What is Language Therapy?
Language therapy is a very broad label for many types of therapies that a speech-language pathologist (SLP or speech therapist) can provide for children. Language therapy addresses children with delays or disorders in the following areas:
- Listening Skills: How your child is able to understand what is being said to her and follow directions
- Grammar Skills: Your child’s ability to use grammatical markers to form complete sentences
- Vocabulary Skills: Your child’s knowledge of what things are called and her ability to understand those words when spoken as well as to recall and say the word when needed
- Question Skills: Your child’s ability to answer and ask questions with a variety of structures
- Social Language Skills (Pragmatics): Your child’s ability to use language to interact with others and follow social rules of conversation and play
- Literacy/Book Skills: Your child’s ability to read and write or use pre-reading skills such as book handling, recognizing print, etc.
How does language therapy work?
Your child’s speech therapist will choose a few targets from the areas above that your child has difficulties with. Then, she will find ways to teach each skill to your child. Most of the time, this involves breaking the skill down into smaller steps and specifically teaching each skill to the child. For example, if your child is working on “where” questions, the SLP will teach the child that “where” means place and will start with very simple “where” questions, such as “where’s your nose”, or “where’s the ball”. Then, as the child’s accuracy increases, she will begin to ask your child more challenging “where” questions, such as “where do you wash your hands?”. The SLP may use a variety of techniques to help teach your child a skill, including pictures, verbal reminders, etc.