How can speech therapy help special needs children?
Speech therapy refers to the treatment for speech delays and language disorders which are common problems that special needs children face. They may have difficulty in understanding words and putting sentences together. Speech therapy gives them the confidence to communicate with others more effectively. Speech pathologists help with the diagnosis of communicative impairment and play a key role in the treatment of special needs children. They work closely with the families, schools and other specialists to improve the lives of children with disabilities. If the child has limited or no speech, they may introduce alternative methods such as sign language or using technology to communicate. How does speech therapy help speech needs children? Speech therapy aims at improving the communication skills of children with special needs. As communication is important when it comes to forming relationships with the outside world, special needs children can benefit a great deal from speech therapy. Here’s how it can help.
- Helps them express their wants and needs
Speech therapy teaches children to express themselves by using both verbal and non-verbal methods. Kids with special needs are taught to exchange their ideas with others. It lays emphasis on communicating not just with their families, but also with their friends.
- Helps them comprehend others
Often, children with special needs are unable to understand what is being said to them. They cannot understand verbal and nonverbal cues of others. Speech therapy helps them recognize small nuances of communication such as body language and facial expressions. It can also help children to understand how to initiate communication without prompting from others.
- Helps them develop friendships and relationships
Sometimes, special needs children struggle when it comes to spontaneous and casual conversations with their peers. They might need prompting to talk to others during interactions. Some of them may have specific interests and may not find it easy to talk about other things. Speech therapy removes this hurdle and teaches them strategies for mixing with other kids, so that they can make friends, play and have a social experience.
- Teaches them to communicate in ways that others understand
Differently abled children have a distinct learning pattern and process language in an unusual manner. As a result, they often have problems with the spoken language. They may learn speaking in chunks, merging words together to make incomprehensible sounds. This is called ‘echolalia’ and speech therapy can help them overcome this difficulty while talking to others.
- Helps them articulate words and sentences
Kids with autism and other neuro-centric special needs find it difficult to articulate words and put sentences together. They also struggle with time concepts, abstract language and vocabulary that depends on context for meaning. Even parts of language such as idioms, hints or indirect instructions might be tricky for them to understand. Speech therapy helps children to overcome these language limitations and assists them in articulating words and sentences. Early intervention and speech therapy can benefit children with special needs and helps improve their communication skills. Those with on-going speech therapy also improve their grasp of spoken language and find it easier to go about their social life.