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Are All Speech Therapies the Same?

The traditional approach to articulation therapy is the most frequently used method of speech therapy . It has been used since the 1930s. In some ways, it has stood the test of time, but it does not work for everybody. Traditional therapy tends to target speech sounds in sequenced activities. It progresses from producing or articulating speech sounds in isolation, working towards creating them at different positions of a word, moving towards phrases, then sentences, and then conversation.

One of the primary techniques is to use imitation for helping the child visualize and see how the oral articulators should be placed to correctly produce each speech sound.

However, traditional therapy truly does not work for everybody. This is where traditional therapy and myofunctional therapy begin to differ.

During an evaluation, by a speech pathologist that is trained in myofunctional therapy, a patient’s oral cavity and structures are assessed. The tongue is required to make many fine motor movements in order to correctly articulate each speech sound. However, if the tongue cannot physically move how it needs to make a speech sound, then the body is learning how to compensate to make the speech sound. Did you know that a person can learn how to compensate and make speech sounds in isolation but often have a very difficult time crossing those compensations over into regular speech?

A myofunctional approach to speech therapy allows us to consider WHY the patient is unable to create the speech sounds and figure out WHY the traditional approach to therapy isn’t working or WHY the patient has been working for so long at the same sounds with little progress. We assess the patient’s health history, assess oral structures of the face and mouth, we assess how the patient eats and drinks, and we assess how the patient breathes. These all factor how the patient is using their oral structures.

While traditional therapy has been the standard treatment, it most certainly is not always the best therapy for each patient. If you have any further questions, please let us know.

Remember, the question is function. Let us help you figure out WHY!

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