Speech therapist, or logopaedist, is a very essential and, at the same time, simple profession. Logopaedist is not a medical expert, but a pedagogue. Speech therapies involve correction of diction in children and adults, eliminating speech shortcomings, like stuttering, burring, lisping, etc. As a rule, a treatment course includes certain exercise, massages and other methods that improve articulation.
There is a widely spread opinion that the speech therapist deals with corrections in sound reproduction only. In reality, range of problems, that the speech therapist solves, is much broader. This specialist is committed to improving the syllabic structure of the word, improving the skills of sound analysis and synthesis, expanding and enriching children’s vocabulary, improving grammatical structure of the speech, developing coherent speech, teaching literacy, preventing and correcting mistakes in writing and reading.
Since the speech is a complicated mental process, the speech therapist’s work is closely linked to the development of mental processes in children. With the help of the speech therapist the kids improve their attention and memory. Visual and auditory perception also goes up. The therapist helps to achieve better abilities in considering and memorizing facts. Great progress is seen in general and fine motor skills.
To make sure that the child will be provided with qualified assistance, the teacher-speech therapist have to get special medical qualification in several aspects: anatomy and physiology of speech organs, and neuropathology. Otherwise, it is impossible to make the right diagnosis, determine the treatment method and choose the correct therapy.
There is a whole list of speech disorders, that are commonly seen in both adults and children. Some of them are the following:
1) violations of sound pronunciation (dyslalia, dysarthria, rhinolalia);
2) disturbances in the rhythm and pace of speech (tachilalia, bradilia, stammering);
3) violations of the voice (dysphonia, aphonia);
4) underdevelopment of speech or loss of speech (alalia, aphasia);
5) violations of written speech (dysgraphia, dyslexia).
As you may see, there are plenty of cases, where the therapists can be involved. It is commonly believed, though, that instead of dealing with a lot of problems at a time, one therapist should specialize in one or two narrow aspects of speech defects.
If you see that your child is having difficulty speaking or pronouncing sounds, do not hesitate to contact a doctor. Timely diagnosis and treatment will provide better chances to faster get rid of the speech defects. Needles to say, it is important to keep working with the child even at home: play games, revise what the child was doing by the doctor, and simply communicate with him or her.