You’ve probably heard of mindfulness meditation before.
In recent years it’s become quite popular.
Mindfulness is a great tool that can be applied to almost anything with great success.
But what is mindfulness, exactly?
Is there any real evidence that it can help with speech therapy?
In fact, there is.
Our Austin speech therapy clinic uses quite successfully with our speech therapy clients.
Incorporating mindfulness into speech therapy can help with both children and adult speech therapy.
Let’s find out more.
What Is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness is the practice of focusing on being aware of what you currently sense and feel without interpretation or judgment.
It’s often considered to be a type of meditation.
Practicing mindfulness often includes exercises that focus on breathing methods and guided imagery.
Mindfulness is commonly used to help reduce stress.
Having an active mind that jumps from thought to thought can be incredibly draining.
Even if it’s daydreaming, future planning, or problem solving.
This can also make you more likely to experience anxiety, stress, and symptoms of depression.
Mindfulness exercises redirect your attention away from this type of thinking and into a calmer mindset.
It also forces you to engage with your current environment and bring your thoughts into the present moment.
Mindfulness can decrease how overwhelming your thoughts can become.
This offers many great benefits to you as you’ll see below.
What Are The Benefits Of Mindfulness?
Mindfulness offers many benefits to those who consistently practice it.
Mainly, we’re talking about the reduction of symptoms associated with:
- High blood pressure
Mindfulness can be a tool to help you experience thoughts and emotions with balance and acceptance.
The balanced mindset that mindfulness helps create can affect all areas of your life.
For example, consistent mindfulness can decrease job burnout, improve attention, and improve your quality of sleep.
How Can Mindfulness Help With Speech Therapy?
Mindfulness is a great tool for any activity, including speech therapy.
Specifically, mindfulness improves your attention and focus, and helps to decrease your emotional reactivity and impulsivity.
This has been shown to support you in retaining what you’ve learned in speech therapy.
It allows you to take your speech therapy lessons outside the classroom, which is typically more stressful.
When you use mindfulness to help with speech therapy, it becomes easier to put your speech therapy lessons to use in your day to day life.
Now, let’s dive into the specifics of how mindfulness can help speech therapy in a variety of ways below.
1. Mindfulness For Aphasia
Speech therapy for aphasia involves improving your receptive and expressive language.
There are a variety of traditional language therapy approaches that your speech therapist may use.
However, as our understanding of language and the mind advances, so do the tools we use for intervention.
New theories for the treatment of aphasia involve considering the whole cognitive picture that may affect auditory comprehension, not just linguistic factors.
That means that aphasia treatment should involve understanding someone’s mind as a whole, not just the words they use to speak.
This might look like addressing vocabulary, comprehension, and attention.
Distractions that interfere with attention may negatively affect auditory comprehension in people with aphasia.
This is where the benefits of mindfulness come in.
As we’ve already discussed, mindfulness helps you pay attention to the present.
This can help you focus and bridge the gap between attention and language.
When you’re more attentive and focused, you might see better results from speech therapy.
2. Mindfulness For Stuttering
Studies have found that mindfulness greatly improved the success rate for speech therapy treatments for stuttering.
Specifically, studies have shown that mindfulness reduces the impact of stuttering by reducing the frequency of your stuttering.
Severity of stuttering can often be a cycle rooted in anxiety.
When you become anxious, you pay more attention to your stutter.
Paying additional negative attention to your stutter can make it become more noticeable.
Mindfulness breaks the cycle of negative thought patterns, by putting distance between your emotions and your thoughts.
This allows you to focus on your present situation instead.
This simple change in focus can actually lessen the severity of your stutter, which is the end goal.
3. Mindfulness For Autistic Children
Practicing mindfulness, including practices such as deep breathing, body scans, and attention activities which bring focus to specific thoughts and emotions, is very beneficial for autism spectrum disorder speech therapy.
One case study found that these core exercises did improve executive functions such as controlling emotions, focusing attention, and being flexible enough to change your perspective.
Mindfulness teaches children to stop and breathe, which then reduces their impulsiveness and allows for better decision making.
Using mindfulness in speech therapy for autistic children can help your child learn to slow down and focus on their body and current thoughts.
4. Mindfulness For Children In General
The benefits seen in mindfulness for autistic children are mirrored when looking at mindfulness practices for neurotypical children.
This is because mindfulness teaches children how to be calm, which puts them in a better position to learn and respond to conditions and stressors in the world.
By remaining calm, they also can be more effective communicators.
This is especially pertinent for speech therapy for children, because they are able to better focus their attention to the lesson at hand and grow their receptive vocabulary and understanding.
5. Mindfulness For Stroke Recovery
Stroke recovery is a big challenge at the best of times.
But imagine having to fight your mind in order to stay motivated and calm while your emotions rage because you think you’ve hit a recovery plateau.
This is understandable when recovering from a stroke.
Symptoms of a stroke, like an impaired arm or leg, can make everyday tasks much more difficult.
This is where mindfulness becomes very useful.
By learning how to stay present and engage with your environment, you can focus on your recovery with a more positive mindset.
Some other benefits of mindfulness for stroke recovery include:
- Reduction of depression, tiredness, and fatigue
- Improvement of balance, attention, and emotion regulation
- Growth in the grey matter of your brain
Mindfulness is a great tool to help you become more present, especially if you are struggling with coming to terms with your new normal, so that you can continue to work towards recovery.
Book Your Appointment With Sol Speech And Language Therapy Today
As you can see, mindfulness benefits everyone who consistently uses it.
It can augment any type of therapy, especially speech therapy.
And it is a holistic technique we happily incorporate into therapy sessions, when needed.
Book an appointment today with Sol Speech and Language Therapy to get started and speak to one of our experienced speech therapists.
We look forward to mindfully working with you to reach your speech therapy goals.
6448 E Hwy 290 Suite E-106,
Austin, TX 78723
Sol Speech & Language Therapy
555 Round Rock W Dr E-221,
Round Rock, TX 78681
Sol Speech & Language Therapy offers personalized skilled intervention to those struggling with their speech and language skills. Services offered include screening, consultation, and comprehensive evaluation. We also provide one-on-one and/or group therapy for speech sound disorders, receptive/expressive language delay/disorder, stuttering/cluttering, accent reduction, and much more.