Speech therapy treats language, swallowing and vocal problems

tour special needs family

As adults, we often take talking for granted. We open our mouths, words come out, and people respond. For a young child with a speech-sound disorder, however, talking is often difficult.

If young children are unable to express their thoughts and feelings, they may have difficulty developing relationships with other people, as well as difficulties with self-esteem, both of which, in turn, may cause them to be isolated from their peers.

Parents often become frustrated and upset when they see their child struggling with something that comes so naturally for many children.

Because the age at which children master speech sounds may vary by as much as two years, parents often make comments and ask questions like these: "Will he outgrow this problem?" "Why does my daughter talk like this? My niece is a year younger and we can understand her when she talks." "How can I help my child talk more clearly?"

To provide, your child with the most stimulating environment possible, it's important to understand speech-sound disorders.

With this knowledge, you will be able to find the best ways to help your child learn. Having a basic knowledge of these speech sound disorders may enable you to be more comfortable when speaking to your pediatrician or speech/language pathologist too.

A speech/language pathologist is trained to assess, treat, and help prevent speech, language, and voice problems in children (beginning at birth) and adults. These professionals are called "Speech/language Pathologists," "Speech /language Therapist" or "Speech/language Specialists." This professional will assess your child's communication strengths and weaknesses and, if necessary, will plan and carry out therapy to correct or modify the communication difficulty. A speech/language pathologist is often part of health care or educational team, depending on the nature of the problem. He or she may work closely with your child's physician, orthodontist, psychologist, educators, or social workers.

It is important for every child, especially those who may be having a hard time learning to talk, to develop an early enjoyment of spoken and written language. If you have concerns about your child at any age in any area, it is always wise to seek professional help as soon as possible. Learning to read and write begins with your child's development of speech and language skills. It is believed that the age at which a child learns the alphabet, or even the methods by which he or she is taught to read in school, are not as important as the skills he gains from language and literacy activities early in life.

You are ultimately responsible for helping your young child communicate with the world. Relax and have fun as you help them reach their highest potential.

About the book:

A primer on normal speech development and information on what to expect from the first few sounds to learning to read (from birth to age eight)

Step by step strategies for using everyday communication to help your child develop speech and language skills

Information about what can cause a speech sound disorder and how to distinguish between normal speech development and problems with articulation.

Everything parents need to know about a speech/language evaluation and how to work effectively with a speech professional

Table of Contents:
Learning to Communicate - Speech
How do Speech Sounds Develop?
What Can Cause an Articulation Problem?
Language Development: Understanding and Using Words
Read to Speak: Literacy and Articulation
Encouraging Your Child to Talk
Developing Phonological Awareness
How to Find Professional Help

About the Authors:
Dorothy P. Dougherty, MA, CCC-SLP is a speech and language pathologist who has worked with children and adults in school, clinical, and private setting. She obtained her certificate of clinical competence form the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association in 1981. in 1990, she is the author of How to Talk to Your Baby: A Guide to Maximizing Your Child's Language Skills (Perigee/Putnam, 2000) and Teach Me How to Say it Right: Helping Your Child with Articulation Problems (June, 2005).

Foreword writer, Heather Whitestone McCallum, deaf since she was an infant, was selected as the first Miss American with a disability. An author and motivational speaker, she lives in Atlanta, GA, with her husband John, and their two sons.

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