Speech Therapy

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When should a parent pursue Speech Therapy for their child?

A child should be seen if...

During Infancy:

  • the infant is demonstrating difficulty latching on
  • coughing/choking during or after eating
  • difficulty transitioning from bottle to pureed/semi-solids (i.e. gagging, choking)
  • the child is not responding to his/her name or other sounds

The development of communication skills begins in infancy before the emergence of the first word. Any speech or language problem is likely to have a significant effect on the child's social and academic skills and behavior.

At 18 months:

  • the child does not use first words or have a vocabulary of 8-10 words
  • the child omits beginning sounds of a word  ("_og _ark" for "dog bark")
  • uses mostly vowel sounds when speaking ("um ee a u" for "Come see the cat run")
  • difficulty following 1-step directions
  • uses "uh" with pointing to request needs/wants

At 2 years of age:

  • expressive vocabulary of less than 50 words
  • does not put 2 words together to form a phrase
  • difficulty following 2-step directions

At 3-4 years of age:

  • speech is still difficult to understand
  • responds inappropriately to "Who, What, Where, When" questions
  • uses incomplete sentences by 3 1/2 years of age ("Me go to swing" for "I am going to swing.")
  • difficulty sequencing/retelling a short story
  • difficulty answering questions about a short story
  • hoarse/raspy voice quality

5+ years of age:

  • does not use more than 2,000 words
  • difficulty understanding time/sequencing (first, next, last, third)
  • difficulty with phonemic awareness (letter to sound identification, early reading skills)
  • decreased sentence length or mixed up grammatical form/structure ("goed" for went, "her" for she)
  • does not use imagination to create stories
  • has difficulty maintaining a conversation

The earlier a child's speech and language problems are identified and treated, the less likely it is that problems will persist or get worse. Early speech and language intervention can help children be more successful with reading, writing, schoolwork, and interpersonal relationships.

Speech/Language Disorders:

  • Articulation Disorder: Trouble saying certain sounds correctly
  • Phonological Disorder: Trouble combining certain sounds used in communication 
  • Resonance/Voice Disorders: When the vocal quality of an individual is altered/changed in such a way that is thought to be abnormal to the listener.
  • Language Disorder: Difficulty understanding or re-telling stories/describing pictures with descriptive language
  • Fluency Disorder: Repeating certain sounds and or having trouble saying a complete word.
  • Medical Problems that make it difficult for children to communicate clearly:
  1. Hearing impairment
  2. Weak muscles around the mouth
  3. Cleft lip and or palate
  4. Autism
  5. Premature birth
  6. Swallowing disorders