Speech Therapists

Speech pathologists or speech therapists are trained in treating communication disorders. These disorders can be mild or severe. They can range from slight difficulty with a certain sound (such as the "r" sound or the "th" sound) to severely delayed speech.

Communication disorders can be brought on by a number of triggering events, including (but not limited to) developmental delays in children and young adults, learning and intellectual disabilities, hearing loss, trauma, stroke, ear infections, brain injuries, illness, cerebral palsy, and dementia. Other aggravating factors that may make speech pathology more likely include:

  • Premature birth
  • Family history of speech disorders
  • Malnourishment
  • Autism
  • Down syndrome

Many problems can result in affected speech and language for which speech therapy can be useful.

A speech therapist works with people who have difficulty communicating because of developmental delays, stroke, brain injuries, learning disability, intellectual disability, cerebral palsy, dementia and hearing loss, as well as other problems that can affect speech and language. People who experience difficulties swallowing food and drink (dyshphagia) can also be helped by speech therapy via a trained language pathologist.

Aside from communication disorders, many speech therapists also work with people who have difficulty swallowing food or drink. This issue is called dysphagia. The consequences of dysphagia can be severe, including malnutrition, dehydration, and choking.

The issues treated by a speech therapist can be broken down into the following categories:

  • Speech Sounds (Articulation Disorder; Phonological Disorder; Apraxia of Speech; Dysarthria)
  • The way sounds are put into words
  • Cognitive-Communication May involve issues of memory or attention
  • Language (Adult Aphasia)
  • Understanding what is read or heard and communicating thoughts
  • Voice Understanding how our voices sound (talking too loudly or sounding hoarse)
  • Literacy Reading, spelling, and writing ability can also be affected by speech disorders
  • Social Communication (Pragmatics)
  • Difficulty following rules, including unspoken social rules such as taking turns talking or standing too close while speaking
  • Fluency (Stuttering)
  • Difficulty with the proper flow of speech which can include repetitive sounds (stuttering) or the overuse of pauses or sounds like "um" or "uh"
  • Feeding and Swallowing (Dysphagia; Adult Dysphagia)
  • Difficulty with the ability to chew and swallow food and drink

If you or a loved one is experiencing any of these difficulties, it is advisable to reach out to a qualified speech or language therapist to improve the issue. Some speech therapists focus on both adult needs as well as children's services, or they may specialise in only one or the other. Be sure to reach out to a language therapist who can best cater to your language therapy needs.

Language Therapy Early Years Resource

It can be stressful for parents when they begin to suspect their child may have a language disorder. Surprisingly, speech and language problems can affect up to one in twelve children. It is most common for parents to begin to notice issues when the child begins to socialise or when they learn to read and write.

Some signs to look out for include:

  • If your child is using fewer words than their friends
  • Babies that don't babble by age 7 months
  • Not speaking or speaking very few words by age 17 months
  • Difficulty playing and communicating with other children at ages two to three

If you are seeing clear signs of language disorder, it's best to contact a professional speech therapist and enrol your child in language therapy services.

Language Therapy Service Surrey

For children with language therapy needs, Chattertots is an excellent service provider within the Surrey community. Chattertots provides private therapy for children at a variety of locations, including:

  • Home-based clinics
  • Schools
  • Your home
  • Teletherapy

Chattertots is run by Louise Hibbert. Louise is a fully qualified speech and language therapist specialising in children between the ages of 2 and 11 years.