Speech and Language
Our licensed Speech and Language Pathologists with a Clinical Certificate of Competency (CCC) from the American Speech-Language and Hearing Association (ASHA) perform all initial evaluations. We utilize a variety of standardized tests to assess your child’s ability in all areas of speech and language development. Depending on your child’s needs, we will provide an overall comprehensive speech and language evaluation or a limited evaluation targeting a specific area of concern.
Comprehensive evaluations will look at receptive language, or what your child understands (semantics, syntax and morphology); expressive language, or the way your child expresses him or herself (semantics, syntax, morphology, narrative and pragmatics); articulation, or how your child produces specific sounds and auditory processing. If we note concerns, we will also evaluate a child’s voice (pitch, rate and loudness) and fluency (smooth rate of speech). Additionally, we may also assess oral motor or feeding skills if a child has difficulty chewing, swallowing or tolerating different textures.
We will provide families with a report detailing their child’s strengths and weaknesses in speech and language, including standardized scores and a specific treatment plan (if applicable). If we identify a problem from the testing that is not “developmental” in nature (in other words, your child will not “grow out of it”), we will recommend speech or language therapy.
The therapist will thoroughly explain the situation to you and your family and make specific recommendations, including individualized goals and objectives. We may refer your child to other specialists for additional assessment or treatment. Finally, we will give you information on how to work with your child at home.
The earlier you identify and treat a child’s speech and language problems, the less likely it is that problems will persist or get worse. Early speech and language intervention can help children succeed in reading, writing, schoolwork and interpersonal relationships.
Children’s Speech & Language Problems: When Does a Child Need Speech Therapy?
Sometimes children have problems forming certain sounds or words that make it harder for others to understand what they’re saying. Some children will grow out of the problem themselves while others will need to see a Speech Language Pathologist to remedy the problem.
Types of Speech and Language Problems:
- Articulation Disorder: Trouble saying certain sounds correctly
- Phonological Disorder: Trouble combining certain sounds used in communication
- Resonance/Voice Disorders: When the vocal quality alters or changes in an abnormal way to the listener.
- Language Disorder: Difficulty understanding
- Fluency Disorder: Repeating certain sounds or having trouble saying a complete word
Medical Problems that often make it difficult for children to communicate clearly:
- Hearing impairment
- Weak muscles around the mouth
- Cleft lip and or palate
- Premature birth
- Swallowing disorders
- Down syndrome
After 2 years of age, voice concerns include harsh/hoarse vocal quality, hyper- or hypo- nasal vocal quality and pitch that is too high or low. A referral to an ear, nose and throat (ENT) specialist to rule out pathology is necessary before voice treatment by a Speech-Language Pathologist.
A certain amount of disfluency between the ages of 2 ½ and 5 is within the normal developmental sequence. However, if struggling behavior is present, with repetitions occurring at the beginning and middle of sentences or sounds prolonged more than 2 seconds, this pattern may warrant a referral.
Adapted from: www.asha.org
What Happens in Speech and Language Therapy?
When your child begins speech and language therapy at Communication Corner and More, our Speech-Language Pathologists will work with them one-on-one, in a small group or in the classroom to help them with their specific needs. While no two speech therapies are alike, our Speech-Language Pathologists use various strategies, including:
- Language activities: Your child and their Speech-Language Pathologist may play, talk or use pictures and books to stimulate language development. During your child’s session, their therapist may also model the correct pronunciation of words and use repetition to build speech and language skills.
- Articulation therapy: If your child needs help articulating words, their therapist will physically show them how to make certain sounds. Our therapists may combine articulation therapy with a play activity or use a mirror to help your child better understand the correct movement.
- Feeding and swallowing therapy: Our Speech-Language Pathologists use tongue, lip and jaw exercises to strengthen mouth muscles to improve swallowing. During the session, your child may also work with food with different textures and temperatures to increase oral awareness.
After each session, our Speech-Language Pathologists will assign your child homework to continue improving their skills in between sessions. We will also give you strategies for performing speech therapy exercises at home to further your child’s speech and language development.
The Benefits of Speech and Language Therapy
Pediatric speech and language therapy offers many benefits beyond teaching children how to speak correctly. Our specialized therapy services can help your child gain the skills to build relationships, enhance brain development and create improvements in their overall quality of life. Some additional benefits of our language therapy for children at Communication Corner and More include:
- Development of social skills: Speech therapy can help your child develop and correctly use verbal and non-verbal social skills. For example, we can help your child learn to start and carry a conversation or understand body language. By learning social skills, your child will also gain the ability to make connections with adults and peers for long-lasting, fulfilling relationships.
- Improved communication: Receiving speech therapy can help your child communicate their needs and wants through verbal and nonverbal communication. We can find a communication method that works best for your child’s needs through sign language, voice output devices and other tools. Our therapists can also help your child improve skills such as understanding and responding to questions to help them navigate the world and interact with others effectively.
- Enhanced reading skills: Our speech therapy services can help your child develop a reading skill called phonological awareness, which improves their ability to recognize and speak sounds. Helping your child develop phonological awareness encourages them to break words down into sounds they already know to improve comprehension.
One of the more significant benefits of children’s speech therapy is that it can help reduce communication frustrations for your child. Receiving speech therapy can broaden your child’s horizons and grant them the ability to state what they want and need. This independence will raise your child’s self-esteem and improve their overall quality of life.
Contact Communication Corner and More
Start helping your child improve their communication skills with speech-language therapy from Communication Corner and More. To learn more about our speech therapy for kids, we encourage you to complete our contact form below or reach us at 813-973-1033!
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Attention currently enrolled families: Please do NOT use this form to request changes to your schedule or to cancel appointments. You may contact our office by directly emailing: Support@speechtherapytampa.com or by calling us at: 813-973-1033. We will not accept this form to process your requests regarding schedules and/or appointments.