What is Speech Therapy?
Speech therapy addresses communication skills in a variety of areas, including- speech sounds (articulation/phonological disorders, apraxia), fluency, language, voice, and social skills. A speech disorder refers to a problem with the actual production of sounds. A language disorder refers to a problem understanding or putting words together to communicate ideas.
Speech therapy can help kids learn to speak more clearly. This helps them feel more confident and less frustrated about speaking to others. Kids who have language issues can benefit socially, emotionally and academically from speech therapy.
Who can provide speech therapy?
Speech-language pathologists (SLPs), often informally known as speech therapists, are professionals educated in the study of human communication, its development, disorders, and treatment. They hold at least a master's degree and state certification/licensure in the field, and a certificate of clinical competency from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA).SLPs assess speech, language, cognitive-communication, and oral/feeding/swallowing skills to identify types of communication problems (articulation; fluency; voice; receptive and expressive language disorders, etc.) and the best way to treat them according to individual’s specific needs. SLPs are required to maintain continuing education units to uphold their licensing with both the state and for national certification to stay up to date with current research and evidence-based practices to implement in their practice.
What are the benefits of working in collaboration with a behavior analyst and speech therapist?
Regardless of the therapy setting, a therapist with knowledge of behavior techniques translates into double-benefit for a learner since all of his or her instruction will be similarly focused in these highly effective areas. Often, speech language pathologists working in ABA programs are asked to weigh in on decisions about selecting an appropriate communication mode for a learner. Although speech is by far the most desirable choice (it’s fast, easy, accessible, and cheap), some children may not easily acquire verbal speech and so other communication systems must be considered. Some common alternatives to support the acquisition of verbal speech are picture communication systems, sign language, or augmentative and alternative communication (AAC), which is commonly thought of as a high-tech device.
The Board Certified Behavior Analyst® (BCBA®) is a graduate-level certification in behavior analysis. Professionals who are certified at the BCBA level are independent practitioners who provide behavior-analytical services. In addition, BCBAs supervise the work of Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analysts, Registered Behavior Technicians, and others who implement behavior-analytic interventions. Applied behavior analysis (ABA) has been empirically shown to be effective in a wide variety of areas, including parent training, substance abuse treatment, dementia management, brain injury rehabilitation, occupational safety intervention, among others. However, because ABA was first applied to the treatment of individuals with intellectual disabilities and autism, this practice area has the largest evidence base and has received the most recognition. Because ABA is largely based on behavior and its consequences, the techniques generally involve teaching individuals more effective ways of behaving and making changes to social consequences of existing behavior (such as reducing negative behaviors such as hitting or increasing the likelihood of positive behavior such as toilet training).
Collaboration between behavioral analysts and speech language pathologists can positively impact the lives of the individuals they service for a variety of reasons. For a pre-verbal child who exhibits behaviors such as hitting or crying because they cannot verbally request items, both the BCBA and SLP will look at implementing a successful communication system. The SLP and BCBA can collaborate on skills needed to support communication, regardless of the method (verbal, gestures/sign, picture exchange systems, high-tech communication systems such as on a tablet). The SLP has training on typical language and disordered language development and how it may differ across diagnosis and can help “fill in” the holes to develop a successful communicator, and the BCBA can help support the overall goal by analyzing and implementing behaviorally-based treatment methods.
Our founders have over 20 years combined experience working with a variety of individuals with specialized learning and behavioral needs. Our mission is to combine skill sets of behavior analysis and the principles of language development in order to formulate a comprehensive and customized program for your child with the built in benefits of collaboration and consultation with licensed speech language pathologists and board certified behavior analysts.
When is Therapy Needed?
Children might need speech-language therapy for a variety of reasons, including, but not limited to:
• Hearing impairments
• Cognitive (intellectual, thinking) or other developmental delays
• Chronic hoarseness
• Birth defects such as cleft lip or cleft palate
• Social skill deficits
• Motor planning problems
• Articulation problems
• Fluency disorders
• Feeding and swallowing disorders
• Traumatic brain injury
Early intervention is ideal when a speech or language disorder is first suspected, however, children or adults at any age may benefit from speech therapy.