Some kids have trouble saying certain sounds or words. This can be frustrating because others may have trouble understanding what they’re trying to say. The good news is that kids who have trouble saying certain sounds or understanding others can go to speech therapists for help
Speech therapists help people of all ages with different speech and language disorders, such as:
- articulation disorders – if you have trouble saying certain sounds or saying words correctly, it’s called an articulation disorder. “Run” might come out as “won.” Or “say” may sound like “thay”. Lisps are considered articulation disorders
- fluency disorders – if you repeat certain sounds and have trouble saying the complete word, you may have fluency disorder. For example, trying to say “story” might get stuck on the “st” and say “st-st-st-story.” Or you might draw out certain sounds and say “ssssssstory.” A stutter is a fluency disorder
- resonance or voice disorders – you might have a voice disorder if other people have trouble understanding you. Some people may start a sentence loud and clear, but it’s quiet and mumbling by the end. Sometimes these people sound like they have a cold or like they’re talking through their noses
Lots of kids see speech therapists. It’s a great way to learn to speak more clearly.
What’s It Like?
On a first visit to a speech therapist, you will probably have to take a speaking test. Don’t worry, it’s not like a test in school that’s going to affect your report card. This test is a way of finding out what types of speech problems you may have. You’ll be asked to say certain sounds and words. These may be recorded and the therapist might write some stuff down during the test. The test will help the therapist figure out your needs and decide what treatments are needed.
The “treatment” for speech problems is practice. If the trouble is with articulation or fluency, the therapist will spend time showing you how to make the proper sounds. The therapist will demonstrate the sounds and ask you to try to copy them. That means copying the way the therapist moves the lips, mouth and tongue to make the right sound.
Mirrors can be helpful here. The therapist might ask you to make these sounds while looking in the mirror. Some therapists use games to make this practice more fun.
If your therapist is helping you with a language disorder, your sessions may seem a little like school. He or she will help you with grammar — how to put words together properly to form clear statements and thoughts. If you have difficulties with understanding what you hear, you may play games that work on these skills, such as Simon Says.