Strategies for mastering Speech, Language, Feeding, and Oral Motor skills
Shelby Camhi, MA CCC-SLP
1. What is a Speech-Language Pathologist?
Q. What is a Speech-Language Pathologist?
Q. What kinds of speech and language disorders affect children?
A. Our Speech-Language Pathologists work with children from infancy to adolescence. If you are concerned about your child's communication skills, please call to find out if your child should be seen for a communication evaluation and/or consultation. The early months of your baby's life are of great importance for good social skills, emotional growth, and intelligence!
A. Receptive language includes the skills involved in understanding language. Receptive language disorders are difficulties in the ability to attend to, process, comprehend, and/or retain spoken language.
A. Some early signs and symptoms of a receptive language disorder include:
* Difficulty following directions
* Repeating back words or phrases either immediately or at a later time (echolalia).
* Difficulty with answering questions appropriately
* Use of jargon while talking
* Difficulty attending to spoken language
* High activity level
* Inappropriate and/or off topic responses to questions
A. Expressive language includes the skills involved in communicating one's thoughts and feelings to others. An expressive language disorder concerns difficultly with verbal expression.
A. Some signs and symptoms of an expressive language disorder include:
* Omitting word endings, difficulty acquiring forms such as plurals, past tense verbs, complex verb forms, or other grammar forms
* Limited vocabulary
* Repetition of words or syllables
* Difficulty understanding words that describe position, time, quality or quantity
* Word retrieval difficulties
* Substituting one word for another or misnaming items
* Relying on non-verbal or limited means of communicating
A. Signs of autism may begin to be detected as early as 12 months of age. Symptoms of autism can occur in isolation or in combination with other conditions. Some early indicators of autism spectrum disorder may include:
* Delayed development of the ability to draw the attention of parents and others to objects and events.
* Little or no use of pointing to encourage another person to look at what (s)he sees (i.e., "joint attention").
* Little or no attempt to gain attention by bringing or showing toys/objects to others.
* Little or no eye contact.
* Participates in repetitive patterns of activities.
* Aloofness and indifference to other people.
* Lack of understanding that language is a tool for conveying information.
* Tendency to select for enjoyment trivial aspects of things in the environment (e.g., attending to a wheel on a toy car and not the whole car for imaginative play).
* Odd responses to sensory stimuli, such as hypersensitivity to sound, fascination with visual stimuli, dislike of gentle touch but enjoyment of firm pressure.
* Uses senses of taste and smell rather than hearing and vision.
* Poor coordination including clumsiness, odd gait and posture.
* Over or under activity.
* Abnormalities of mood, such as excitement, misery.
* Abnormalities of eating, drinking, and sleeping.
More Obvious Signs of Autism Spectrum Disorder
* Flicking fingers, objects, pieces of string
* Watching things that spin
* Tapping and scratching on surfaces
* Inspecting, walking along and tracing lines and angles
* Feeling special textures
* Rocking, especially standing up and jumping from back foot to front foot
* Tapping, scratching, or otherwise manipulating parts of the body
* Repetitive head banging or self injury
* Teeth grinding
* Repetitive grunting, screaming or other noises
* Arranging objects in a line
* Intense attachment to particular objects for no apparent reason
* A fascination with regular repeated patterns of objects, sounds
Red Flag Statements Often Heard by Caregivers
* 'His speech is delayed, he's not talking. He doesn't respond to his name, could he be deaf?'
* 'She's not interested in playing with toys.'
* 'At the playgroup he won't have anything to do with the other children.'
* 'She hits other children if they get in her way.'
* 'He's not very affectionate, he doesn't like being touched and cuddled.'
* 'She clings to me all the time and won't let me out of her sight.'
* 'He insists on the same routine and is very upset if this is changed.'
* 'She seems very different from other children of her age.'
* 'At school he says nothing and gives no problems. At home he just won't fit in with family.'
* 'He seems to have no idea of how to follow the social rules.
Compiled from: The National Autistic Society
A. Children with social pragmatic difficulties demonstrate deficits in social cognitive functioning. Diagnostic terms include: Asperger Syndrome, hyperlexia, High Functioning Autism, Semantic-Pragmatic Disorder, Pervasive Developmental Disorders-Not Otherwise Specified and Non-Verbal Learning Disabilities.
A. Persons with social-pragmatic deficits have significant difficulties in their ability to effectively communicate and problem solve. Some signs and symptoms may include:
* Difficulties with personal problem solving
* Literal/concrete understanding of language.
* Difficulty engaging in conversational exchange.
* Difficulty with active listening, including participating through observation of the context and making logical connections.
* Aggressive language.
* Decreased interest in other children.
* Difficulty with abstract and inferential language.
* Lack of eye contact.
* Difficulty interpreting nonverbal language.
* Difficulty with adequately expressing feelings.
A. Non-fluent speech is typical between the ages of two and six years. It is typical for non-fluent speech to last up to six months, improve then return. A speech-language evaluation may be in order if your child exhibits any other speech and language difficulties or was a late talker. Any child who is demonstrating any "struggle behaviors" (e.g., facial/bodily tension, breathing disruptions, blocks, grimacing) should be referred to a speech-language pathologist immediately.
A. Articulation is the production of speech sounds. An articulation disorder is when a child does not make speech sounds correctly due to incorrect placement or movement of the lips, tongue, velum, and/or pharynx. It is important to recognize that there are differences in the age at which children produce specific speech sounds in all words and phrases. Mastering specific speech sounds may take place over several years.
A. Phonology refers to the speech sound system of language. A phonological disorder is when a child is not using speech sound patterns appropriately. A child whose sound structures are different from the speech typical for their stage of development, or who produce unusual simplifications of sound combinations may be demonstrating a phonological disorder.
A. Signs of a possible articulation/phonological disorder in a preschool child may include:
* Drooling, feeding concerns
* Omits medial and final sounds
* Is difficult to understand
* Stops many consonants, little use of continuing consonants such as /w, s, n, f/
* Limited variety of speech sounds
* Omits initial consonants
* Asymmetrical tongue or jaw movement
* Tongue between teeth for many sounds
Signs of an articulation/phonological disorder in a school age child may include:
* Omissions/substitutions of speech sounds
* Difficulty with consonant blends
* Frontal and/or lateral lisps
* Difficulty producing consonant /s, r, l, th/.
A. Children with feeding and swallowing disorders may present with a variety of symptoms including:
* Refusal of different textured foods
* Prolonged feeding times
* Excess drooling or spilling of food and liquids from the mouth
* Frequent spitting up
* Wet, gurgly voice or breathing
* Coughing or gagging during meals
* Recurrent pneumonia and/or respiratory infections
* Slow weight gain
* Younger children may demonstrate stiffening of body, irritability, and/or lack of alertness during feeding
"If you are looking for a therapist who will create an individualized plan that works best for your child, then you can stop your search. As a parent, I wanted the very best for my child. I searched, called and interviewed tons of therapists. Shelby by far was the best choice for my son. Shelby will create a plan that is just right for your child. Once the right plan is found, then she will help you so that you can carry out the therapies at home. The office is extremely clean, organized and fun filled with activities that children of all ages will love. Your exhausting search is over!"
- Christina T.
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