Since cerebral palsy targets the muscle system in the body, one area that can be affected is the muscles that control speech. This speech difficulty can appear as a slur, as a stutter, as garbled speech or even as an inability to speak. Certainly, ever case is different and the severity of the speech issues will be unique to each child’s condition.
Speech therapy identifies and helps CP children overcome speech and communication difficulties. Children who have difficulty enunciating words that begin with “d” will have therapy sessions that drill words that start with the problematic letter. The therapist gauges the rate and level of progress and incrementally raises the level of difficulty.
Each speech therapist will need to do an evaluation of the child and to have an intake appointment or two. They will draw up a program for improvement and should explain to the parents how often they would like to meet and what they hope to achieve over time. Certainly, it is important for the parents to continue to be in communication with the speech therapist during the course of treatment, and even to work with the child at home in between sessions if this has been recommended.
In many situations, children with cerebral palsy can benefit from the use of dedicated communication devices. These include computers, iPads, voice synthesizers and other tools that can allow a child to communicate in other ways when the speech difficulties prove frustrating or insurmountable.