Saint Joseph's University

Helping Children Overcome Communication Disorders

Speech language pathologists (SLPs) have a great job. They find ways to help those who have difficulty communicating do so with increasing strength. While their work is needed for many people from all walks of life, it is most welcome for special needs men, women, and children.

Children are a particular focus for specific communication disorders. One of the facts this short video brings out is that 8 percent of children between 3 and 17 were diagnosed with such a disorder in 2014-2015. That’s not a small number.

It takes specialized training to bring into use a variety of tools and therapy methods to improve talking, listening and articulation. Not doing the work correctly the first time around can require significant adjustment later on in life.

Cognitive communication disorders cover many ways people take in and deliver information. Articulation disorders, particularly the difficulty of speaking certain vowel or consonant sounds, are one of the most challenging areas of communication disorders overall.

An SLP must have the skills to work with parents and teachers to help create lesson plans and design curriculum that help build better communication and articulation skills for the student. The plans can of course help teachers and future students in similar situations.

Beyond speech, improvement in any of the five basic senses opens doors to increased development opportunities, the same as any child goes through. St. Joseph’s University online Special Education master’s degree builds constructive strategies for teachers and other professionals to have a direct influence on special needs boys and girls.

In the last year, nearly 8 percent of children between the ages of 3 and 17 were diagnosed with a communication disorder. Problems with articulation, fluency, resonance, and comprehension can hinder a child's ability to express his or her thoughts. Certain cognitive communication disorders can also affect a child's memory recall, attention span, and problem solving abilities.

Speech language pathologists, sometimes called speech therapists, provide focused and coordinated efforts to help children overcome such disorders. The activities and therapies utilized by SLPs vary, depending on the type of communication disorder and the success or failure of previous treatment efforts. SLPs may stimulate language development using pictures, books, objects, or through talking and playing. Repetition exercises may also be used to build language skills.

Articulation disorders, a general term that refers to difficulties producing consonants and vowels, are typically treated through play activities in which the SLP models the correct sounds and syllables in different words and sentences. SLPs who engage in articulation therapy will also physically show the child how to make certain sounds by demonstrating how to move the lips, tongue, and jaw.

Cognitive communication disorders are addressed through memory retraining, cognitive reorganization, language enhancement, and efforts to improve abstract thinking. Pathologists not only use these techniques when working with children, but also working with the child's parents, teachers, social workers, guidance counselors, physicians, and psychologists. Pathologists also work in conjunction with teachers and parents to design curriculums to help children achieve their academic and social goals.

Choosing a career path focused on addressing the needs of children with communication disorders enables you to have a direct influence on helping a child establish pride, better self-esteem, and stronger peer relationships, which will open the door for additional developmental opportunities.

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