As therapy commences, a speech therapist is given all the necessary info about the child. These include the language or languages the family uses, as well as the child’s linguistic level and how well he or she speaks and/or signs. The therapist needs to have all the necessary information regarding the severity of the hearing loss, the reason for it and how long the child has been hearing impaired.
The audiogram type and shape as well as information about how much the hearing aid or cochlear implant is helping is always visible in the audiogram the therapist receives when the child has been to the hospital for a hearing test. It’s important to supply the speech therapist with information about other things that impact the child’s development. The speech therapist is supplied with the rehabilitation plan that defines the short-term goals of the therapy. If the child is small, all these things may not be known yet.
Observation and evaluation during the therapy process is important, so that therapy can be altered to fit the changing needs of the child. The duration of the therapy and amount of appointments vary. As a general rule, there are 1-2 sessions per week. Therapy sessions can be sectioned out in sets of 10 or so, wth breaks in netween. Children with severe hearing loss will go to speech therapy for several years. Speech therapy guidance can also be provided for parents or a group of parents. If the child’s language and speech development advances and reaches a normal level at an early stage, individual speech therapy can be discontinued. As, long as the child is under school-age, his or her development will be followed by the nearest hospital hearing centre.
Speech therapist Satu Rimmanen, TYKS