WHY Speech Therapy?
The field of Speech-Language Pathology treats a wide range of speaking, swallowing, and communication disorders that can dramatically change and forever improve the quality of life for individuals with disabilities.
Communication— The ability to communicate is essential in building human relationships and key to participation in society. Imagine being a mother who has never been able to understand the needs of her daughter who has apraxia and only able to utter sounds. Or a child who has been mute since birth and has never had the tools to express sadness, happiness, or love to their caregiver. Speech-Language Pathologists are able to work with children and help those who are mute communicate through pictures, those who stutter become clearer, and those with weak vocal muscles to become stronger. Communication is the opportunity to live fully and to thrive in the world around you.
Swallowing and Feeding— Food is a basic requirement for survival. But imagine if you had the food, but could not swallow it without experiencing pain? Or having your muscles so weak from a bout of meningitis, that the energy you exerted from the action of eating was not worth the calories consumed. This is the reality for individuals with swallowing and feeding disorders. Many become chronically malnourished. Speech-Language Pathologists are able to reposition individuals so that feeding and swallowing become easier, as well as do exercises to strengthen the muscles used for eating. This allows these children to properly take in the nutrients they need to survive and grow.
Every individual with a disability deserves the right to access a therapist for rehabilitation and therapeutic purposes. The need is hard to ignore in Zambia, yet the professionals are just not there. Consider this comparison: In the state of Texas alone, there are 11,160 Speech Language Pathologists. Zambia is the same size as Texas but there are 0 local Speech-Language Pathologists in the entire country. Put into these terms, the disparity is clear.
By bringing the profession of Speech Language Pathology to Zambia, CLASP International strives to not only improve access to therapy for individuals with disabilities, but to create lasting support systems and cultivate understanding on behalf of all individuals with disabilities. CLASP International believes speech therapy can empower these children and adults by giving them a voice.