What is speech and language therapy?

Children, at various ages, will sometimes have difficulty either in pronouncing specific sounds (articulation), understanding/putting words together (language) to communicate ideas, or keeping the flow/“smoothness” of speech production (fluency). This is normal, up to a certain age. If you feel that your child is having difficulty in one or in any of these areas, there is help. Speech Web Home Care, LLC specializes in treatment for kids with a communication and/or language delay.

What is considered a speech and language delay?

Articulation – Producing sounds in syllables or words to a point where others cannot understand what is being said. An articulation or phonological problem is considered as the usage of inappropriate production and use of speech sounds. Typically, articulation refers to the ability to produce individual speech sounds and phonology refers to the rules used by speakers to put the sounds together to make words.

Fluency – Problems such as stuttering. Meaning, the flow of words and speech is interrupted. A majority of children are experiencing a normal phase of language development referred to as a period of “normal dysfluency.” Most children will progress out of this phase but some children will continue with these dysfluencies now considered stuttering. Signs of stuttering include:

  • sound or syllable repetitions ("st-st-st-st-st-stuttering),
  • prolonging of sounds or words (ssssssssssssstuttering)
  • silent speech postures (the lips, tongue, jaw are held as if ready to speak, and the child may appear to be attempting to speak, however no sound comes out)
  • may have difficulty in producing and saying words, phrases, or sentences therefore avoiding them and feeling distressed by the disruptions in his or her speech
  • visible effort is seen in attempts to speak
  • child struggles to produce certain sounds or words;
  • child’s struggles to produce speech: other body parts are tense and restricted such as eyes opening wide, head movements, arm movements

Language Disorder – Can be expressive or receptive.

  • Receptive-difficulties in understanding or processing language

  • Expressive– Difficulty in putting words together, limited vocabulary, or a delay to use language in a socially appropriate way

It is important to note that children at different age levels will experience language difficulty differently. Preschool children will display a language difficulty in their early school years due to the increasing linguistic demands of the curriculum. Another population of children is school aged youngsters who are diagnosed with learning disabilities and/or attention deficit disorder. Lastly, children who have difficulty academically and struggle in keeping their grades above a “C” should be evaluated or referred for a language disorder.

Preschool Age Developmental Milestones between 12 months to 48 months:

  • 12 Months - child should be using pointing gestures to communicate and use some single words.

  • 8 Months - child should experience a large increase in vocabulary words (the vocabulary spurt) and begin to link some words into two word combinations.

  • 24 Months - child should routinely use combinations of 2, 3 and 4 words (e.g. "Mommy run", "Daddy eat apple", "Mommy eat Daddy Sandwich").

  • 36 Months - child should be constructing simple sentences using word endings (e. g. "-ing", "plural –s", "past tense –ed") and use some smaller words in sentences such as "is", "the", "in", "on", etc.

  • 48 Months - child should be able to construct more complex sentences using conjunctions (e.g. "and", "but", etc.) and combine two sentences together by "embedding" them (e.g. "The kitty ate the mouse that lives in the hole.")