Improving Speach Langauge Therapy

Posted by Elizabeth McDuffie

Improving the Effectiveness of Speech Language Therapy

There are various models of speech and language therapy, some that focus on behavior based treatment and the remediation of disabilities and others that do more to engage the client in the therapeutic process and use their strengths to translate therapy sessions into everyday life. The authors of A Paradigm for Improving Effectiveness and Efficiency of Speech Language Therapy argue that the art of therapy has sometimes been removed from speech language therapy, making it decontextualized and ineffective for the client. They give specific methods used from the Client-Centered Intervention Paradigm (CCIP) to improve the quality of therapy and achieve the goals of the intervention process.

First and foremost they recommend getting to know the personality of the client using the Myers Briggs Type Indicator or similar type of personality assessment. This then gives the therapist a better picture of what approaches will facilitate productive intervention. This indicator measures four major components of personality; extroversion/introversion, sensing and intuition, thinking and feeling and judging and perceiving. When each of these components are acknowledged by the speech language therapist, learning can better occur as sessions are tailor fit to the meet the client’s individual needs.

Likewise, the authors believe that it is of great importance to include Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences Theory. This theory maps out seven different types of intelligences (linguistic, logical-mathematical, spatial, bodily-kinesthetic, musical, interpersonal, and intrapersonal) and demonstrates that we all have certain strengths in some areas and weaknesses in others. When the type of learning that would best suit the client is taught to it makes the therapy sessions more meaningful as the client is able to use their strengths to over come weaknesses instead of only focusing on the correction of the weaknesses.

The third recommendation in focus on the style of intervention; that is to empower the client to take ownership of their learning by building confidence while focusing on metacognative strategies. There are six main criteria in order to do this. They are (a) intentionality, using interaction to promote change, (b) transcendence extending to real life scenarios of the past and future, (c) communication the clarification of meaning and purpose, (d) mediation of a feeling, mainly praise and positive reinforcement with an emphasis on why it was desirable, (e) regulation of behavior helping to decrease impulsivity and increase a willingness to respond and (f) shared participation, where the client is a participant and the role of the therapist is not authoritarian or patronizing.

In conclusion, these three main components to effective speech language therapy seem as though they should be universal to all classrooms and teaching professionals whether we are special education teachers, mainstream teachers or speech language pathologists. I chose to write about this article because of an example listed by the author of a seven year old boy who, despite the fact that he had attended a program for multiple disabilities, had teachers who thought that he was mildly mentally handicapped with little expressive language. When he was introduced to CCIP however, it was discovered that he was an introverted child, who liked to take his time to think before responding, and preferred to see information rather that obtain it orally. Because of the student centered interventions used, the boy was able to greatly improve and speech language therapy it was no longer something he dreaded.


E. H. MacKenzie, D. J. Freedman 1998 A paradigm for improving effectiveness and efficiency or speech language therapy. Language and Communication Disorders Vol. 33, Supplement