It’s often thought that speech therapy mainly involves targeting speech sounds and stuttering. While this does make up a lot of our goals and activities in speech sessions, Speech Pathology is a very wide area and can target a range of things. Speech therapy can target speech sounds, understanding and using words/sentences (language), social skills (i.e., turn taking, emotions, perspective taking), feeding/swallowing, communicating using different methods (i.e., augmentative alternative communication) and reading and spelling in both paediatric and adult populations.
You’re probably still asking, but what does this all look like and what are some common goals you would likely see being targeted in a speech therapy session. Well … look no further, here are some common goals for each practice area:
Language (i.e., understanding concepts/sentences and using words/sentences to communicate):
- Increasing an individual’s understanding of concepts and instructions
- Helping an individual to understand and use grammatically sentences to aid their communication of their needs, wants, thoughts and opinions
- Supporting an individual to understand, answer and ask a range of questions
- Increasing an individual’s vocabulary so they can identify and name objects
- Supporting an adult who has experienced a brain injury, like a stroke, regain their skills to find words in conversation so they can fluently express their needs and wants, read/spell as well as supporting them in functional tasks such as reading bus schedules, writing a resume etc.
Speech (i.e., producing speech sounds in isolation, in words, sentences and conversations)
- Supporting a child to produce sounds they cannot say in isolation, in words and in sentences.
- Supporting an individual to produce sounds in a range of positions in words (e.g., at the start of words, in the middle and at the end of words)
- Increasing an individual’s speech clarity by helping them learn the rules of the speech sound system. For example, training an individual to not drop off sounds at the end of words (e.g., ‘ca’ for ‘cat’
- Supporting an individual to use social greetings and take turns during play and conversations
- Supporting an individual to understand social rules and expectations during games
- Helping an individual to use conversation repair strategies (e.g., asking for repetition, asking someone to speak louder)
Fluency (i.e., stuttering)
- To assist an individual to communicate using stutter-free speech in sentences and conversation using a stuttering approach that is suitable for them (e.g., Lidcombe program, Camperdown program).
- Increasing an individual’s exploration and tolerance of a range of foods
- Supporting an individual’s oro-motor skills (e.g., chewing skills, movement of the tongue etc) during oral preparation.
- Using swallowing exercises to strengthen the muscles used during swallowing to reduce the risk of food or fluid entering the airway
- Developing strategies that an individual can use to ensure mealtimes are comfortable and safe
Literacy (i.e., reading and writing)
- Supporting an individual’s understanding of the sounds letters can make (letter-sound correspondence)
- Helping an individual read and write a range of words
- Helping an individual with certain skills such as rhyming and counting syllables in words
Augmentative and Alternative Communication
- Identifying a communication method (e.g., picture boards, signing, speech generated device) that can support an individual’s communication with a range of communication partners.
This is just a small taster of some of the range of practice areas that Speech Pathologists work with and some of the speech goals that we can target in our speech therapy sessions. If you have any questions about speech therapy goals, please reach out to us via our contact us tab here: https://www.hanrahanhealth.com.au/contact-us