Speech therapy for toddlers is a form of pediatric speech therapy which is focused specifically on providing services to toddlers. Since language acquisition often occurs at a very high rate among toddlers, speech therapy for toddlers can be highly beneficial for toddlers who have developmental disabilities which impair language acquisition or utilization. This service is usually provided by a pediatric speech therapist who has received special training in providing speech therapy services to children.
Developmental disorders which involve speech and language can be very disabling if they are not addressed. The process of language acquisition plays an important role in brain development, and children who do not receive early interventions for speech disorders may suffer later in life as a result. They can experience difficulties in communication, have trouble understanding or using language, or experience other types of developmental delays. Speech therapy for toddlers addresses speech disorders early in life to promote healthy intellectual development.
Some toddlers can benefit from group speech therapy, in which they work with a group of children of a similar age and level of ability to address speech disorders. Other forms of speech therapy for toddlers may be private. The speech therapy includes a consultation to determine the severity and cause of a speech disorder, and to develop a treatment plan. Speech therapy for toddlers often involves the parents as well, with parents supervising or assisting with speech exercises at home to supplement the speech therapy techniques used during sessions with the therapist.
Speech therapy activities for toddlers are quite varied, and customized to the patient. The techniques which work for adults are not usually as effective in children, because they are not tailored to the growing mind, and as a result, a speech-language pathologist needs to create an individualized approach for the patient. Activities can include training to help children overcome physical abnormalities which interfere with speech, along with sessions which are designed to promote language acquisition, show children how to use language, and increase comprehension of spoken communications.
Parents interested in pediatric speech therapy services may want to start by asking for a referral from their pediatricians. Many pediatricians have established relationships with speech-language pathologists, and the pediatrician may be able to recommend an excellent therapist with a good track record. Patients can also seek consultations with other specialists, taking advantage of online reviews and other resources to find therapists with good reputations. Parents may want to consider special issues, like accompanying disabilities which may pose a challenge to a speech therapist or the desire to receive speech therapy at home, when interviewing potential speech therapists for their toddlers.