Signs your child may have challenges with Speech
(including, but not limited to):
Substitutes one sound for another (e.g. /t/ for /k/)
Leaves off a sound to a word (e.g. ca for cat )
Uses vowel distortions
Difficulty with speech movements
Limited number of vowels and consonants used
Abnormal pitch and rate
What is it?
Articulation refers to the way we say our sounds. Children can substitute one sound for another, distort a sound, or leave off a sound. Our therapists teach the child to use the correct tongue and lip positions, airflow, and voicing. Our therapists find fun ways to incorporate the repetition necessary for progress in this area.
Phonology refers to the patterns of errors. There are specific, research-based approaches our therapists use to decrease these patterns. It is considered a disorder when phonological processes or patterns to errors persist beyond the age when most typically developing children have stopped using them.
Childhood Apraxia of Speech (CAS) is a motor speech disorder. It is not due to weakness in the muscles. Rather, apraxia is due to difficulty planning the movements to produce the speech sounds.
Symptoms include vowel distortions, limited number of different vowels and consonants, sound distortions, difficulty with speech movements, groping behavior to find speech sound, sequencing errors, and can produce automatic speech phrases (e.g. the days of the week) more accurately than new phrases.
Our speech-language pathologists complete a thorough evaluation to diagnosis CAS, including checking the child’s speech sound development, his/her oral motor structures, and the melody of his/her speech. CAS is generally not diagnosed until a child is at least 3 years of age and has at least 50 words.
At Leaps and Bounds, our speech-language pathologists create treatment plans based on each child’s specific needs. Each child is assessed to determine which speech sounds are made in error and determine if there are any phonological processes or patterns contributing to these errors.
A treatment plan is determined based on whether the child presents with an articulation disorder (no patterns) or a phonological disorder (patterns present). We incorporate drill and repetition into play-based therapy.
With motor speech disorders, it is recommended that treatment sessions occur frequently (3 to 5 times per week). Part of the treatment plan will include a home practice plan to practice the strategies at home.
Sometimes sign language or augmentative and alternative communication systems will be used to provide the child a way to communicate while his/her speech intelligibility is improving. A child’s preferred activities are incorporated into the sessions to provide motivation.