speech therapy

definition

Logopedics is a medical and therapeutic field that deals with the diagnosis as well as the therapy of speech, voice, swallowing or hearing disorders of patients of all age groups. Using special exercises, speech therapists try to find out the complexity of the disorder and improve their ability to communicate, as well as any possible dysphagia. Speech therapy is based on the cooperation of the patient in regular sessions to learn specific exercises that are specially adapted to the present disorder, and to apply. Medicines are not included in the treatment.

Who benefits from speech therapy?

As part of a logopedic treatment, various disorders can be diagnosed and treated. Speech therapy benefits patients of all ages suffering from a speech, voice, swallowing or hearing impairment. Depending on the age and the present disorder, the therapy concepts - and goals must be individually adjusted.

The areas of application of speech therapy can differ significantly in childhood and adulthood. Children benefit from the logopedic treatment, especially in the context of language development and articulation disorders.

Speech and language comprehension develops in children in a particular order with particular milestones that should be achieved in a given amount of time.
If this is delayed or faulty, it can lead to a significant linguistic backlog and an increased risk of reading and writing difficulties. Similarly, children with an articulation disorder, such as lisp, benefit from a speech therapy treatment. It is also noticeable in these children that they have an additional dysphagia in addition to the lisp.

In children who suffer from hearing impairment, delayed speech development often develops during the course of the speech, as it affects both the ability to speak, as well as concept-making and speech comprehension. They too can improve their communication skills through speech therapy. In addition, speech therapy can also help children with disturbances of speech flow, such as stuttering, or with disturbances of speech production due to congenital malformations.

In adults speech, speech and voice disorders occur mainly in the context of damage to the brain. These may occur, for example, as a result of traumatic brain injury, stroke, tumor or degenerative disease such as multiple sclerosis or Parkinson 's. The logopaedic treatment in these patients can improve the speech production, the speech motor skills and possibly existing dysphagia.

How does the logopedic treatment work?

The logopedic treatment can be started acutely during a hospital stay, in a rehab clinic or even as an outpatient in a speech therapy practice.

At the beginning of each treatment, a detailed diagnosis to clarify the present disorder is made. Through targeted tests, the treating speech therapist examines which areas of speech are impaired and, above all, to what extent these disorders are present.

In conjunction with the medical findings, the results of the tests form the basis for the planning of the individually tailored to the patient therapy concept.

The logopedic treatment can take a long time and is based on different exercises and techniques. Essential components are different speech, breathing and swallowing exercises, as well as the development of certain motor speaking techniques. Special emphasis is placed on the detailed counseling of patients and their relatives about the disease, the causes and possible treatment goals.

In addition, instructions should be given on how to carry out the exercises independently so that the success of the therapy can be further improved. How quickly the desired treatment success is achieved depends not only on the present disorder and the extent, but also on the cooperation of the patients and their relatives and requires a lot of patience and perseverance. All in all, however, it can be said that the logopaedic treatment usually always contributes to an improvement and sometimes even almost completely eliminates the problem.

Who bears the costs for speech therapy?

If a patient requires logopedic therapy, the question always arises as to who pays for the treatment. The prescription for the need for a logopedic treatment must first be issued by an ear, nose and throat specialist, a neurologist, a pediatrician or an orthodontist.

In some cases, a prescription from the family doctor is sufficient. In the case of medical necessity, the statutory or private health insurance usually covers the costs for the therapy. Children and adolescents up to the age of 18 are generally exempt from additional payments. Adults over the age of 18 may be required to pay. This depends entirely on the health insurance and the need for treatment.

Patients who are not exempt from co-payments will be charged 10% of the cash-flow as well as a care fee. The therapy of a reading and spelling weakness, which can also be carried out as part of a logopedic treatment, usually counts to the private services and is not taken over by the health insurance.

Which exercises can I do myself?

Successful logopedic treatment requires a lot of time and patience, and is successful only if patients show a great deal of initiative in performing the exercises at home outside the practice sessions. In order to motivate and support the patients in performing these exercises, it is therefore important to include the family or important caregivers in the treatment and to train them to do the exercises correctly.

There are many easy and fast to perform exercises that can be performed in everyday situations and can significantly improve the success of therapy. Especially for small children, the challenge is to incorporate these exercises into everyday life. This can be achieved well in playful form or in the form of small competitions. Easy - to - perform tongue, tongue and puff movements can quickly improve speech, speech and voice disorders.

Lip exercises strengthen the muscles of the lips and the tongue, prepare the sound and improve the activity of the diaphragm. Overall, they serve the language preparation. Simple lip exercises are, for example, drinking from a straw or blowing out a candle. The musculature is also promoted by holding a pen with the lips or inflating a balloon.

Tongue exercises also strengthen the muscles and serve to promote language. For example, it is helpful to stick out your tongue and move it in different directions. You can also use the tongue along the row of teeth or try to move the tip of the tongue slowly towards the nose. In addition, you can try to roll the tongue or click with your tongue.

When patients have pronunciation problems, such as lisp, it is often helpful to practice humming and hissing. This trains the perception of how the sound should normally sound.

Many patients and especially young children often find it difficult to differentiate B and P from each other. This can be promoted for example by the use of a sheet of paper. You take a sheet of paper, hold it in front of your mouth, and speak alternating words with B and P, with P moving the paper.

Also, breathing exercises such as the stopping of air or the deliberate slow expulsion of a few air volumes can be helpful in speech and speech disorders. At home, this can be practiced by slowly blowing out a candle, trying to move a cotton ball alone by means of blows or, especially with small children playfully blowing bubbles.

In the case of patients with dysphagia, at home care should be taken that one eats slowly and always takes small portions. In addition, you should always keep your mouth shut with each swallow. Swallowing can be done well with lightly thickened foods or yoghurt. By dry swallowing exercises the throat muscles can be additionally strengthened and further promote the therapeutic success.


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