Why Is My PT/OT Recommending Speech Therapy?

Why is my PT/OT recommending ST?


When treating therapy with a multidisciplinary approach, it is not uncommon for therapists to recommend other therapies. So what makes other therapists recommend speech therapy?


There are two areas of communication that both physical and occupational therapists observe during sessions. First, they look at how well the therapists can understand your child’s communication. There are many different forms of communication such as spoken language, gestures, and electronic devices all of which help your child to be understood. Working with a speech therapist can help determine which method of communication is best for your child. This can decrease frustration when trying to perform difficult gross motor tasks, and being unable to ask for assistance.

The second area is how well your child can understand and follow therapist directions. Understanding is essential for the completion of gross motor tasks. If your child does not understand the task then the brain will not be able to send the signal to the correct muscles. This can cause the task to be difficult or seem impossible for the child. Speech therapists can help target why your child is having difficulty. For example, there may be too many steps involved causing your child to become confused and either add or remove steps. Another is example would be if your child is having problems understanding directional phrases such as up, down, under, and behind.


Your child’s physical and occupational therapist may also have referred your child for speech therapy due to concerns unrelated to gross motor or speech and language. Your therapist is concerned with the “big picture” of your child’s development, and strives to ensure that all areas are being addressed so your child can achieve their maximum potential.  If you’re unsure why a referral has been made, ask your therapist.  Your therapist will help you better understand why the referral was made, and how your child will benefit from receiving additional support.


-Matthew D’Antonio, PT, DPT

Pediatric Physical Therapist

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