I am experiencing some communication difficulties. When Should I See a Speech-Language Pathologist?
Communication difficulties can make it challenging to learn optimally, express our needs and wants, and build social connections. Consider seeking speech therapy services if you, your child, or another loved one is having difficulty with their communication skills. If you are uncertain whether your communication difficulties warrant speech-therapy services, continue reading to learn about when seeing a speech-language pathologist (SLP) may be beneficial.
Speech Therapy Services for Adults with communication difficulties
Stuttering: You want to learn techniques to speak more smoothly, and improve your confidence as a communicator.
Voice difficulties: You experience vocal fatigue or pain when you speak, and want to learn to speak in a way that supports a healthy voice. Your voice has become too quiet and you want to learn to speak so people can understand you easily. Your voice does not align with your age, size, or gender.
Acquired speech and language disorders: You or your loved one has a medical condition or injury (e.g. stroke) that has resulted in a speech or language loss. You want to work to relearn or maintain current speech and language skills, or want to learn how to communicate in different ways to get your message across.
Feeding and swallowing difficulties: You are experiencing feeding or swallowing difficulties due to a medical condition or injury, and want to learn which techniques and food consistencies allow you to swallow more safely.
Accent modification: You feel your speech is unclear because of an accent that is making it difficult to get your message across.
Speech-Therapy Services For Children with communication difficulties
Speech therapy can be helpful for your child if any of the following apply:
Stuttering: Your child repeats words or parts of words, stretches the sounds in words, or has a hard time getting words out. While stuttering, your child shows physical behaviours that get in the way of their communication. You want to help your child speak more smoothly and increase their confidence as a communicator.
Listening or understanding: Your child does not understand conversations, stories, or instructions. He or she has difficulty following directions, or learning new concepts or words. You want to help your child learn language structures they have difficulty understanding, and discover strategies to support their comprehension skills.
Using language: Your child uses few or no words at all, only uses short or grammatically incorrect sentences, or does not use a variety of words (e.g. things, actions, describing words). You want to help your child speak more, or learn other ways to communicate.
Using clear speech: Your child has difficulty producing certain speech sounds, and he or she is difficult for other people to understand, particularly people who are not familiar with the child. You want help with improving your child’s speech clarity.
Play and social skills: Your child does not display appropriate social skills like maintaining eye contact, responding to their name, engaging with other children, turn taking, understanding emotions, etc. He or she does not use toys appropriately (e.g. smashes/bangs toys) or engage in imaginary play. He or she has difficulty asking for help, requesting, refusing, or communicating other needs. You want to help your child learn to communicate and connect with you and others more effectively.
Reading/Writing: Your child has difficulty reading or spelling new words, or understanding what he or she is reading. Your child reads very slowly compared to same-age peers. You want your child to increase their proficiency with reading and spelling.
Feeding and swallowing difficulties: Your child refuses to eat, eats only certain textures, takes a long time to eat, drools a lot, coughs, regurgitates liquid through their nose while eating, or has other difficulties with eating or drinking. An SLP can help identify foods your child can eat safely, and work with your child to develop safe feeding and swallowing skills.