The pillars of Speech Therapy
The pillars of the Key to CP approach that are based on principals of motor learning and neuroplasticity are also relevant to improving oral motor skills for speech production in children with motor differences.
The goal of speech therapy sessions during our intensive programs varies based on each child’s needs. Some common targets may include expanding the length of a child’s sentences as he learns to activate and coordinate respiration, phonation, and articulation more efficiently; maintaining lip closure and managing saliva during a variety of functional communication activities; or FINALLY eliminating speech sound errors that have been targeted in traditional speech therapy for the past two years. The focus is to help the child communicate and participate more effectively during social interactions with peers and adults.
The fundamentals are the same. Physical therapy sessions provide the foundation by establishing central or trunk alignment and body awareness. In speech therapy sessions, we use that base to improve awareness of the speech mechanism and teach children how to activate and maintain specific oral motor movements within functional articulation activities. Because children with motor impairments often have differences in sensory feedback from their muscles, we use a variety of feedback methods to help teach new motor patterns and immediately support generalization and retention of the skills. Through novel experiences and practice, we work to rewire the brain for new oral motor patterns in order to improve speech performance and enhance social interactions. The same learning principles applied to a different developmental domain have an equally amazing impact on function.
To check out a case study highlighting speech therapy at Key to CP, click here.