Are We Speech Therapists?

From time to time, people contact ALP asking if we are speech therapists or speech/language pathologists. The simple answer is that we are not.

However, our treatments overlap this field in specific ways. To more fully explain, let’s take a look at speech and language disorders.

Speech disorders are divided into five categories:

  • Apraxia of speech
    Apraxia is impaired ability to carry out purposeful muscular movements. A child with apraxia of speech has difficulty planning and producing the precise, highly refined and specific series of movements of the tongue, lips, jaw, and palate that are necessary for intelligible speech.
  • Speech sound disorders: articulation and phonological processes
    Children who have a speech sound disorder mispronounce a sound past the age that sound should be developed.
  • Orofacial myofunctional disorders
    A child with an orofacial myofunctional disorder has a “tongue thrust”, meaning the child’s tongue moves forward in an exaggerated way during speech.
  • Fluency (stuttering)
    Children who stutter have dysfluencies in their speech in which the child may repeat words or parts of words, prolong speech sounds, or block on a sound to where no sound gets expressed.
  • Voice
    A child with a voice disorder may have a voice quality that is harsh, breathy, or have other atypical voice qualities.

The method used by Applied Learning Processes for developing reading skills involves awareness of speech articulation as a base for using the alphabet. In other words, we look at the specific physical actions of the mouth required to create sound. Apraxia and speech sound disorders are improved when this method of teaching reading/spelling is employed. Our work does not directly address orofacial, fluency (stuttering), or voice disorders.

Language disorders are usually referred to as “receptive” or “expressive” disorders.

Like speech/language pathologists, Applied Learning Processes uses methods to treat delays in comprehending language and oral expression. This includes work on vocabulary, syntax, sequencing skills, and high-order thinking skills such as summarizing and problem solving. We do not usually work directly on the pragmatic language skills that might be part of a speech/language treatment plan. This would include things like how to greet others, make conversation or use proper body language. However, we often see that as language comprehension improves, pragmatic language skills improve as well.

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