• AM Plus Issue 5

An inside into the World of Speech Therapy

Ritika Bhat 27th September 2020

Rama Kaushik, CCC-SLP ASHA certified and TX licensed Speech Therapist with over ten years of experience, helps children reach their speech and language potential. She has extensive experience working in public schools, outpatient clinics, and early childhood intervention. Speaking to us in an exclusive talk, Kaushik gave us insights about speech therapy, what causes speech delay, and other things connected with speech therapy.

Rama Kaushik in a session (Source: archspeechcenter.com)

Speech therapy is the evaluation and treatment of communication and speech disorders. It is practised by speech-language pathologists — also known as speech therapists. Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder, Language Delay, Learning Disabilities, Speech delay, Stuttering, Attention Difficulties, Dyslexia, and chromosomal abnormalities benefit tremendously from early speech-language detection and intervention.

Speech delay can happen in any way. For the most part, sadly, kids are born with it. It can also occur due to any sort of traumatic brain injury. “When a child is born with it, it is referred to as speech delay whereas when caused as a consequence of an accident, it is an impairment,” said Kaushik. Speech impairment in adults can be caused by accidents or strokes. Patients who have suffered from strokes face speech-language impairment. Along with the pain that Parkinson's and Alzheimer’s cause people around the world, the speech of these patients can also be affected.

Parents are in denial and anguish when approached with the update that their child needs therapy. Kaushik deeply believes that “being a therapist, one should sympathize with the parents without being judgmental and educate them about speech delay and speech therapy.” Therapy is a team effort. It is joining forces of people who have immense love for the child and want to see them bring out the best in them. Involving parents in the process helps both the parents and the child. Short-term objectives are fixed for the children by the therapist and the parents together. This helps to keep track of their progress after every session and makes the therapist and parents believe that the child is getting better, which is always uplifting.

According to the age of the child, reasonable and attainable goals are set. These goals are discussed with the parents in detail and further divided into small-term objectives. Kaushik is of the opinion that ‘consistency is the key to see improvement’. Encouraging the child during therapy sessions, and the parents following up with the child after the session is vital to achieving the goals set.

Speech therapists rooms are quite inviting and kid-friendly. According to Kaushik, “investing in toys and activities that would be interesting to a three-year-old as well as a thirteen-year-old makes adjusting to a new environment easier.” She also recommends keeping the sessions colourful and lively so children do not realize they are in fact working.

Therapists like Rama Kaushik often go unnoticed for their hard work and the amazing contribution towards society. They are helping, cheering, calming, nurturing, and teaching. The lack of understanding about speech therapy needs to be spoken about, as a part of the society needs speech therapy, but are unaware about it.

(Source – Telephone Interview with Rama Kaushik by Ritika Bhat, archspeechcenter.com) Edited by Meghna Venkatesh

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