What is speech therapy?
Speech and language therapy is a health profession that deals with the study, prevention, detection, evaluation, diagnosis, treatment, rehabilitation, and research of human communication disorders and associated functions, including disorders of voice, hearing, speech, oral and written language, non-verbal communication, and orofacial and swallowing functions.
The final objective of speech therapy treatments is to improve the functionality of communication, orofacial functions and the quality of life of the patient.
Why is a speech therapist in water essential? What do we do?
The presence of the figure of the speech therapist in the aquatic environment is fundamental to work on this aspect. The need for their presence is even more evident in the work with people with disability of whatever kind, since in these cases communication and language are usually altered.
When communication is diminished for some reason or is absent due to the presence of diverse pathologies, it is the function of the speech therapist to work to develop the communicative function and to guide the rest of the professionals and the subject’s environment to this end.
Communication can occur through oral language and non-verbal language (such as gestures, movements, facial expressions, etc.), but also through Augmentative and/or Alternative Communication Systems (AACS). The use of these resources is guided by speech therapy intervention. The speech therapist is in charge of implementing these tools of communication and needs, in turn, the collaboration and participation of the rest of the professionals and the subject’s environment to generalize their use and learning.
The speech therapist also works on other processes and functions related to communication, such as the different dimensions of language: form, use and content. He or she also deals with the difficulties and development of language in its comprehensive and expressive aspects. Thanks to the speech therapist, these alterations can be worked on and linguistic development can be promoted with the most suitable strategies in each case.
On the other hand, the speech therapist also treats speech and voice disorders.
What if we don’t have a speech therapist?
What the rest of the professionals can do.
If our team does not have a speech therapist to guide us, we can follow a series of tips in order to develop language and communication.
- To create a range of conversational situations.
- To give participants time and space to communicate.
- To offer them a good communicative model.
- To use their AAC system.
- To adapt to their language skills.
- To encourage communicative intention.
The main objective from a speech therapy perspective is to improve the student’s communicative capacity and language development, also taking into account the relationship with other functions associated with the orofacial structures.
The objectives to work on will be different in each case, always adapting to the needs of the child and his or her family. The objectives have to be realistic, adjusted to the student’s abilities and have to be revised periodically.
The aquatic environment gives the speech therapy a more ludic and dynamic character than what we can obtain by doing the dry therapy, which allows us to obtain an added motivation from the student. From this ludic nature, we try to create conversational dynamics that favour the development of language, always encouraging the participation of the students in a different environment, the aquatic environment. Therefore, we will use water as a facilitator to carry out activities that favour the development of language and communication. Likewise, we will take advantage of the benefits of water to work on the orofacial functions.
(Común para todos)
If you have any doubts or queries, please contact the professionals working in this unit. Their details are given below.
- Estefanía Berzal Grande: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Ana Navarro Meléndez: email@example.com