talktime speech and language



FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

What is a language disorder?
There are two types of language skills: receptive language and expressive
language. Receptive language is your child’s ability to understand what is
said. This includes following auditory directions and understanding specific
concepts (i.e. spatial, temporal). Expressive language is how a person
communicates to others and expresses his/her wants and needs. This
area includes vocabulary, sentence structure, length of sentences and
verbal organization.

From infancy, these language skills improve and follow an expected
developmental timetable. When a child presents with significant delays in
development of his/her expressive and/or receptive language skills, speech
therapy services may be warranted. Speech therapy assists the child in
acquiring the skills necessary to interact at an age-appropriate level.

What is an articulation disorder?
Articulation is the production of consonants and vowels to form words.
Even before children say their first word, they are practicing these speech
sounds while babbling and during sound play. During development, certain
consonants are expected to be mastered (produced accurately) by specific
ages. There is also an expected level of speech intelligibility for each age.
When a child does not produce these speech sounds according to developmental
expectations, it may be hard for their peers or other adults to understand
what they are saying. Early identification and treatment of your child’s
articulation deficits can significantly improve his/her ability to interact with
peers and make wants/needs known. This, in turn, can greatly reduce
his/her frustration.

What is an Auditory Processing Disorder?
Auditory processing is how your brain processes the speech sounds your
ear is hearing. When a child has an Auditory Processing Disorder, many
areas of function can be affected. It may be hard to understand what is said,
therefore the child will have difficulty following auditory directions. It also
frequently negatively affects a child’s acquisition of phonics for reading and
spelling skills. Diagnosis of an Auditory Processing Disorder is done through
a combination of audiological and speech/language evaluations, and
treatment is usually completed by the Speech Language Pathologist.

What is Oral Motor?
The oral musculature required for both speech and feeding includes the lips,
tongue, jaw, cheeks and palate. Evaluation of oral motor skills should include
assessment of jaw stability and strength, as well as coordination, strength
and range of motion of the lips and tongue. If a child presents with reduced
oral motor skills that are negatively affecting his/her function, treatment
would be recommended. An example would be if a child is unable to elevate
his/her tongue. This would make production of /l/ difficult, and therefore
cause an articulation error. Treatment to facilitate the needed tongue
movement would allow the child to acquire speech sounds appropriately.

What is a Feeding Disorder?
When a person eats or drinks, the muscles of the mouth are needed to
control the food, chew it, and send to the back of the mouth to be swallowed.
In some cases, a child’s oral motor deficits may make chewing or controlling
certain textures of food more difficult. Some children cough, choke or gag,
while others will simple refuse certain types of food. A qualified Speech
Pathologist can evaluate your child’s feeding skills and make recommendations
for treatment, and/or referrals to other medical professionals when appropriate.

Does my child stutter?
Stuttering is when a person is unable to produce expressive language
fluently. Types of stuttering include repetition of words, phrases or syllables,
prolongations of speech sounds within a word, and excessive effort
required to speak. There are times during normal development when a
child may demonstrate stuttering-like speech patterns. There are also
speech patterns that are not a normal part of development. It is a good
idea to consult with a Speech Language Pathologist to determine if your
child’s “stuttering” is a normal part of development or if treatment is needed.
As with other areas of treatment, early identification and intervention is a
key factor in your child’s success in therapy.

Should I be concerned?
Over the years, I’ve found that a parent’s “gut feeling” is usually correct.
It is the parents who know their child best, but they also spend the most
time with the child. This can cause reduced objectivity, so it is also a good idea
to listen to the observations of the child’s teachers and non-family caregivers.
If you have doubts that your child is meeting his/her developmental expectations,
a speech/language evaluation will confirm or rule out the need for therapy.


 
 
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