speech & language Therapy
Speech & Language Therapy assists children in developing communication skills that allow children to engage in daily activities and verbally interact with peers, adults and their family. Speech & Language Therapy for children helps to address concerns related, but not limited, to the following needs: delayed language development, hearing impairments, feeding/swallowing difficulties, stuttering, voice disorders, preschool aged children with articulation and phonological disorders and children with communication disorders related to a specific diagnosis (autism, down syndrome; hearing impairment, etc.).
If a child qualifies for Speech & Language Services through the developmental screening and evaluation process, therapy services will be provided by a Speech Language Pathologist (SLP) or Speech Language Pathology Assistant in a child’s natural environment. For children ages birth through two years this is usually the home or a childcare setting. For children ages three through five years it is often a preschool setting or another educational setting. The goal of Speech & Language Therapy is to develop or improve a child’s communication skills in order to help them effectively communicate with others.
Areas of Speech Language Development/Therapy:
Indirect Language Stimulation
Language stimulation techniques are enrichment activities that are taught to a child’s family and caregivers to facilitate a child’s language development. Indirect language stimulation is a valuable part of all speech language therapy and is used by SLPs during the intervention sessions.
Receptive Language Development
Children with a receptive language delay may have difficulty comprehending or understanding what is said to them. They may not appear to be listening when spoken to and have difficulty following directions. The SLP focuses on developing the child’s ability to follow verbal directions, understand language concepts, and understand complex sentences.
Expressive Language Development
Children with an expressive language delay may have difficulty developing spoken language. They may use gestures instead of words and rely on short, simple sentences to attempt to communicate with others. The SLP focuses on assisting the child in developing functional communication skills so that the child is able to request, ask/answer questions, and share information with others. The SLP also assists the child in learning to format grammatically correct sentences, complex sentences, and to carry on a conversation.
All children make some pronunciation errors when they are learning to communicate. A child whose speech is difficult to understand may have an articulation or phonological delay. The SLP works with the child to correct a child’s articulation or phonological delay by teaching correct placement and production of speech sounds and/or sound patterns. The focus of therapy is to decrease the child’s sound pattern errors and sound omissions, substitutions, and/or distortions that are persisting beyond the age at which the majority of children have mastered production of sounds.
Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC)
This includes all forms of communication (other than oral speech) that are used for functional communication; including expressing thoughts, needs, wants, and ideas. We all use AAC when we make facial expressions or gestures, use symbols or pictures, or write. AAC users do not stop using speech. The AAC aids and devices are used to enhance their communication. SLPs work with the child and his/her family to determine the most appropriate communication system and assist the child in learning to use the system.