written by Jaimi Bird, M.A., CCC-SLP
Do you know what a speech-language pathologist does? Have you wondered if a speech-language pathologist can help your child? Are you worried that your child may not be meeting their communication milestones? This is the perfect time to find out.
At Enrichment Therapy and Learning Center we would like to shine a light on how speech-language pathologists can help children with a communication delay or disorder. 11% of children ages 3–6 have a speech, language, voice, or swallowing disorder. Communication disorders are among the most common childhood disabilities; however, timely intervention can help a child overcome their speech-language disorder and go on to be successful academically and socially.
Unfortunately, too often speech and language disorders go undetected and untreated for too long. If you have any concerns, don’t wait and see if there is a change. Trust your instincts, and get it checked out. Let us help! At Enrichment Therapy & Learning Center we offer free screenings if you are unsure if your child needs an evaluation. Within a 30 minute screening, we will be able to tell you if your child would benefit from a full speech-language assessment. At that time, we can schedule a comprehensive evaluation that will allow us to assess your child’s strengths and weaknesses and formulate a therapy plan specific to your child’s needs.
Speech and language disorders are evaluated and treated by speech-language pathologists. Speech-language pathologists, often called SLPs, are experts in communication. SLPs have a master’s degree in speech-language pathology and hold a Certificate of Clinical Competence issued by the American Speech-Language & Hearing Association (ASHA). Each SLP is also licensed in their state. Speech-language pathologists work with people of all ages, from infants to adults. SLPs treat many types of communication problems.
At Enrichment Therapy & Learning Center we specialize in communication skills for children ages 18 months to 21 years old. We can provide therapy for many different communication impairments. These include problems with:
Language- how well we understand what we hear or read and how we use words to tell others what we are thinking.
Here are some warning signs for delayed or disordered early language ability:
- Does not smile or interact with others (birth and older)
- Makes only a few sounds or gestures, like pointing (7–12 months)
- Does not understand what others say (7 months–2 years)
- Says only a few words (12–18 months)
- Does not put words together to make sentences (1½–3 years)
Speech Sounds- how we say sounds and put sounds together into words. Other words for these problems are articulation or phonological disorders, apraxia of speech, or dysarthria.
Here are some warning signs for delayed or disordered speech:
- Says p, b, m, h, and w incorrectly in words (1–2 years)
- Says k, g, f, t, d, and n incorrectly in words (2–3 years)
- Produces speech that is unclear, even to familiar people
Social communication– how well we follow rules, like taking turns, how to talk to different people, or how close to stand to someone when talking. This is also called pragmatics.
Here are some warning signs for impairment social communication:
- Does not use eye contact or facial expressions
- Does not use language for different reasons such as greeting, informing, and requesting
- Does not easily take turns when talking with others
- Does not stay on topic
Cognitive communication– how well our minds work. Problems may involve memory, attention, problem-solving, organization, and other thinking skills.
Here are some warning signs for cognitive-communication deficits:
- Is not able to recall multi-step instructions
- Has slow speed for processing of information
- Has difficulty sequencing and solving problems
Fluency- also called stuttering, is how well speech flows. Many young children will go through a time when they stutter, but most outgrow it.
Here are some warning signs for stuttering:
- Repeats first sounds of words—“b-b-b-ball” for “ball”
- Speech breaks while trying to say a word—“—–boy” for “boy”
- Stretches sounds out—“ffffff-farm” for “farm”
- Shows frustration when trying to get words out
Voice Disorders- refers to how our voices sound.
Here are some warning signs for voice disorders:
- Uses a hoarse or breathy voice
- Uses a nasal-sounding voice
Be proactive with your child’s development! Don’t wait to see if he or she “grows out” of their speech or language delay. The sooner we work on the problem, the more successful your child will be. Giving your child a solid foundation will help them be successful academically and socially in the future.
Enrichment Therapy & Learning Center has locations in the Iowa City, IA area and Des Moines, IA area. We provide individual speech-language therapy and tutoring as well as offering small group academic programs. At Enrichment Therapy & Learning Center our passion is to help kids achieve effective communication skills and gain academic success. Contact us for more information on how we can help your child succeed.
740 Community Drive, Unit A
North Liberty, IA 52317
5530 West Pkwy, Suite 300
Johnston, IA 50131