at home, the faster they will benefit from therapy.
My child is having difficulty feeding/swallowing how can you help them? Feeding and swallowing difficulties can manifest in a number of different ways and all require different techniques. Some common causes for feeding and swallowing disorders are: sensory defensiveness due to perceived trauma (Reflux, GERD, feeding tubes, etc.), decreased strength and/or tone, or decreased coordination of oral motor or swallowing musculature. Our therapists are specially trained to assess your child’s feeding and swallowing skills and develop an individualized therapy plan to get them back on track. Intervention strategies may include sensory stimulation, food chaining, strengthening, improving oral motor coordination, and behavioral modification. As with speech therapy, it is very important to remember that progress will take time and commitment. Feeding difficulties in children can be very challenging for a parent to endure. We all want the best for our children and nutrition is a basic need. With food aversion in particular patience is vital. If therapy moves at a rate faster than the child is ready for a child may develop a stronger aversive reaction or refuse food altogether. For example a child who has strong aversive reactions such as overactive gagging with solid foods may first require play sessions with toy foods or sensory integration to less sensitive areas such as the hands and feet before moving to direct therapy in the mouth. Again it is vital to the effectiveness of therapy that sessions are consistent to achieve effective results.