Speech Therapy Aids in Reading Skills
When children are sent to speech therapy, there is often this idea that they only need help with physical speech. Most of these children are special needs and their issues span over every aspect of life. When it comes to reading, these children are also struggling to learn and retain information, let alone find enjoyment in reading. Fortunately, speech pathologists are in the unique position to help them learn to read, read well, and even enjoy it.
One of the more common issues that many special needs children face is dyslexia. Dyslexia causes issues with the written word, which makes it difficult to write as well as read the words. Occasionally, we will see this issue pop up with numbers in math and in remembering number patterns, such as a phone number. This can lead to issues with learning new vocabulary, following directions that are heard or read, reading comprehension, and even learning songs. All of it depends on the severity of the learning disability and does require a diagnosis. Speech pathologists play a big part in determining if there is a learning disability, but it eventually takes a team of family and educators to investigate the possibility of dyslexia.
Treating the learning issues span over a variety of techniques. Ultimately, goals are set with the child and core issues (i.e. comprehension) are targeted. Programs are completely individualized so that there is no wasting time covering an issue that isn’t the child’s issue at hand. For school-aged children, this often means that their schoolwork is used in treatment. Their textbooks are used for reading activities. Their written assignments correlate with practicing vocabulary and corrective writing. Any successful techniques that the speech therapist teaches the child can be applied to their everyday life, especially for school.
Intervening with spoken communication is a popular technique to help combat the learning disability and keep the child learning in a multitude of ways. That may include listening to a story and then verbally or writing a summary of the story they just heard. Or they could work through a series of questions to help them focus on their comprehension and utilize writing skills to improve.
Articulation is a highly-recommended tool in speech therapy and this can be used to improve reading and comprehension. While the child is practicing speech through repeating the vocabulary they are learning, they can learn to read it from a list at the same time.
Overall, most parents report seeing a significant improvement in reading and writing skills in their special needs child after utilizing speech therapy. Even in cases in which no formal diagnosis of learning disability is in place, the child enrolled in speech therapy often learns techniques that subsequently help their reading abilities.