Speech and language therapy services (ST) help children gain the speech and language skills that are needed to be successful communicators. ST also helps to improve literacy and social skills to promote learning and social success. Listed below are some common speech and language concerns that typically require skilled therapeutic intervention.
Autism, or autism spectrum disorder, refers to a complex developmental disability in which the child demonstrates repetitive patterns of behaviors and has challenges with social interaction skills. The symptoms are of varying degree for each child, but are present from early childhood and affect daily functioning.
Signs of Autism may include:
A late talker is a child typically between the ages of 18-30 months that is able to understand language but has a limited spoken vocabulary. The child has typical development in other developmental areas including play, motor, cognitive, and social skills.
Signs of a Late Talker may include:
Childhood apraxia of speech is a motor speech disorder in which the brain has difficulties with the planning of movements needed for speech. This results in the child having difficulty saying sounds, syllables, and words.
Signs of Childhood Apraxia of Speech (CAS) may include:
Oral motor skills are skills that include the awareness, strength, coordination, range of motion and endurance of the jaw, tongue, and lips needed for adequate speech production.
Signs of an Oral Motor Skills Disorder can include:
Speech sound skills are the speech sounds and sound patterns that children produce to make words. A speech sound disorder occurs when children make mistakes in their speech that continue past a certain age or impact the ability for others to understand them.
Signs of a Speech Sound Disorder may include:
Language skills include a child’s ability to understand language (receptive language), communicate their thoughts and ideas (expressive language), and interact with others (social-pragmatic skills).
Signs of a Language Disorder may include:
Social skills are skills which allow for children to meet their milestones through learning from peers and adults appropriate ways to interact with their world. Engagement in social settings promotes positive relationships, play, attention, and self-regulation skills.
Delays in social skills may include the following:
Literacy skills are the skills needed for children to be able to read and write. Literacy skills include the awareness of the sounds of language, the relationship between letters and sounds, and awareness of print. Literacy also includes vocabulary, comprehension, and spelling skills.
Literacy problems can include:
Fluency refers to the smoothness in the flow of sound, word, and sentences during normal speech production. Disfluency/Stuttering occurs when there is a disruption in the ability for a child to talk smoothly.
Signs of a Fluency/Stuttering disorder may include:
A voice disorder occurs when the child has difficulties with the quality of their voice. This can include pitch, volume, and tone quality. Voice disorders are a medical condition and warrant a referral to an ENT.
Signs of a voice disorder may include:
Augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) includes all forms of communication (other than oral speech) that are used to express thoughts, needs, wants, and ideas. This may involve pointing, using pictures, sign language, or using an AAC device. Many times AAC can be a short-term option to support communication skills and model speech and language skills.
Signs that AAC may be beneficial for child: