When most people think of speech therapy, they generally think of students in a school that have trouble with phonemic awareness getting help pronouncing letters. While this is a common look that speech therapy, it actually takes many different forms and helps many different populations. Below is a summary of those who speech therapy can help, and the ways in which it can help them.

People with Autism

Autism is a developmental disability that affects people academically, emotionally, and socially. Since autism comes on a spectrum, different people with autism have different needs. Autism can affect people’s ability to learn how to speak, and even render some people non-verbal. While many people with autism will require a combination of therapies, speech therapy is certainly one of them. A speech therapist can do a lot for someone with autism, depending on their needs. For one, pediatric speech therapists may do lip exercises with a child, helping them to articulate words. They can also do exercises such as teaching speech through song to help people with autism learn to speak expressively. They can also introduce other methods of communication to help people that struggle a lot with speaking, such as picture boards, sign language, computerized speech programs, and more.

Stroke Victims

According to Senatobia Health Care, about 40% of stroke victims’ ability to communicate is affected in some way. Some victims lose their ability to speak, a condition called aphasia. Immediate help from a speech therapist can help these victims regain their ability to speak, at least to some degree. A therapist will first have to diagnose the damage done to the patient’s brain. Depending on the severity of the damage and the type of struggles dealt with by the patient, the therapist will develop a certain program for them. With hard work and family involvement, a speech therapist will help the stroke victim communicate.

People With Hearing Loss

Research has shown that around 36 million people nationally have some amount of hearing loss. Many of these people were born with it. According to an article written by a woman with hearing loss, there are four main benefits of speech therapy for children who have hearing loss. The first listed is, unsurprisingly, speech and listening. She goes on to expand that her hearing loss made pronunciation very difficult. The therapist helped her develop her phonemic awareness, that is, her ability to produce the correct sounds that each letter was supposed to make. Reading visual cues helped her learn how to be part of a conversation, a skill she also acquired from speech therapy.
The benefits of phonemic awareness extended beyond conversation. Learning how words were pronounced helped expand her vocabulary, opening her up to learning. Being able to define words allowed her to improve her reading and writing skills. This help communicating and learning allowed her to be able to ask for help, something that she had previously struggled with. She also noted that a large part of her therapist’s impact on her was the support she was offered in her sessions. The comfort she took knowing that her therapist cared was very helpful, and it can help you/your child as well.