The development of speech is an important milestone as your child grows up. They begin to express themselves which is important for connecting with people and the world. Sometimes issues arise as this skill develops that can hinder their progress, so it’s important to know the ideal time to seek help. But your children may not be the only ones who could benefit from a speech and language therapist, problems can also arise from injury or illness affecting other family members. Let’s explore the role of a speech and language therapist and how or when they could best serve you.
Who needs speech and language therapy?
A child who is struggling with the production of certain sounds. A lisp or rhotacism (inability to pronounce an “r” sound) may seem endearing at first, but if they don’t grow out of it, they may require speech therapy. The earlier you treat this, the better, otherwise it can be hard for them to unlearn speech patterns, and it could affect their adult life. If your child appears to have difficulties understanding language or communicating themselves, they may require language therapy. Speech and language therapists even work with non-verbal children and adults as it can help them to better communicate and improve language, reading and social skills.
A baby with feeding problems can be a huge worry, but speech and language therapists can also help with this. Here, the therapist will focus on different oral exercises and massages to engage the muscles associated with swallowing. Such oral-motor therapy is not limited to babies, nor to feeding problems.
Finally, someone who has suffered an injury or illness impairing brain function, such as a stroke, or even loss of hearing with age, may require speech and language rehabilitation. Having a family member go through this can be very difficult to deal with, but the speech and language therapists will be there to help them.
Who does the job
The person looking after your loved ones as a speech and language therapist will be someone who enjoys engaging with people of all ages. Their strong points will be communicating, teamwork, and solving the unique problems around each of their patients. The demand for people in this profession is steadily increasing as the baby boomer generation ages.
For a successful career as a speech and language therapist, you must hold yourself strongly to the above values. You will need to attain a recognised health care degree and register with the Health & Care Professional Council before you can seek speech and language therapy jobs.
In the case of your children needing a speech and language therapist, it could be just a small blip in their development, best dealt with as early as possible. However, in the distressing event that an older family member requires such help after an illness or injury, having a life insurance policy in place could be a great relief; check out my earlier post on when best to take out your policy. In all honesty, you never know when a life changing event is around the corner, so the earlier is always the better!