If you’re new to Speech Therapy, you’ve probably got all kinds of questions in your mind about it, like…
“What happens in Speech Therapy?”
“What does a typical session involve?”
“What should I expect during a Speech Therapy session?”
“How does online therapy work?”
At Pop, we’re well-versed in Speech Therapy via Telehealth (it’s kind of our thing!). Let us put your mind at ease by answering these questions in today’s blog post!
Before we dive into what to expect in online Speech Therapy, let’s get back to basics and discovery what Speech Therapy really is, as well as who Speech Pathologists can help.
Speech Therapy (or Speech Pathology) is the assessment and treatment of communication and swallowing difficulties.
Speech Pathologists can provide support for a range of difficulties, including speaking, listening, reading, writing, social skills, stuttering, feeding, swallowing, voice, and using Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) methods (e.g. Key Word Sign, speech generating devices).
Speech Pathologists can provide therapy for children and adults, and support can be provided for difficulties that develop during childhood, as well as those that may occur in adulthood due to illness or injury (e.g. following a stroke).
When it comes to speech therapy, there is really is no ‘typical’ session! Speech therapy sessions look vastly different for different families, and even for the same families week-to-week!
In this blog, we’ll break down what an online speech therapy session might look like for various areas, including therapy for speech, therapy for early language, speech therapy for literacy, and speech therapy for adults.
What Does a Typical Session Look Like For Speech Difficulties?
Children may need speech therapy if they have difficulty making sounds (e.g. if they have a lisp) or if they substitute other sounds (e.g. saying “cat” as “tat”).
Children will often substitute difficult sounds for easier sounds as they develop speech. Your Speech Therapist will be able to tell you if your child has age-appropriate speech or if they may need speech therapy to support their speech development.
A typical therapy session for speech will involve lots of repetition! That’s because we know children learn new sounds best when they practice them as many times as possible.
Your therapist will also support your child to work through being able to make the sound by itself all the way up to using it in a sentence and conversation over the course of therapy.
To help your child practice the sound, your therapist will plan activities to motivate your child to practice the sound as many times as possible.
The type of activities chosen will depend on what motivates your child – it might be a competitive game of Snap, working towards having a turn of a game (e.g. Pop-Up Pirate), or working towards getting a shot at a basketball.
What Does a Typical Speech Therapy Session Look Like For Early Language?
Children may need support with their early language development if they are delayed in developing communication (i.e. if they haven’t started using or combining words by the expected age).
These sessions are always a lot of fun – because they need to be to keep the little ones interested!
Because we are working with children under the age of five, it’s essential that parents or other family members are involved in sessions. Early language sessions will usually involve parent coaching.
This is where the Speech Therapist teaches the parent a strategy to use and then supports them to use this in activities with their child.
Activities are usually play-based which means that we’ll work on our goals (e.g. learning new words) during play. Sometimes that might mean having a tea party, playing with a train set, or even jumping on the trampoline!
As we provide speech therapy over telehealth, this usually means the child is playing these games with Mum, Dad or another support person while the Speech Pathologist models language and coaches the family to use strategies to support the child’s language.
What Does a Typical Speech Therapy Session Look Like For Literacy?
People may need support with literacy if they have difficulty reading and /or writing. These sessions usually look very different from our early literacy sessions as we are working with older children or adults.
Working on literacy also means we need to practice reading and writing, which does mean sitting at a table or desk so we can do this!
During a typical literacy session, you or your child might first practice decoding (sounding out) and encoding (spelling) words and then applying skills to functional activities like writing a sentence or short story, or reading a story.
Activities will be chosen by your therapist to build on current skills. We’ll also try to incorporate your or your child’s interests as much as we can.
For example, we can often apply our reading practice to try to read a book chosen by you or your child, or about something that is interesting to them – this helps make literacy fun, and motivating! And of course, we always break up the hard work with a game!
What Does a Typical Speech Therapy Session Look Like For Adults?
Adults may need speech therapy for developmental communication difficulties that they have experienced since birth, or acquired communication difficulties following an illness or injury (e.g. brain injury).
A typical speech pathology session for adults will usually look quite different to a session for a child – there’s usually a lot fewer games! Instead, your therapist will work with you and/or your support person to plan goals that are important to you and motivating for you.
Therapy materials will be planned to ensure they will support you to work towards your goals as well as being of interest to you. We do this by getting to know you as a person so that therapy is individualised to you and is personally motivating.
There Isn’t a ‘One Size Fits All’ Option When it Comes to Speech Therapy
While there are some similarities depending on what you are accessing speech therapy for, a typical speech therapy session looks different for each person.
Our clients make the best progress towards their goals when sessions are planned around their individual goals, interests, and strengths (as well as being lots of fun)!
If you know someone in your life that might benefit from Speech Therapy, book in your Free Consultation with one of our Speechies today to ask all your burning questions and receive advice on the best next steps for your family.