If you’re like most parents, you probably think that speech therapy is good for just that: the literal act of speaking.
While it’s true that speaking is a big focus of speech therapy, the overall benefits for your little one go beyond that. Speech therapy is used to treat countless disorders today and can help your child excel in many areas of life.
To give you a real look into all the possibilities speech therapy holds for your child, here’s an extensive list of 20 benefits. Some of these might surprise you. So keep on reading.
1. Improve Pronunciation
Improving the pronunciation of certain words is one of the most common applications of speech therapy. While all kids pronounce words wrong when they’re young, most of them get better over time and perfect their pronunciation by the age of 8.
So if your child is still struggling to produce the notoriously tough R sound or is skipping certain syllables altogether, then a speech pathologist is exactly who you need.
2. Reduce Stuttering
As harmless as stuttering might seem, it’s actually more frustrating for your child than you think. Whether it’s the unintentional repetition of a word, sound, or even a syllable, these uncontrolled repetitions can leave your little one feeling embarrassed.
The good news is, three-quarters of all kids with stuttering outgrow it. But that doesn’t mean you should wait it out. Stuttering is frustrating and takes a toll on your child’s self-esteem over time. And that’s exactly where speech therapy comes in as it can help your child improve faster than ever.
3. Improve Expression in Speech
Another area where kids with speech and sound disorders struggle is expressing their personality through speech.
A licensed SLP can help you change that by helping your child articulate more precisely and clearly with the help of targeted exercises. Those exercises are aimed at strengthening muscles and practicing a range of sounds.
So speech therapy can help your child be understood clearly and express emotions more easily.
4. Soften Up Accent
Kids from diverse backgrounds can have thick accents that sometimes prove detrimental to their education and growth. That’s because some accents can be so thick that kids and even adults struggle to understand them.
In these specific cases, speech therapy can help a child with targeted exercises to improve their articulation and help them speak more clearly. This can result in a dramatic improvement in the quality of life for these kids.
5. Reduce Swallowing Difficulty
Swallowing difficulty not only affects the feeding habits of your child, but it can also have a lasting impact on their speech. That’s because kids with swallowing difficulty tend to lack enough control over their tongue and mouth to produce the right sounds.
A speech therapist can help here by creating a custom exercise plan to strengthen your child’s mouth, increase the range of tongue motion, and improve their chewing habits.
6. Treat Tongue Thrust
Tongue thrust is a behavioral problem where kids push their tongue forward against the front teeth when swallowing, speaking, or even when at rest.
The problem is, each tongue thrust exerts a pressure of almost 2 kilograms against the front teeth. Couple that with the fact that the average child swallows 2,000 times in a single day and you’ll see how this leads to not just speech problems but also misalignment between the front teeth.
Fortunately, speech therapists have all the skills and knowledge necessary to treat this condition, with significant results showing up in as little as 8-12 weeks only.
7. Enhance Non-Verbal Communication
Non-verbal communication is especially important for kids with autism. That’s because many kids on the spectrum struggle with communicating their wants and needs, which is equally challenging for parents to understand.
By enhancing your child’s non-verbal communication, ranging from hand gestures and eye contact to picture exchange systems, a speech therapist can help them express their needs and wants more clearly.
8. Boost Reading
From phonological awareness to fluency and reading comprehension, a speech therapist can help your child read more comfortably and eventually grow a love for it.
As your child becomes a better reader, you’ll automatically notice an uplift in many areas of their life, especially at school.
9. Expand Vocabulary
This ties up to our previous point. A speech therapist helps your child improve their reading fluency by boosting their speed, accuracy, and proper expression.
As your child becomes a better reader and is exposed to unfamiliar words daily as part of the exercise plan, their vocabulary instantly starts adding up.
10. Improve Listening Skills
Just like speech therapy helps your child talk to others more effectively, it can help them understand others too. The speech-language pathologist (SLP) achieves this by training your child to make eye contact and pay attention when talking to someone.
Apart from learning to pay attention, your child will boost his receptive language further by learning new words and ways to mix them to understand directions and answer questions.
In fact, those were just a few of the many ways an SLP will help improve your child’s listening skills.
11. Reduce Anxiety
While speech therapy can help reduce anxiety in many areas of life, the bulk of the improvement happens in the speech department. More specifically, the reduction in stuttering can dramatically reduce anxiety in kids and help them feel at ease when talking.
12. Build Confidence
Again, this ties into our previous point. Between a noticeable drop in stuttering, incorrect pronunciations, anxiety, and an uplift in vocabulary, comprehension, and vocal expression — speech therapy can be life-changing as far as your child’s confidence is concerned.
13. Practice Self-Regulation
High emotions and energy levels in kids are a painfully perfect recipe for self-control problems. This can hinder the child’s ability to sit down to study, follow directions, or even pay attention where needed.
Speech therapy can help your child improve self-regulation through routines and exercises that are designed for sensory, emotional, and cognitive regulation. Once your child improves in those three areas, their self-regulation goes up automatically.
14. Manage Time
As a busy parent, you know the importance of proper time management more than anyone. The good news is that speech therapy can help your child get better at estimating how much time a task is going to take and how to keep their time awareness up the whole time.
With the help of just those two skills alone, your child will learn to make better decisions when it comes to completing chores and reaching deadlines.
15. Master Organization
Once your child gets better at estimating the time required for different tasks, the speech therapist will help them learn how to break big projects into smaller tasks and then prioritize them based on importance and the time commitment needed.
As a result, your little one will become a master at organizing the things that matter from a young age.
16. Make Better Conversations
With their newly gained speech, communication, knowledge, and confidence, your child will find making conversations easier than ever. Better yet, each positive interaction will only boost their confidence and their skill in holding a more meaningful conversation the next time.
17. Improve Social Skills
The impact of elevated confidence, conversational ability, and knowledge on social skills is obvious at this point. But what you may not realize is that by mastering self-regulation as a part of speech therapy, your child learns to suppress rash impulses and acts appropriately in social situations.
18. Practice Teamwork
If you think about it, speech therapy is nothing more than a daily session of teamwork between the therapist, yourself, and your child. So speech therapy by its very nature instills the spirit and skills for teamwork in kids.
There are also many game activities designed to promote teamwork even further. These include games like Simon Says, Pop Up Pirate!, Zingo, Candy Land, and Jenga.
Then there’s group speech therapy, which takes the teamwork aspect to an entirely different level. As far as your child’s teamwork skills are concerned, speech therapy has got you covered.
19. Perform Better at School
This is another obvious area of improvement. With better reading, writing, and communication skills, along with the confidence to ask questions and the social skills to make friends, your child will have everything they need to excel at school.
20. Improve Cognitive Development
Here’s a fun fact. Our brain can physically change with experiences. So when speech therapy improves the speech and communication skills of your child, it automatically boosts the thinking and reasoning areas of your child’s brain.
As you may have noticed by now, all of these improvements work in a cycle where each leads to an uplift in another area. The end result is a healthier, happier, and successful future for your child.
If you’re ready to give your child the gift of speech therapy, get in touch with us today and let our expert SLPs guide the way.