Does my child need Speech Therapy?

Many children experience speech or language challenges as they grow. Some of these are a natural part of typical language development; others are more complicated issues that may or may not be associated with global developmental issues. Wherever your child is on the language development continuum, if intervention is needed, early intervention yields the best results.

How do speech and language develop?

The first 3 years of life, when the brain is developing and maturing, is the most intensive period for acquiring speech and language skills. These skills develop best in a world that is rich with sounds, sights, and consistent exposure to the speech and language of others.

There appears to be critical periods for speech and language development in infants and young children when the brain is best able to absorb language. If these critical periods are allowed to pass without exposure to language, it will be more difficult to learn.

What is the difference between a speech disorder and a language disorder?

Children who have trouble understanding what others say (receptive language) or difficulty sharing their thoughts (expressive language) may have a language disorder. Specific language impairment (SLI) is a language disorder that delays the mastery of language skills. Some children with SLI may not begin to talk until their third or fourth year.

Children who have trouble producing speech sounds correctly or who hesitate or stutter when talking, may have a speech disorder. Apraxia of speech is a speech disorder that makes it difficult to put sounds and syllables together in the correct order to form words.

What are Voice, Speech and Language?

Voice, speech, and language are the tools we use to communicate with each other.

Voice is the sound we make as air from our lungs is pushed between vocal folds in our larynx, causing them to vibrate.

Speech is talking, which is one way to express language. It involves the precisely coordinated muscle actions of the tongue, lips, jaw, and vocal tract to produce the recognizable sounds that make up language.

Language is a set of shared rules that allow people to express their ideas in a meaningful way. Language may be expressed verbally or by writing, signing, or making other gestures, such as eye blinking or mouth movements.

Is it best to have my child screened early?

Yes. As soon as you suspect a delay in any of the areas above, it is best to have a screening completed. Screenings are offered free of charge at your child's school or at our office located in South Miami, FL.

What is involved in a screening?

Screenings are abbreviated evaluations that determine if a child could benefit from further evaluation or if a child's level of performance is age appropriate and no further evaluation is needed. Screenings assess Expressive and Receptive Language, Articulation, Oral Motor, Voice and Fluency. If your child is found to have mild difficulties, a full speech/language evaluation is NOT recommended. Home=programming ideas will be discussed in order for you to help facilitate these skills at home. If an area of concern is identified, a full speech/language evaluation will be recommended. Expressions Speech is available to provide a full evaluation and the costs and expectations will be discussed before proceeding.

What is involved in an Evaluation?

An evaluation allows a speech pathologist the opportunity to assess your child's development. This is done through testing. Testing can include a standardized test, observation through play, history information or parent report. In most cases, it includes all four or any combination thereof. Through the evaluation, it will be determined if treatment is necessary. Treatment cannot be initiated unless an evaluation has been completed. Referrals to other professionals may be made if during the evaluation it is found that your child is having difficulties in areas that are outside the realm of practice for a speech pathologist. This may include audiology, ENT, Occupational Therapist, Physical Therapist, or orthodontist, etc..