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Speech therapy is a treatment for speech and language disorders. A speech disorder involves a problem producing words and sounds, whereas a language disorder refers to a difficulty understanding words and putting together sentences and ideas for communication. Speech therapy helps individuals gain the ability to communicate through speech and language. Speech therapists might use repetitive exercises and training as well as assistive devices for children therapy.
Speech therapy targets a great deal of speech and language disorders, including the following:
- Articulation disorders: difficulty producing sounds or syllables or saying words incorrectly
- Fluency disorders: including problems like stuttering, which is characterized by abnormal stoppages, repetitions, or prolonging sounds in words
- Dysphagia or feeding disorders: difficulties with eating and swallowing
- Receptive or expressive communication disorders: difficulties understanding and processing language, or difficulty putting words together to form sentences, or trouble expressing or communicating in a socially acceptable way
Children might have difficulty in one of these speech and language areas due to cognitive or learning disabilities, hearing impairments, autism, birth defects, brain injury, motor planning problems, or feeding and swallowing disorders. Speech therapy is often available as a part of a child’s IEP (Individualized Educational Plan).
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