A speech therapist is a health professional who focuses on helping individuals who may have disorders related to speaking and language. A majority of the patients speech therapists work have a tendency to stutter, speak with improper rhythms, or in tones or volumes that are considered inappropriate. Causes of these speech problems can be stress or anxiety, and in other cases can be results of brain injury or strokes. Speech therapy techniques vary depending on patients' individual needs. Some common speech therapy techniques are to meet with other health specialists discuss potentially beneficial exercises and to experiment patiently with various activities and monitor a patient's improvement.
Most speech disorders are symptomatic of other problems. For example, many individuals who experience stuttering may also be diagnosed with anxiety disorders. Problems speaking clearly and with the correct rhythm can often be the result of neurological problems caused by stroke or brain injury. For these reasons, many speech therapy techniques require a therapist to communicate with other health professionals to monitor a patient's progress and discuss exercises from which a patient might benefit.
A speech therapist also communicates with a patient's family members and loved ones. He or she can educate these parties in how they can participate in healing or recovery processes. A therapist can also demonstrate some speech therapy techniques that can be practiced from home.
One activity commonly performed by speech therapists is to allow a patient to speak about something he or she likes or has interest in. A therapist can encourage a patient to focus on certain sounds or speech patterns with which he or she may be struggling. This can be an effective technique since a patient may be more driven to communicate clearly an idea that he or she believes is important.
Another of the commonly used speech therapy techniques requires a therapist to make lists of words or phrases with which a patient has difficulty. At the beginning of each session, a therapist can show a patient these words and encourage him or her to speak them correctly. Many specialists believe that this technique is effective since it helps patients practically to apply speech therapy to words and phrases that he or she uses each day.
A technique that many therapists find is especially beneficial for children is to teach them that they are not the only ones with speech problems. Therapists can show patients web pages and forums for individuals who stutter and suffer from other speech impediments. This can relieve a great deal of anxiety in patients, which in turn can improve their speech.