25 May 2017 Top Trends in Speech Therapy
What’s new in speech therapy? How is it changing lives?
In this article, let’s look at some exciting trends in the field of speech therapy.
Current and Future Growth Trends
Survival rates of premature babies have gone up significantly due to advances in medicine. Babies who at one point may never have had a chance at living now get to experience life, but it can come with developmental challenges that speech therapy can address.
Greater awareness of the need for early detection in infants and small children by Pediatricians means earlier intervention and improved outcomes. Children who receive speech therapy services early can avoid delays in learning and the frustrations that come along with them.
Federal law requires that children receive necessary accommodations within the educational systems. These include special education and related services for children who qualify as well as assisted listening devices and preferential seating. This allows for an increase in accessibility to needed hearing and language devices and services. As families become more aware of their rights, they oftentimes seek out speech therapy services for their children.
Technology & Technique Trends
One of the most familiar advancement is something that most of us have quickly learned that we can’t live without — our smart phone. Apps and other programs and devices that we didn’t have just 10-15 years ago have completely changed the way therapists work with clients both in and outside the office.
With use of video, audio recorders, digital flashcards, images and words on demand, clients have access to a world of information to help them learn. Students can learn functional daily tasks like checking the weather and sending email, that most of us take for granted, easily and portably, right in the office. Adaptive programs can meet the one learning where he/she is and take him/her to the next level with the guidance and support of a therapist.
But advancements in smart phone technology have not been all “rosy”. We have additionally seen a rise in otherwise healthy children whose speech, language and interpersonal skills lag behind their peers, which can be directly attributed to overuse of devices.
Hearing devices are getting more discreet and functional. The latest cochlear implant devices and hearing aids are very small, comfortable and easy to use. They self-adjust to different listening environments so the wearers don’t miss a beat. You can even stream music, phone calls, television programs and movies right through the device.
Telemedicine has been widely discussed in healthcare for some time. Most of us think of how great it will be when we can just see our doctor through a device without having to go to the clinic. But beyond a simple convenience, telemedicine is making speech therapy services available to children and adults in rural communities who would otherwise have no access to these services.
Assistive communication devices that respond to brain signals rather than the traditional type or swipe communicators of the past and are also becoming more readily available. We’re getting closer to completely restoring the ability to use verbal language in a “natural way” through technology.
There are many new and exciting technologies and techniques emerging in speech therapy. For those struggling with hearing, speech, and language, this is great news. If you or your child needs individualized, compassionate and effective speech therapy care, contact us today to schedule a consultation.