Benefits of OT Part II

As we continue to celebrate Occupational Therapy Month, I want to share some information about how multiple disciplines work together at Lowcountry Therapy Center. Specifically, why do speech therapists sometimes make referrals for occupational therapy?  The human brain is a highly complex system, with many different sub-systems working together to help us function efficiently. For example, our speech and language system also depends on our attention system, our memory system, our visual system, and our auditory system (to name a few!). Weaknesses in one system are likely to impact other systems, much like a domino effect. Therefore, a “team approach” to therapy is often warranted to help children achieve their greatest potential. It is not uncommon for a child that receives speech therapy to be referred for an occupational therapy evaluation. Occupational therapy addresses many aspects of daily life that can, in turn, affect communication.

Occupational therapy can impact speech and language by improving your child’s…

  • Attention and regulation, which is a foundation for social engagement and use of language.  In order to learn, your child must be able to focus, attend and engage.
  • Postural stability, which is critical for speech production. In order for your child to successfully make various speech sounds, they must have jaw stability. Jaw stability is dependent on head and trunk control, which can be improved with postural stability.
  • Sensory integration that impacts your child’s arousal level, oral-motor skills, and aspects of hearing and feeding.
  • Motor planning skills, which impact your child’s ability to move the articulators (tongue, lips, soft palate, etc.) into place to form sounds for speech.
  • Executive function skills that impact language. As your child communicates, they must be able to plan, organize, and sequence their thoughts and ideas into a logical narrative.
  • Hand-writing skills needed for written language.

These are just a few ways in which occupational therapy can impact a child’s speech and language skills. For more information or to find out if your child may benefit from occupational therapy, talk to your pediatrician or current therapist, or give us a call for information about our referral process!

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