Give us a call! We will walk you through the entire process. First, we discuss the observations and concerns you are noticing. Then we both check your benefits with your insurance and we will explain any information we receive from your insurance company. We will schedule an evaluation, which involves assessing the areas of concern using a standardized test. Immediately following the evaluation, we will discuss if ongoing therapy is warranted and within one week you will receive a comprehensive, written report. A typical therapy session involves a number of rewarding, motivating, and fun activities which teach your child the speech-language skills he or she needs. After the session, we will download with you, going over homework and home activities to practice until our next session.
There are many reasons why kids may be slower to talk. Sometimes it is a slight language delay. With some coercing, practice, and home carryover, kids with a mild language delay quickly learn to use their words and are off and running. Other times, children may have trouble learning the rules of language and need explicit teaching of the rules. Finally, it may be that there is a medical diagnosis which is making speaking and verbal communication more difficult.
Intelligibility is related to a number of factors - learning the sound system of a language; sequencing motor actions; and/or muscle tone. As kids learn the sounds of their language, they may demonstrate patterns of error when talking. For example, many toddlers may drop the final sound in a word, regardless of the actual sound. This, and other, patterns of error are typical but are expected to be suppressed by particular ages. If they are not, they need to be addressed in speech therapy as they may greatly affect intelligibility. Verbal speech is a series of sequenced motor actions, and some children have difficulty coordinating the movements. Others may have reduced muscle tone which may impact sound production.
Autism Spectrum Disorders are a group of neurodevelopmental disorders which range in severity. A classic "red flag" of Autism is when a child is learning and acquiring language, but then stops talking around 2 years of age. There is no test or marker for Autism, but some research shows that there are signs as early as 9 months of age. The main difficulty in Autism is related to social-pragmatic skills.

Childhood apraxia of speech (CAS) is a motor speech disorder. It is not due to muscle weakness. A child with CAS has difficulty coordinating and sequencing the body parts used for speech (e.g., lips, jaw, tongue, et cetera). The child knows exactly what he or she wants to say, but has trouble planning and programming the movements to say it.

  • Limited consonant sound production
  • Omitting or distorting speech sounds
  • Mixing up sounds and syllables of words
  • More errors with longer words/sentences
  • More intelligible with single words than in conversation/longer sentences
  • Speech sound substitutions
  • More difficulty with consonant clusters (e.g., “plane” vs. “pain”)
  • Different rhythm when talking
  • Groping gestures when attempting to speak
  • Different intonation patterns
  • Comprehension skills at or near typical for cognitive level
  • Variable expressive language abilities due to difficulty planning and programming speech movements
  • Possible general body apraxia/motor discoordination
  • Improved performance with visual feedback
  • Improved performance with tactile/touch feedback

“Baby sign” refers to babies using simplified hand motions based on American Sign Language to communicate their wants and needs. It is a meaningful way for them to express themselves before they start talking. Baby sign is popular among families, as it decreases crying and fussing in babies who are attempting to communicate. Research shows that using sign language with babies who have normal hearing may develop advanced language and cognitive skills. It also appears to promote increased self-confidence, decreased frustration and aggression, and positive socio-emotional development.
Older kids and adults are able to switch between activities and topics within milliseconds, but transitions can be difficult for many younger kids. We can make the transition easier by externalizing it and reducing the amount of language used. Two techniques involve a backwards countdown or a visual support. A backwards countdown is completed by counting down from a given number, or using a timer on your phone. A visual support is a picture, or series of pictures, which show the desired activity or sequence of activities.

Everyone, even babies and infants, makes choices. Children need to practice making choices in order to learn how to make good choices. When children have choices, they feel a sense of control over their environment. This is important to developing their confidence and self-esteem in the future. It also helps manage acting out and difficult behaviors.

  • Limit the choices. Only give two items to choose from. “Would you like the bear book or the farm book?”
  • Make one choice something your child does not like: “Do you want strawberries or kiwi for snack?”
  • Show the real objects if your child is having trouble choosing between two items.
  • Talk about poor choices. We learn from mistakes! Ask questions that make your child think about her actions: “How do you think that made Mom feel?” or “Was that a good choice to draw on the wall?”
  • Give your child the chance to make choices, such as choosing their snack, picking a toy for show-and-tell, selecting an outfit to wear.
  • Let your child make a choice about a disliked activity: “When we brush your teeth, should we use bubblegum toothpaste or mint?” Do not ask if they want to do the activity.