Speech and Language Therapy (SLT) is a specialist treatment for children who have difficulties with speech, language and communication. SLT helps children to communicate better, improving all aspects of the child’s life. (Sometimes, speech and language therapists also work with children with eating or swallowing difficulties).
Almost 1 in 11 children, aged 5 years, have a speech and language difficulty. Speech and language needs are the commonest type of special educational need in children aged 4-11 years old.
Speech and language disorders are sometimes seen on their own (primary) and at other times accompanying other conditions such as Autism, Intellectual disability and Down’s syndrome (secondary).
Our specialist speech and language therapists can work with children and young people up to the age of 17 years. Ideally, treatment should be started as early as possible and the younger the child, the better the outcomes.
In working with children and families, our speech and language therapists will:
- Carry out a thorough assessment of a child’s speech, language and communication needs, including specialist assessments if required.
- Develop personalised therapy plans
- Work closely with the family to implement home programs
- Collaborate with and provide advice to schools to support the child’s communication needs and therapy plan
- Refer to other professionals if needed
How does speech and language therapy work?
- Our speech and language therapists work with a child individually or in a small group. They work closely with the child’s parents.
- They usually provide one or both of the following interventions:
- Language activities: The SLT will interact and communicate with a child by playing and talking using pictures, books or objects to stimulate language development. They will do exercises with the child to build language skills.
- Articulation activities: The SLT will model and demonstrate correct sounds and syllables in words and sentences for a child, often during play activities. The SLT will show the child how to make specific sounds that the child is struggling with.
Does my child need speech and language therapy?
If your child has any of the following difficulties, speech and language therapy is likely to be of help.
- Articulation disorder: Problems with making sounds or saying words incorrectly such that it is sometimes or often difficult to understand what they child is saying.
- Fluency disorder: Problems with the flow of speech such as seen in stuttering
- Receptive language disorder: The child struggles to get the meaning of what is said to them. The child may have problems with understanding or processing language.
- Expressive language disorder: is a difficulty with using words to communicate effectively. Children with expressive language disorder may have difficulty putting words together, may leave words out of sentences, get word tense mixed up or have a limited vocabulary. They may be unable to use language in a socially appropriate way.
Therapy should begin as soon as possible. Children who start therapy early (before they are 5 years old) tend to have better results than those who begin later. This doesn't mean that older children won't do well in therapy, but their progress might be slower.
Parents are key to the success of a child's progress in speech or language therapy. Children who benefit the most are those whose parents are actively involved.
For further information about our Children and Adolescent Services call today on: (+971) 4 245 3800 (Dubai) / (+971) 2 651 8111 (Abu Dhabi) or submit an enquiry form in confidence. We will provide you with details on all our treatments and offer help on how to support your child's or teenager's mental health and wellbeing.