All young children are expected to speak with some speech sound substitutions and follow simplified speech sound patterns. As Speech and Language Pathologists, it is our responsibility to assess the sounds and patterns that children are making and determine whether they are age appropriate. Some children have speech sounds and patterns that are right on track for their age, while some demonstrate a speech delay or a speech disorder. We are experts in analyzing a child’s speech, diagnosing the presence of a delay or disorder, and establishing an appropriate treatment plan.
Speech therapy should ALWAYS be fun and motivating to the children!! Children make the most progress when they enjoy the activities in our sessions and are supported by their parents. Home programming is a must to generalize their speech from the therapy sessions to the rest of their worlds. The working relationship between the therapist and parent is a significant part of the process.
Types of Speech Production disorders
When your child receives an evaluation by one of our SLPs, we will be not only listening for the presence of a speech disorder but for what type of speech production disorder it is. There are three main types we will listen for: an articulation disorder, a phonological disorder, and childhood apraxia of speech.
Articulation disorders are characterized by errored production of one or a few speech sounds. For example, if your 9-year-old child struggles with producing /r/ but has mastered all other speech sounds, they may need articulation therapy to learn the correct production of the sound.
Phonological disorders refer to the presence of phonological processes in a child’s speech. Phonological processes are predictable patterns of errors that children use to simplify adult speech that persists beyond when they are age-appropriate. For example, if your 5-year-old child consistently leaves the final consonant sound off of words regardless of what that final consonant sound is, they may need therapy to target the phonological process of final consonant deletion. There are over 20 different phonological processes, or error patterns, that may occur.
Three examples include:
Final consonant deletion: producing words without the last consonant. This may sound like ‘pig’ as ‘pih’, ‘book’ as ‘buh’ and ‘car’ as ‘cah’.
Stopping: substituting shorter sounds, such as /d/ and /b/, for longer ones, such as /s/ and /f/. This may sound like ‘fan’ as ‘pan’ or ‘house’ as ‘haut’.
Gliding: substituting a liquid sound (/l/ or /r/) with a glide sound (/w/ or /y/). This may sound like ‘red’ as ‘wed’ or ‘cry’ as ‘cwy’.
Childhood Apraxia of Speech
Unlike articulation and phonological disorders that involve mislearning of sounds and sound patterns, Childhood Apraxia of Speech (CAS) is motor-based in etiology. This means that the child has difficulty coordinating the muscle movements needed to produce speech sounds. Many muscles need to move the tongue, lips, and jaw in very specific ways to produce precise speech sounds. CAS does not indicate that these speech muscles are weak, but rather that the brain has difficulty creating a motor plan and executing muscle movements to produce speech sounds accurately.
Some indications of CAS include:
Limited spoken words
Limited consonant and vowel sound inventory
Inconsistent errors (producing a word incorrectly but in different ways each time the word is attempted)
Voicing errors (turning their voice on at the wrong spots in a word)
Vowel distortion errors (trying to produce a vowel and producing a different vowel instead)
Groping movements (mouth movements while trying to attain correct positioning)
Therapy techniques selected to treat your child depend on the nature of their speech sound disorder.
Our SLPs have advanced professional training in a wide range of techniques, including:
The Talk Tools program is a highly respected and sought-after approach to improving speech production using bubbles, whistles, straws, and other oral motor tasks. These well-organized tools and tasks improve strength and coordination of the speech articulators. They also build new oral motor plans which increase speech production. For more information on TALK
TOOLS, please visit www.talktools.com.
PROMPT, an acronym for Prompts for Restructuring Oral Muscular Phonetic Targets is a play-based therapy in which the SLP very strategically chooses target sounds for the child to focus on. Tactile prompts are used to help the children achieve proper oral motor postures to produce the targets. Social, cognitive, and linguistic aspects are all considered when choosing the targets. For more information on PROMPT therapy, please visit their website at www.promptinstitute.com
Written by Stacy Lecznar, MA, CCC-SLP A Gigi’s Kids Speech and Language Pathologist
A note from Ben's family…
“We cannot say enough wonderful things about Amanda. In fact, she may be our son's favorite person in the world! Not only did Amanda help Ben improve his speech GREATLY over the course of their 9 or so months together, but he was able to 'graduate' in under a year vs. the 3+ years we had initially anticipated. His confidence also soared as a result of his clearer speech. Amanda has such a gift; she was able to connect with Ben in the most wonderful way possible with her warm, engaging, encouraging, and upbeat personality. His favorite part of the day was when Ms. Amanda would pull him out of his classroom for their interactive, fun and effective session (a convenience that was also invaluable as two working parents). We absolutely and without any reservation recommend Amanda!
A note from Reuben’s mom…
“Amanda has watched my kids grow and has grown with them. She focuses on their interests. Easily pivots to find activities that capture my kids' attention. She helps keep us accountable with things to work on at home. We feel very lucky to work with Ms. Amanda and look forward to being in person with her again.
Becca, Mom of 2 speech clients
A note from Judah’s mom:
“I was skeptical about whether virtual sessions would be as effective, and whether she would be able to capture his attention on a screen as she could in person. Just as she did in person, Amanda meets the students at their level and engages them. She finds new and fun games to play virtually every session, and my son’s progress in a matter of weeks has been nothing short of incredible.
Prior to beginning our virtual sessions, Amanda told me that this kind of learning works best with parent involvement. I sit with my son during the sessions to make sure he is following through with the sounds, techniques, and facial gestures she is looking for. In between sessions, Amanda provides homework and all of the support needed for the parent. I find that my son is enthused to practice because he really looks forward to his sessions with Amanda and whichever new games he will be playing!
Amanda is also genuinely kind, has a great sense of humor and a fun personality for kids to work with, and is full of praise for her students. I appreciate how well she communicates with parents and her candor in letting parents know when the student has achieved the particular goal in mind. Whether in person or virtually, I would wholeheartedly recommend Amanda’s speech therapy services to any parent!”
Ilana, Mother of 3