Description of Speech Therapy and Its Characteristics

Communication disorders can cause many personal and social problems. However, speech therapy can help. Learn more about speech therapy and what it can help with in this article!
Description of Speech Therapy and Its Characteristics

Last update: 13 May, 2021

World Speech Day is a reminder and incentive of the preponderance of communication and promotes speech therapy. Ok, but what exactly is this and how do you go about it? In essence, it’s the discipline responsible for the evaluation, diagnosis, prevention, research, and treatment of communication difficulties in humans.

Also known as “speech therapy,” it has no restrictions as to the age of the person since the comprehension and expression of language can address different stages. Thus, this commemoration seeks to bring information about communication disorders and how to address them.

Problems that speech therapy can focus on

The areas covered by speech therapy are extensive since language, speech, voice, hearing, communication, and swallowing problems are within its communicative jurisdiction.

Language problems

This branch covers both comprehensive and expressive, as well as mixed language problems. There are usually complications and delays in externalizing ideas, as well as in assimilating them. Some difficulties of this type are dysphasia, dyslexia, and aphasia.

Speech problems

These are the inconveniences that start from the articulation and emission of sounds understood by the receiver. These complications include dysphemia (stuttering) and dysarthria. This last one is a deficiency in the articulation of sounds due to the paralysis of the nervous centers that command the phonation organs.

Voice problems

The voice starts from the vibration of the vocal cords, but an incorrect use can lead to great difficulties. The consequences of bad vocal habits can be partial or total loss of normal voice timbre, Reinke’s edema, polyps, and nodules among them.

Hearing problem

This relates to the hearing-impaired or those who’ve undergone cochlear implantation. The acoustic rehabilitation needs to focus on the rhythm and intensity that the voice must have to communicate effectively.

Speech therapy can correct communication problems

Communication requires strategies and methods to be both, fluid and clear, in the formulation of ideas. There’s also the expression of feelings as part of this branch. In short, it takes into account the well-known alternative-communicative systems.

Swallowing problems

These problems may be in the esophagus, pharynx, mouth, and various nerves. However, the speech therapist focuses on the evaluation of the pharynx and oral swallowing, as well as the mobility and sensitivity of the area.

A girl undergoing speech therapy.
Speech therapy addresses problems related to speech, communication, swallowing, among others.

Objectives of World Speech Day

The objectives of World Speech Day are to visualize the discipline and raise awareness of the importance of communication at any age. March 15 is a day to spread the communication shockwave far and wide.

Another focal point of the commemoration is to find ways to help people with communication disabilities to achieve the well-being that socialization confers. 

Common themes of World Speech Day

The aim of each year is for this event to focus on different topics to help promote solutions to communication problems such as:

Multilingualism

This is about finding appropriate strategies so as to expand communication options in a multicultural environment rather than limit them. The emphasis is on the importance of support from parents or close family members to encourage appropriate language.

Acquired neurological communication disorders

Here they seek to give value to and raise awareness of cases of acquired neurological communication disorders. This comprises people with difficulties in the central nervous system, who see their communication pathways reduced by the loss of functions that had no conflicts in the past.

Speech therapy for dyspraxia

This disorder impairs phonetic and phonological planning. However, the condition of the affected person can significantly improve through speech therapy so as to increase their chances in society.

Dysphagia

The concern here is the difficulty in swallowing any food after chewing. This is related to the aforementioned swallowing problems.

Augmentative and alternative communication

One of the most interesting strategies of speech therapists is to extoll augmentative and alternative communication. It’s nothing more than any contribution or complement to speech that facilitates the understanding of the interlocutor. In addition, it comprises writings, gestures with the help of the limbs, and marked facial expressions, among others.

Speech therapy for autism spectrum disorders

These are part of a neurological disorder that prevents normal communication and social interaction. Such a topic is quite sensitive for speech-language pathologists since there are difficulties in knowing what’s going on for certain in a patient’s head. Also, augmentative and alternative communication is among the most used methods.

Reading and writing disabilities

This topic is due to the fact that many parents take learning disabilities lightly and don’t appreciate that the cause may lie in communication problems. Thus, they label children and adults instead of seeking speech therapy treatments.

Speech therapy for digital telepractice technologies

The physical isolation resulting from the pandemic caused the routines and habits of the majority to change. This gave rise to the “new normality” that currently prevails. One in which digital telepractice technologies made their presence felt.

In this respect, the speech therapy sector wants to give more and more space to the aforementioned telepractice. All so that the evolution of those affected continues as they safely work.

A girl pointing at a word.
World Speech Day promotes telepractice in order to continue the processes of the affected persons despite confinement measures.

When might you need speech therapy?

One of the aims of World Speech Day is to convey when it’s time to go to a speech therapist to treat communication difficulties.

Thus, one should consider going to a speech therapist when any of the following symptoms are present:

  • Incessant swallowing inconvenience 
  • Difficulties associated with the voice
  • Impairment in understanding and interpreting information
  • Incoherent and disjointed use of language
  • Problems articulating basic sounds
  • Confused modulation

Things to keep in mind about World Speech Day

Finally, the purpose of this commemoration is to encourage reflection and leave a recommendation to pay attention to strange communication behaviors. Thus, the early detection of a major problem can get better with treatment.

In short, the objective is to treat the majority of existing communication disorders. This, in turn, aims to improve the quality of life and social relations of anyone with a speech disorder.

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