Patients with learning disabilities and lack of communication skills need some extra assistance when in school or trying to secure a job.
Disabilities are the ones that stand between them and a successful future career.
These people need the right opportunity to develop written and oral language skills so that they will successfully integrate into society. That’s where speech and language pathologists can be helpful.
Speech and language pathology is the science of speech therapy. It falls under the category of discipline, communication, and learning for people affected with a range of disorders that hinder their ability to learn and communicate.
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Communication Skills and Speech-Language Pathology
Communication is an essential component in making social connections and enjoying the world around us. When people can’t have effective communication, or they lose their capability to properly express themselves and understand others, they feel left out.
Efficient communication improves our ability to express even our basic desires, needs, and emotions, so that we don’t feel isolated, confused, or misunderstood. With active listening and constant communication, people can build stronger relationships and feel better about themselves.
Regardless of what form of communication we use, whether it is body language or speech and language, it makes us feel complete. If anything hinders our ability to understand, hear, and express our thoughts, emotions, and ideas, that’s when we start to lose confidence in being a good communicator.
Speech-language pathology can be useful in numerous ways via therapies such as:
The primary goal of this form of therapy is to shape pronunciation and allow patients to articulate the correct sounds when trying to communicate. Not only does it improve your communication skills, but it also improves confidence. Articulation implements verbal communication strategies that help with speaking fluently, difficulties with vocal cords, or other problems in the body that interact with our clear voice.
Language comprehension therapy
This is a unique form of speech therapy that helps patients who’ve had developmental difficulties and language delays after a stroke or other health problems. Even though certain patients who receive this speech therapy can communicate, they can’t use proper strong communication skills. Because of autism, for example, they are unable to keep a job, carry out tasks, or pay attention.
Oral/swallowing and feeding therapy
Some patients may require a wide range of oral exercises to learn to be aware of the textures of the food they eat. These exercises can include facial massages, jaw, lip, or tongue exercises. A speech-language pathologist can suggest this form of therapy to boost the muscles for better drinking and eating control.
Why Do Some Children Need Communication Therapy ?
Communicating can often be difficult, particularly when we have to get out of our comfort zone. But, for certain individuals establishing a face to face communication and maintaining eye contact can be a real struggle.
It’s crucial to point out that there are individuals who will find it very difficult to simply talk with friends, family, or on the phone, which can drastically impact their quality of life. That’s where a speech-language pathologist can be helpful.
Not every child will develop communication skills in the same way. Some may have trouble listening carefully, may experience cognitive delays or listening impairments. Speech and language therapy can be useful for multiple reasons, which include:
- Breathing difficulties
- Problems with motor planning
- Hearing impairments
- Traumatic injury
- Weakened oral muscles
- Delays in intellectual expression and thinking
Certain individuals with serious communication disorders might not know how to use their facial expression or writing skills. A speech-language pathologist can work through these barriers to help patients establish a normal form of verbal or written communication, based on the patient’s situation. At first, the pathologist can use toys, like a communication board, for example, to help with language development through games.
For children experiencing any of these impairments, it’s better to start the treatment as early as possible, often before they are five years of age. It’s possible to improve their speaking, writing, and listening skills when they are older, it will just take a little more time to notice the progress and change habitual patterns.
Learning Disabilities and Speech-Language Pathology
A language-based learning disability is a processing disorder that impairs the patient’s ability to spell, write, speak, listen, or reason. It creates a major inconsistency between a child’s potential to learn and achieve their goals. Children with dyslexia, for example, are more of a visual-spatial learner than a traditional one.
These learning disabilities tend to surface when the child is very young. This hinders the child’s capability to produce written or verbal age-appropriate content. Some of the most prevalent signs of learning disabilities are:
- Overall inability to communicate both verbally and on paper
- Trouble understanding and remembering new words and sentences
- Difficulty memorizing rhymes or songs
- Trouble putting words/letters together and pronouncing them correctly
- Inability to match a letter with a correct pronunciation or a sound
- Difficulty learning the alphabet
Often these learning disabilities can start to affect other spheres of life, which to healthy children will sound simple. This includes trouble telling right from left, telling the time, figuring out numbers, and more.
How Can Speech Therapy Help ?
When a child has a learning disability, they won’t be able to learn reading writing the traditional way or at the same rate as any other child their age. The reason for that is relatively simple. Children with learning disabilities don’t process stimuli; instead, they need unique, specifically tailored instruction strategies to overcome their reading disability.
A speech-language pathologist can help identify all of the child’s weaknesses and strengths that affect their language development. Depending on the patient’s type of learning disability, they will plan out remedial tactics to improve motor skills, writing, and reading comprehension to help them develop cognitive, social skills.
It’s important, however, to start with therapy early on. If the learning difficulties remain untreated for many years, the problems can progress into high school and even adulthood. The earlier these problems are managed, the better.
If the patient starts with speech therapy at a young age, they can use the techniques they’ve learned in therapy throughout their life. That way, they will have multiple opportunities to improve their oral and written vocabulary.
How Does a Speech Therapy for Learning Disabilities Looks like ?
The way the speech and language difficulties are treated will heavily depend on the specific learning disability a patient is diagnosed with. How severe the disability may be, the patient’s age and language delays will all have a major role to play in identifying the best form of treatment.
What happens at the session will depend on plenty of variables, like the duration (whether it is 30min or 1-hour long session), location, and setting.
Some sessions are private, which means the patient is the only one participating in the education program, and the therapist is paying attention only to that patient. A different setting would be a group session, where more patients get to express their learning difficulties and share their experiences, whether through verbal or written expression.
The rest of the session will depend on what the patient is dealing with. Learning disabilities will start to impair countless mental processes. One of the most common learning disability is dyslexia; then you have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder ADHD, dyscalculia, dysgraphia, and processing deficits.
For example, patients might have trouble pronouncing words and will engage in rhyming, clapping, or tapping activities. Others, on the other hand, maybe dealing with ADHD, which will force them to act out regardless of the consequences.
Therapists who are working with patients that can’t follow a plotline or understand the meaning of a story will engage in activities that will focus only on solving this particular problem.
In other words, the session will be tailored to each individual based on their physical and psychological needs. A speech-language pathologist involved with the sessions will most likely give some form of indication on the current progress and how the session should be changed to better fit each individual.
Cambridge Medical & Rehabilitation Center is the specialized provider for Long-term Care and rehabilitation services in the United Arab Emirates. With 2 main facilities in Abu Dhabi & Al Ain, which are designed in a rehabilitation and long-term care hospital with a capacity of 90 beds each.
Cambridge provides an interdisciplinary clinical approach for Speech & Language Therapy which is customized for adults, adolescents, and children. The best rehabilitation services are not only our goal but our ultimate objective is to customize the care plan for each patient and make sure that the patient’s family and their members are integrated into the treatment plan.
Either you joined Abu Dhabi hospital or Al Ain hospital for any kind of our rehabilitation services or even for long-term care you will feel as if you are at #Your Second Home.