The profession of speech therapy is concerned with prevention, research and treatment of speech therapy disorders and limitations in the field of communication in the broadest sense of the word.
I treat problems in the communication in which I am specialized and which I find most interesting:
Difficulties with the pronunciation of certain phonemes, make the child difficult to understand for his environment. Learning to talk can be problematic due to problems with programming, tuning and controlling the movements necessary for speaking. Another example of problems in speech is mispronunciation of the /s/ phoneme, which may be due to weak tongue muscles and insufficient control of tongue motor skills (better known as ‘lisping’). Pronunciation of other phonemes can also cause difficulties. Lisping is often associated with abnormal oral habits, such as thumb and finger sucking.
Difficulties in language development can arise in different language areas. Problems can result in a vocabulary that is too small and understanding sentences and stories can cause difficulties (language comprehension). In addition, a child may have problems expressing itself in language (language expression) or have problems finding words. Other problems that children with language difficulties may experience are difficulties with the grammatical rules for word inflection and conjugation and sentence construction. Some children with language problems have difficulties using language in communication and there are difficulties in communication conditions, such as turn-taking, active listening posture and eye contact in conversational situations.
Multilingual children can have a speech and language delay in Dutch. We speak of bilingualism or multilingualism when children grow up in a family situation in which the parents have different native tongues and they raise the children bilingually from birth. In addition, we also speak of multilingualism when the children of immigrant parents learn their native language at home and a second language at school. Early recognition of the children’s language problems stimulates language development and improves the school opportunities of these children.
Reading and spelling
Difficulties in learning to read and spell are often related to problems in the development of auditory skills. Examples of difficulties in auditory skills include difficulties with hearing differences between phonemes and difficulties with separating, manipulating, and combining phonemes. Moreover, there are often problems with listening comprehension and auditory memory. Children with dyslexia have a persistent problem with reading correctly and/or fluently and with spelling of words. Risk factors for dyslexia can be recognized at young age (before the start of reading and spelling education).