How Can Speech-Language Therapy Help a Child with Dyslexia?

Language learning disorders can cause academic problems. Speech therapy can help!When people think of speech therapy, they often think of helping a person who stutters, or a child with a lisp, or maybe working with people who have language problems because of a stroke. But speech-language therapists work with an enormous range of issues and people. For example, did you know that speech-language therapy can be used to help a child with dyslexia?

While most people have heard of dyslexia at one point or another, there are a lot of myths that surround the disorder. For example, many people associate the term with “crossed wires” or seeing letters backwards or in the wrong order. In reality, dyslexia actually means having a specific problem with reading, even though the individual has normal intelligence and normal vision.

Because all aspects of language are closely linked, a speech-language pathologist’s specialized knowledge of language can help a child with dyslexia. The speech therapist is trained to analyze a child’s strengths and weaknesses at the sound, word, sentence, and conversational levels. Then they choose therapy strategies to help the child develop the necessary skills to bolster their reading. Often therapy with younger children focuses on phonological awareness, or the ability to understand the sound structures of words. While this comes naturally for most people, a child who struggles with dyslexia or other language disorders may need help identifying and recognizing the smaller components of language. A speech language pathologist may also help improve sound-letter correspondence, or connecting written letters to the variety of sounds they make, and how this can change in different words. Many children with dyslexia rely on recognizing entire words, almost like a picture, instead of actually breaking down the sounds. Helping a child break the code of how letters combine creates a foundation for improving reading skills.

Want to learn more? If you have any questions or would like to know more about speech-language therapy, give me a call at (212) 308-7725 or send an e-mail to jayne@speechassociatesofny.com. I’d be happy to chat and answer any questions you may have.

© 2015, Speech Associates of New York – All Rights Reserved

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