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The Role of Speech Therapy in Dyslexia

Developing strong literacy skills is an essential step in each child’s path toward independence. When a child starts school, the new expectations relating to behavior, math, and literacy can make the transition difficult. When there are persistent challenges relating to reading, writing, and comprehension, fundamental problems can develop. Dyslexia is one of the most common learning disorders in children, and it can have significant effects on a child’s ability to develop strong speech, language, and communication skills.

Speech therapy for dyslexia can help your child master these skills, succeed socially and academically, and boost their confidence and self-esteem. If you think your child would benefit from speech therapy, don’t wait to get started. Schedule your free introductory call today!

What are the Speech Problems with Dyslexia?

While dyslexia is primarily recognized as a condition that affects literacy, it can make many things exceptionally difficult for some children. Some of the behaviors and skills that are affected by dyslexia include:

Understanding and following instructions
Repeating something in the correct order
Learning words, phrases, names, and directions
Finding the correct word to say
Pronouncing words correctly
Explaining the difference between similar words
Learning and using new words

What Causes Dyslexia?

While the exact cause of dyslexia is still widely unknown, there are several risk factors that have been identified. Genetic factors are among the most likely to influence the development of dyslexia. Scientists believe that specific genes are associated with the language-processing ability of the brain.

A family history of dyslexia, as well as other learning difficulties, can contribute to the development of dyslexia. In addition, exposure to alcohol, drugs, and/or certain infectious diseases during pregnancy, as well as low birth weight or preterm birth, can increase the odds of developing dyslexia.

Outside of these risk factors, general differences in individual brain development can lead to dyslexia.

Can Dyslexia Cause Speech Delay?

Before an infant can begin to speak, they must first get used to the sound of spoken language. This process actually begins before birth, and by the age of 6 months, most babies are beginning to babble. While the timing of a baby’s first word can vary, the majority of infants begin to talk between the ages of 9 and 18 months old.

Children with dyslexia, however, typically take longer to produce their first spoken words due to the fact that their brains need more time to process speech sounds and language. Dyslexia is categorized as a learning disorder; however, it can have significant impacts on speech and language skills.

For some individuals with dyslexia, language production is further impeded by motor deficits. For example, it is somewhat common for dyslexia to exist alongside dyspraxia, which is a condition that affects the sequencing and coordination of certain movements. This, in turn, can impact the muscles that are required for speech, often leading to the development of a speech delay. Children affected by dyspraxia can also face difficulties relating to planning, which can cause impairments relating to syntax and pitch.

If your child is struggling with speech, language, or literacy skills, speech therapy can help. Get started by simply scheduling your free introductory call today!

How Does Speech Therapy Help with Dyslexia?

Speech therapy for dyslexia goals will vary depending on the specific needs, challenges, and goals of each individual. In most cases, speech therapy appointments will focus on developing phonological awareness skills.

Phonological Awareness Skills – Phonological awareness refers to the ability to understand the sounds and sound combinations that comprise language. As a child is learning to read and write, it is incredibly important to form associations between the correct sounds of individual letters and letter combinations to produce words. This method is known as decoding, and it is how all children begin to learn to read.

As individuals learn more and work to expand their vocabulary, the brain develops knowledge of the language’s common phoneme and vowel combinations. It is common for children to develop this comprehension through language games such as substituting one sound for another, rhyming and singing, or through a word game.

Individuals with dyslexia often find exercises such as rhyming, tongue twisters, and wordplay more difficult than others. There are frequent challenges with the correct ordering of sounds, which can make these exercises more difficult.

Some of the target areas of speech therapy for dyslexia include:

Rhyming
Ability to segment words into syllables
Syllable Blending
Ability to identify words with the same beginning sound
Ability to identify words with the same ending sound
Ability to divide words into individual sounds (such as consonant-vowel (CV), vowel-consonant (VC), and consonant-vowel-consonant (CVC)
Ability to manipulate sounds in words
Letter-sound correspondences

Professionals who specialize in speech and language therapy for dyslexia possess extensive knowledge relating to the development of phonological recognition skills. Some of these skills are directly related to successfully learning to read and write. Children who require speech therapy are much more likely to develop problems reading later on. Therefore, developing strong phonological recognition skills in children with dyslexia can significantly help them learn to read.

What are the Speech Therapy Activities for Dyslexia?

Some Speech Therapy activities for dyslexia that may help to improve these skills include:

Exercises to improve fine motor skills and coordination
Games that focus on vocabulary usage and language development
Activities that stimulate the child’s senses, such as touch, taste, smell, and sight
Role-playing exercises to help develop an understanding of social cues and appropriate responses
Use devices such as picture boards or tablets to communicate through augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) therapy.

If your child is struggling with any of the skills mentioned above, it may be worth having them evaluated for dyslexia. Early speech therapy intervention can help your child successfully overcome challenges related to Dyslexia for increased independence, confidence, and better social skills. Get started by scheduling your free introductory call today!