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 communication to assist with what is speech therapy. Called augmentative and assistive communication, or AAC, these devices produce speech or sound for those who are nonverbal.
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
- Complications from birth defects surgery: difficulty speaking due to effects of conditions like cleft palate or surgery involving the throat and mouth