Studies show that speech therapy can improve literacy rates among children with speech and language problems.
Children with articulation, speech, or cognitive disorders often experience reading and spelling delays that can inhibit them from reaching literacy milestones. But through early intervention, therapy can help to limit those delays by teaching alternative reading and speaking strategies that drastically improve a child’s literacy. This is why speech therapy services in Arkansas are a key part of any literacy plan for school-age child requiring special education.
The Importance of Reading Skills in Developing Literacy
The task of reading is a complex mix of skills that work not just in sequence, but also interdependently. Children who experience difficulty in reading often have a problem with one or more of the following:
- Orthographic processing—recognizing and mentally processing print
- Phonological awareness—identifying speech sounds and connecting the sounds to visually recognized print
- Meaning—retrieving multiple meanings of words
- Context—applying the suitable meaning of a word based on its use
Reading ability requires rapid application of many vital skills, such as hearing words correctly, forming words mentally, and applying personal experience to the reading material. Children with speech or language problems often struggle to connect sounds to printed words and fall behind in reading comprehension and fluency.
Speech therapy can reduce or eliminate reading delays by reinforcing phonological awareness and language production. When a child can connect a sound and meaning to printed symbols, their literacy improves.
What Does Speech Therapy Entail?
Speech therapy services in Arkansas improve literacy in children who otherwise would fall behind in school by addressing their specific articulation, cognitive, or auditory issues:
- Articulation Disorders—incorrect placement of the tongue, lips, larynx, jaw, and other speech articulators used to produce sounds. Children with articulation disorders have difficulty processing and distinguishing the correctly voiced sounds they hear others make when they attempt to read aloud and form their own sounds.
- Phonological Disorders—entire classes of sounds are incorrectly voiced, as when children oversimplify multisyllabic words or substitute letters. These children can benefit from orthographic instruction that targets specific sounds and the print symbols that prompt them.
- Childhood Apraxia of Speech (CAS)—CAS, in which a child cannot consistently plan and form sequences of sounds, causes delays in language development, reading, spelling, and writing. Children are not able to coordinate the muscle movements needed to express the words they see. Speech therapy can provide the practice in sounds, sequences, and movements needed to voice the correct sounds every time to improve their overall literacy skills.
- Fluency Disorders—stuttering and other fluency problems often lead a child to withdraw in reading and language arts activities in their classes. Oral fluency is directly related to reading fluency, so speech therapy that corrects fluency—interjections, prolongation, or repetition of sounds—leads to improvements in reading ability.
- Receptive Language Impairment—when children cannot understand language, gestures, sequences, and questions, they have difficulty connecting oral concepts to printed symbols. They may confuse the order of events in reading, misunderstand step-by-step directions given aloud, or get lost in the flow of a conversation. These impairments drastically affect their reading and writing ability, as they face difficulties in understanding word meanings and stories without therapy.
- Expressive Language Disorder—children with this disorder have difficulty forming questions, learning songs and rhymes, using grammar, applying correct names for objects around them, and conversing with peers and adults. Speech therapy can target the specific deficit so that the expressive delay does not impact literacy in reading, creative writing, or spelling.
Improve Your Child’s Literacy Now
Time is not on the side of a child dealing with any cognitive, articulation or fluency disorders, as these can become more pronounced with age. The earlier a speech therapist can intervene to provide corrective services, the less the child will experience frustration or delays in their literacy when compared to their classmates and other peers.
Speech therapy services in Arkansas work with these children to provide targeted remedies that lead to significant measurable results in literacy. The more frequently these interventions are applied, the faster the child will learn the corrective measures and apply them to obtain stronger speech and language skills.
If you are seeking speech therapy services in Arkansas for your child, contact Integrity, Inc. to learn more about our programs.