Speech Therapy

Learning a Precious Skill

For many different reasons, many people have difficulty with the physical elements of speech. Speech therapists are trained to help overcome problems rooted in a range of causes, including various degrees of deafness, neurological difficulty, brain injury, or developmental delays. Using methods to help patients understand the act of creating sound, and using sound to form words, speech therapists provide vital help for those with remediable forms of speech impairment.

Information About Speech Therapy

  • Speech therapy, a long-standing therapeutic profession.
  • Who uses speech therapy?

A Long History

Speech is one of the most vital communications skills, thus to suffer a speech impairment can place individuals at a great disadvantage. Various forms of speech therapy and speech correction date back centuries. Speech therapy studies first became recognized and respected during the late 19th and early 20th centuries, when a wide selection of influences came together to promote the disciplined study and support of speech. Methods of scientific observation, interest in treatment for the deaf, concern with the social integration of immigrants and their children, concern with public education – all combined to support the development of a profession aimed at helping people speak well, in spite of various challenges.

Speech therapy combines diagnostic skills and teaching skills. A speech therapist has been trained to recognize the many causes of speech impediment, including physical, developmental, neurological, and social. They are also trained to determine the most productive methods of treatment. These can range from work with technological visualizing tools, allowing the deaf to “see” the sounds they produce and compare them to those of unimpaired speakers, to basic practice techniques used to promote clear speech. The profession is among the most fully developed, deeply integrated, and well regulated of the therapeutic professions. Licensing and certification, connection with schools and medical professionals, and acceptance from the public make speech therapy an admired career.

Who Can Benefit from Speech Therapy?

Almost anyone could benefit; however those most likely to be referred to a speech therapist are those suffering from a speech impairment. Children with lisps and stutters, or non-standard vocal expressions are commonly referred through schools. Many deaf and hearing-impaired individuals are exposed to speech therapy at some time during their development. Adults who experience difficulty speaking clearly and exactly may make use of a speech therapist for diagnostic help, and for treatment later if both they and the therapist consider the difficulty one that can be addressed with therapeutic training and technique.

Speech therapy and vocal training, or speech training, aren’t the same, though a speech therapist may deal in all of the above, or a patient may pursue all. Speech therapy addresses specific speech impediments: problems in speaking that interfere with the capacity to speak properly. Vocal training deals with the production of sound from the lungs and diaphragm up through the vocal chords and into the headspace: it’s in many ways a study of human acoustics. Speech training, used by many people with highly public careers, from politicians to actors, from teachers to ministers, is focused on how the voice and capability of speech are channeled, through words, projection, diction, and dialect.

Finding a Speech Therapist

In many instances, if you or someone you know is in need of a speech therapist, the fastest way to start finding referrals is through the school system, through local services for the deaf, and through pediatric offices. While other sources may provide information, these three referring sources deal regularly with speech therapists for many different people and problems.


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