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Stephanie J. Marz, M.A.CCC-SLP, M.A. ECSE / EI

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Frequently Asked Questions

Speech-language therapy is the treatment for individuals with speech and / or language disorders:
  • A speech disorder refers to a problem with the actual production of sounds.
  • A language disorder refers to a problem understanding or putting words together to communicate.
Speech-language therapy helps with people's ability to express themselves clearly with spoken or written words, and to understand what others say in order to process the message and respond appropriately. Speech therapy deals with the mechanics of making sounds and producing words so that your message is clear to others.
Adults: For adults, speech-language therapy may be warranted to help with foreign accent reduction, to help with a voice problem, and to relearn their communication skills that may have been affected by a stroke or traumatic accident.
Children: For children, speech-language therapy most typically is needed to help achieve milestones when the child is delayed or disordered. Children may not say first words or combine words, use sentences, or have a vocabulary comparable to children their age. Other children may not speak clearly or use sounds that are typically mastered by their age. Some children may not understand what is being said, and may not respond appropriately, or not at all. Speech-language therapy helps children to speak clearly, to increase their understanding, and to communicate more effectively.
The Speech-Language Pathologist’s job is to evaluate and treat speech-language disorders. The SLP will identify if there are comprehension issues (also known as receptive language skills), and / or speech issues or expressive language concerns. Following evaluation, the SLP establishes goals to help the child to understand, to use correct language and/ or to speak clearly.
 
At the Bend Speech Express, we work with the child to achieve goals in a fun and effective way. Children love coming to speech therapy. Younger children think it is their special play-time. However, they are learning new skills and making progress toward their goals, which are imbedded into play, art, and story time. Older children have a great time playing games, reading and retelling stories, and participating in art activities. Parents experience the joy of watching their children learn new communication skills while having fun.

Articulation disorder–

difficulty or inability to produce speech sounds resulting in defective, nonstandard, or omitted sounds. This can result in mild speech distortions to severe articulation errors. Listeners may not understand single words, part of a message, or understand what is being said entirely.

Phonological disorder –

similar to an articulation disorder, but there are distinctive patterns identified with the speech sound errors. For example, a child may delete final consonant sounds in words. The child may say “beh” for “bed” and “buh” for “book.” Another error pattern is when a child substitutes sounds that are produced in the front of the mouth (such as “t” and “d”) for sounds that are produced in the back of the mouth (such as “k” and “g.”) The child would say “tup” for “cup.” There are other types of error patterns in addition to these examples.

Motor speech disorders* –

a group of speech disorders resulting from disturbances in muscular control (weakness, slowness, or incoordination) of the speech mechanism (lips, tongue, larynx, palate, jaw.) Motor speech disorders can be due to damage to the central nervous system or peripheral nervous system or both. They can affect several or all of the basic processes required for speech (respiration, phonation, resonance, articulation, and prosody).

Childhood apraxia of speech (CAS)*-

is a motor speech disorder. Children with CAS have problems saying sounds, syllables, and words. This is not because of muscle weakness or paralysis. The brain has problems planning to move the body parts (e.g., lips, jaw, tongue) needed for speech. The child knows what he or she wants to say, but his/her brain has difficulty coordinating the muscle movements necessary to say those words.

Dysarthria*-

is a motor speech disorder. The muscles of the mouth, face, and respiratory system may become weak, move slowly, or not move at all. This may be due to a stroke or other brain injury. There are different types of dysarthia. Some symptoms of dysarthria include “slurred” speech, slow or rapid rate of speech, low volume, drooling, limited movement of the tongue, lip, or jaw, and hoarse or nasal voice quality.

Stuttering–

affects the fluency or rhythm of speech. A person who stutters may repeat a sound or appear to be stuck on a sound or word. Children often go through periods of normal dis-fluency when they having an explosion in their language growth. True stuttering, however, can begin in childhood and continue throughout life. With help, some stuttering can go away, while others can learn to manage it.
Parents are smart. They listen to their child talk and know how he or she communicates. They also listen to his or her playmates who are about the same age and may even remember what older brothers and sisters did at the same age. Then the parents mentally compare their child's performance with the performance of these other children. What results is an impression of whether or not their child is developing speech and language at a normal rate. If parents think that development is slow, they may check out their impression with other parents, relatives, or their pediatrician. They may get an answer such as "My son was slow too. Now he won't shut up" or "Don't worry, she'll outgrow it."
But suppose (s)he doesn't? I'd feel guilty waiting and then finding out that I should have acted earlier. Waiting is so hard, especially when I'm concerned and only want what's best for my child. What's a parent to do? How will I know for sure what to do?
You won't know for sure. Although the stages that children pass through in the development of speech and language are very consistent, the exact age when they hit these milestones varies a lot. Factors such as the child's inborn ability to learn language, other skills the child is learning, the amount and kind of language the child hears, and how people respond to communication attempts can slow down or accelerate the speed of speech and language development. This makes it difficult to say with certainty where any young child's speech and language development will be in 3 months, or 1 year.
There are, however, certain factors that may increase the risk that a late-talking child in the 18- to 30-month-old age range, and with normal intelligence, will have continuing language problems. These factors include:
Receptive language: Understanding language generally precedes expression and use. Some studies that have followed-up late-talking children in this age range have found, after a year, that age-appropriate receptive language discriminated late bloomers from children who had true language delays. Other researchers doing follow-up studies included only children whose receptive language was within normal limits because they believed that delay in this area was likely to produce worse outcomes.
Use of gestures: One study has found that the number of gestures used by late-talking children with comparably low expressive language can indicate later language abilities. Children with a greater number of gestures used for different communication purposes are more likely to catch up with peers. Such a result is supported by findings that some older children who are taught non-verbal communication systems show a spontaneous increase in oral communication.
Age of diagnosis: More than one study has indicated that the older the child at time of diagnosis, the less positive the outcome. Obviously, older children in a study have had a longer time to bloom than younger children but have not done so, indicating that the language delay may be more serious. Also, if a child is only developing slowly during an age range when other children are rapidly progressing (e.g. 24-30 months) that child will be falling farther behind.
Progress in language development: Although a child may be slow in language development, he or she should still be doing new things with language at least every month. New words may be added. The same words may be used for different purposes. For example, "bottle" may one day mean "That is my bottle," the next, "I want my bottle," and the next week, "Where is my bottle? I don't see it." Words may be combined into longer utterances ("want bottle" "no bottle"), or such longer utterances may occur more often.
It should be re-emphasized that negative aspects of these factors increase the risk of a true language problem but do not mandate its presence. For example, one research group found that one of their 25- or 26-month-old children with the worst receptive language had the best expressive language outcome 10 months later. On the other hand, children on the positive side of these factors may turn out to show less progress than predicted. The research group found that the child with the poorest outcome had the best receptive language and the largest vocabulary at the beginning of the study.
One study has found that the number of gestures used by late-talking children with comparably low expressive language can indicate later language abilities.
Individual children may not behave like children in a group. Group data can only be used to predict what most children who are very similar to the children in a study might do. Predictions, by their very nature, are not always correct.

* this information has been derived from www.ASHA.org
Parents don't have to rely on the predictions of others or to guess that their child will be just like a friend's and eventually catch up in language development. If parents are concerned about their child's speech and language development, they should see a speech-language pathologist certified by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association for a professional evaluation. The speech-language pathologist can administer tests of receptive and expressive language, analyze a child's utterances in various situations, determine factors that may be slowing down language development, and counsel parents on the next steps to take.
The speech-language pathologist may give suggestions on stimulating language development, and ask that the parent and child return if parental concern continues. Or, the speech-language pathologist may want to schedule a re-evaluation right then. In more severe cases, the speech-language pathologist may want the parent and child to become involved in an early intervention program. The programs typically consist of demonstrating language stimulation techniques for home use, and more frequent monitoring of the child's progress. In the most severe cases, a more formal treatment program may be recommended.
Waiting to find out if your child will catch up will still be hard, but you won't feel guilty that you did not do everything you could.

* This information was derived from www.ASHA.org
Reading to your child is beneficial in many ways:
Reading creates a bonding, quality experience between parent and child. Children love their special reading time. Children love hearing the same book over and over again. They love the repetition, predictability, and the rhythm of books.
Children learn early speech and language skills when they listen to stories. Through books, the child is exposed a wide range of vocabulary that may not be heard in everyday language. Oral reading helps children to increase their listening skills and their attention spans. Hearing stories also allows the child to have a better understanding of grammar and sentence structure.
Listening to books is the beginning of literacy for children. “Literacy” is a person’s ability to read and write. Literacy is critical to success in school, at work, and in life. When children are read to, they learn how to hold a book, they learn that there are words on the page made of letters, that stories are read from left to right (in English), and that pictures support the story. They hear rhyming, fun words, and learn that there is a beginning, middle, and ending to stories (or sequencing). Children who are interested in reading are better writers than those who are not interested in reading.
The magic of stories helps your child to develop curiosity, creativity, and imagination. Reading to your children is a great way to introduce them to the joy of reading. I recommend that every family set aside a special time to read to your child regularly.

Phone consultations are always free.  Please feel free to contact Bend Speech Express with any concerns you may have.  You can phone or email - whichever works best for you!

 
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