Delayed or disordered speech and language development can lead to a breakdown in communication with our children. Early assessment and intervention is therefore vital to ensure that children achieve their maximum potential in communication development. It also helps alleviate some of the associated difficulties of communication break-down such as frustration, withdrawal and socialisation difficulties.
The Speech Pathology for Kids team is experienced in dealing with children. We know how to make them feel comfortable and to make therapy fun.
Communication Problems treated at Speech Pathology for Kids:
Receptive Language Difficulties
Receptive language is your child’s ability to understand what others say to her/him
We can help with
- Developing joint attention
- Developing auditory memory
- Developing listening skills (auditory processing)
- Following directions
- Understanding questions and language concepts
Some possible symptoms that may indicate your child is experiencing difficulties with their receptive language skills include:
- Difficulties answering questions
- Repeating back what is said to them (echolalia)
- Difficulties following an instruction
- Difficulties understanding a complex sentence
- Difficulties with making and keeping friends
Expressive Language Difficulties
Expressive language is your child’s ability to join words to make sentences using the correct vocabulary and grammar
We can help with
- Early communicative gestures, sound play and development of babble
- First words and combining words
- Expanding vocabulary
- Using verbs and grammar (pronouns, plurals, tenses etc) to build sentence length and complexity
- Answering questions effectively
- Holding a conversation
- Telling stories and re-tell events
Some possible symptoms that may indicate your child is experiencing difficulties with their expressive language skills include:
- Difficulties with holding a conversation
- Difficulties using the correct grammar
- Using jargon
- Using short sentences for their age
- Difficulties with finding a right word in conversation
- No combining words to form sentences
- Pragmatic difficulties (social interaction skills)
- Understanding the social aspect of communication such as greeting, getting someone’s attention, making eye contact, turn taking, protesting, etc.
- Communicating effectively in a social contexts
Speech Sound Difficulties
We use our oral muscles including tongue, lips, teeth, jaw and vocal folds to produce speech sounds. Children can experience a range of difficulties that will affect the way they produce their speech sounds.
Delays and Disorders of Articulation
Some children have difficulty achieving correct articulatory placement for specific sounds (such as a lisp) and this is called articulation disorder. Sometimes articulation disorders are due to muscle weakness, structural issues, tongue thrust, posture etc, but often the cause of an articulation disorder is unknown.
An articulation delay exists when a child continues to make mistakes with a particular sound or group of sounds past the age expected.
Delays and Disorders of Phonology
When learning to talk young children make a number of typical errors with their speech sounds that gradually correct as their speech and language develops. For example they might:
- Omit all ending sounds (e.g. “bus” becomes “bu”)
- Simplify multicyllable words (“tomato” becomes “mato”)
- Replace sounds made at back of the mouth (/K/ and /G/ with sounds made in the front of the mouth (e.g. “car” becomes “tar”, “goat” becomes “doat”)
- Have difficulty contrasting long versus short sounds such as replacing the long /s/ with short /d/ (e.g. “sun” becomes “dun”).
These are examples of just a few processes seen in typically developing children. For some children these error patters do not gradually improve in line with age expectations and we refer to this as phonological delay. Some children make unusual speech error patterns that do not usually occur in typical development. This is referred as phonological disorder.
Childhood Apraxia of Speech (CAS)
CAS is a relatively rare speech disorder which can be complex and difficult to diagnose.
Children with CAS:
- Have difficulty in palming and coordinating the fine motor movements necessary for accurate speech production.
- Have difficulty producing sounds, syllables, words and sentences.
- May need other nonverbal supports to help them communicate.
- May have accompanying language difficulties.
CAS is not due to the weakness of the muscles but rather a breakdown in the messages the brain send to the muscles to make the sounds, syllables, words and sentences. The focus of treatment involves improving the planning, sequencing and coordination of muscle movements for speech multi-sensory. Home practice is very important and the evidence strongly suggests that intensive, regular treatment is most effective for these children.
Stuttering is a disorder of the fluency and flow of speech in which the child may experience:
- Speech that is interrupted by repeated movements and fixed postures.
- Regular sound and word repetitions, prolongations stretching out of sounds) and/or blocking (inability to say a sound due to a stoppage of airflow). All three types can co-occur
- Associated repetitive movements such as facial grimacing, facial twitching and sharp intakes of breath
A lisp is a speech sound error that you might notice in your child. It is a specific type of error, where your child has difficulty making one or more of the following sibilant sounds;
- ‘s’ for ‘sun’
- ‘z’ for ‘zoo’
- ‘sh’ for ‘ship’
- ‘ch’ for ‘chin
- ‘j’ for ‘jumper’
- ‘zh’ for ‘measure’