What is Speech Language Pathology?
Speech Language Pathology is the study and treatment of speech and language problems. Speech Language Pathologists (SLP’s) are trained clinicians that help patients with a variety of speech, language, social and overall communication problems. The most well-known area of treatment is for those individuals with speech impediments such as stuttering, lisps and pronunciation problems. However, Speech Language Pathologists often do more than that.
Worried that your child isn’t speaking early enough? Are they having trouble pronouncing letters and words, or speaking too quietly?
SLN is here to help them build communication tools for life.
If your child is struggling to be understood, SLN speech therapy can help! We’ll assist them to coordinate their mouth, helping them better produce sounds to form words and sentences. This includes addressing articulation, fluency and voice volume regulation. The SLN can help with all variety of speech delays, including:
1. Articulation and Phonology
As children acquire new language and start using new words, many often make some speech errors. These are referred to as developmental (typical) errors and, for many children, all it takes is time for these errors to be corrected. An articulation delay/disorder, however, is present if they continue to make speech errors past a certain age.If you’re concerned about your child, this sound chart will help you determine if your child is in the typical range.
Phonology delays deal with the rules for the structure and sequencing of speech sounds, and is related to language development and reading. Children who present with a phonological (sound sequencing) delay are hard to understand and may also have difficulties learning to read and acquire new language due to weak phonological skills (sound awareness).
Read more on phonological development.
2. Childhood Apraxia of Speech
Apraxia is a motor speech disorder in which the brain has difficulty coordinating the body parts used to produce speech (lips, jaw, tongue). Children diagnosed with apraxia are very hard to understand and have trouble saying sounds, syllables and words. They know what they want to say, however their brain has trouble coordinating the muscle movements necessary to produce the words.
3. Voice Therapy
Voice is affected by your general health, the environment, and how it is used. If a child has not already seen an Ear Nose and Throat (ENT) doctor for their voice problem, the S-LP will suggest a referral to one through your family doctor. The ENT will make the diagnosis and recommendations for treatment.Some voice disorders, like nodules or muscle tension dysphonia may be treated with voice therapy by a speech-language pathologist. Other disorders, like reflux laryngitis, may be treated with a combination of voice therapy and medication. Some voice disorders that are treated with surgery (e.g.,polyps, or throat cancer). Even if surgery is required, S-LP treatment can help with preparation for the surgery and recovery afterwards.
Voice therapy at the SLN is designed to meet the unique needs of each client. Therapy may consist of an established program or, the S-LP may combine several different techniques in order to achieve the highest level of success.
Stuttering (sometimes referred to as disfluency) is a communication difficulty that affects the fluency and flow of speech.It is common for many children of all ages to experience disfluencies. This does not necessarily mean that there is a problem. However, frequent disfluencies can result in difficulties with communication and can be frustrating and upsetting for the person communicating as well as for the family. The SLN can determine if your child’s disfluencies warrant therapy.
Stuttering may include repetitions of whole words, parts of words and initial letters of words and may also involve prolongations (stretching of sounds). Sometime speech may become blocked. The causes of stuttering are complex and varied.
In all instances, the assessment includes a detailed evaluation of fluency and a determination of speech and language features. Other factors that may contribute to a child’s fluency issues will be evaluated e.g. confidence when speaking, challenges communicating with friends etc.
Does your child struggle to put ideas into words? Do they have trouble with reading and comprehension, or interpreting others?
Better understanding starts with the SLN.
The ability to understand and express language is vital to your child’s development. From written, pictorial, body and sign forms, to alternative communication systems such as computers and iPads, the SLN can help your child develop the language skills necessary for success.
Children may require language therapy due to a developmental delay, a specific diagnosis (such as specific language impairment, autism, Down syndrome, or hearing loss), and/or because they have difficulties acquiring language in the same way as their peers. We can assist with a wide range of language delays, including:
1. Language Delays
Language therapy for the intervention and treatment of language delays may include, but is not limited to:
- Basic concept development
- Oral comprehension (receptive language) – concept & vocabulary development, problem solving, language processing
- Oral expression (expressive language) – functional labeling & requesting, word & sentence structures, expressing thoughts and ideas clearly and concisely
- Reading Comprehension – language organization
- Social (pragmatic) language therapy – learning how to socially use, change and follow language in different contexts and environments.
2. Language Processing Delays (Auditory Processing)
Children with language processing difficulties typically have intact hearing and near normal to average language skills. However, they experience difficulty attaching meaning to what they hear/read and, as a result, have troubles understanding/processing incoming information. The SLN can provide intervention and treatment for individuals experiencing language processing delays. Therapy targets strengthening language, problem-solving, memory, attention and other cognitive skills (as well as examining other factors) to help compensate for and overcome auditory delays.
3. Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC)
AAC is a set of strategies and tools used to help individuals (often with severe speech and/or language difficulties) enhance their ability to express themselves. The SLN offers AAC consultation, family support and treatment for both unaided (gesture, body language or sign language) and aided (paper and pencil, picture systems, speech generating devices) communication systems.
Is interacting with others a challenge for your child? Do they find it difficult to adapt to changing social situations, or embrace social cues?
We’ll help them better connect with their world.
There’s more to social language skills than please and thank you, and waiting your turn in conversation. Social language skills have a substantial impact on your child’s day-to-day life and play a critical role in their emotional and developmental success in school and at home.
Whether your child has difficulty interacting with peers, understanding and interpreting the perspectives and motivations of others, or struggles to relate to or empathize with others, the SLN is here to help. Some of the many social areas that the SLN can help your child develop include:
From everyday language usage to appropriate interpretation and response to context, the SLN can help your child excel at social communication.
Social language use – initiating interactions, using greetings, requesting information, etc
Changing language – talking differently based on the audience or location
Social rules – taking turns in a conversation, staying on topic, reading verbal and non-verbal cues, etc
2. Theory of Mind
We’ll help your child learn how to recognize, understand, interpret and respond appropriately to different beliefs, moods and motivations across different cultures and environments.
Perspective taking – ability to relate to and empathize with others, and relate to non-verbal cues
Have Coverage for Therapy Services?
Many insurance providers offer coverage for speech and language therapy, and occupational therapy. We encourage you to inquire with your insurance provider to determine if your private insurance plan has coverage for these services. Receipts will be provided to you with the required documentation for reimbursement purposes. The Speech Language Network is an approved service provider for the following: