Speech/language therapy can be an integral part of treatment for many children with special needs.
Any speech, language, or feeding impairment can have far-reaching consequences, affecting every aspect of a child's life, including learning, play, and interactions with family and friends. At The Therapy Place, speech-language pathologists treat a variety of communication and feeding issues.
Children may have difficulty pronouncing words. There may be a variety of reasons, including:
- Articulation Disorder: The child has a problem pronouncing a particular sound or a few sounds.
- Phonological Disorder: The child has difficulty understanding the sound system itself and the speech rules.
- Oral-Motor Deficits: The child shows deficits in strength and movement of the jaw, lips, tongue, and cheeks.
- Apraxia: The child has difficulty coordinating oral muscles to make a sound or string of sounds.
- Stuttering: Disruptions or breaks in the smooth flow of speech.
Language refers to the content of what is spoken, written, read, or understood. It is categorized into two areas: receptive and expressive language. Receptive language is the ability to comprehend someone else's speech or gestures. Problems with receptive language may include difficulty understanding vocabulary, concepts, sequences, directions, and conversations. Expressive language is the ability to create a message that others will understand. A child who has difficulty expressing him or herself may be taught to utilize a variety of communication modes such as speech, manual sign, gestures, pictures, facial expressions, or communication devices. The speech-language pathologists will evaluate which mode is most effective for the child.
Pragmatic language refers to how an individual socially uses language to communicate with others. Breakdowns in pragmatic language may include issues with the following skills: verbal turn-taking, maintaining a topic, listening to a conversational partner, using eye contact and facial expressions, taking the perspective of others, and expressing feelings in a socially appropriate manner.
Earobics™ is an interactive language-training program from Cognitive Concepts. It uses various techniques to improve auditory processing, phonological awareness, and language comprehension. This program is used on a home computer with the child wearing headphones. Five training sessions of 20-30 minutes in duration per week are recommended, monitored weekly by the child's speech-language pathologist.
Augmentative and Alternative Communication
Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) is a system for communication of all forms, other than oral speech, that allows a person to express their thoughts, needs, ideas and wants. AAC could be an augmentative aid such as picture symbol system or an alternative communication system such as an electronic voice output device.
For a child or adult who has significant difficulty expressing their basic wants and needs or whose communication skills are not as advanced as their cognitive abilities, may benefit from an AAC device. Some common causes of significant expressive communication disorders include: cerebral palsy, autism, head injury, mental retardation, physical disabilities, Parkinson’s, ALS and stroke. Person’s affected by these disorders may benefit from some form of AAC.
At The Therapy Place, our speech-language pathologists work hard to help children and adults communicate to the best of their ability. We work closely with DynaVox systems, but are able to work with other commercially available systems such as Prenke Romich, Tobii, iPad and iTouch. We are able to assess and give professional opinions on whether an augmentative and alternative communication system is appropriate for a client and what type of system would be best. An assessment at The Therapy Place is the best way to determine which device would be appropriate for you or your loved one. A variety of systems including: picture symbols, programmable switches, voice output devices and dynamic displays are available for onsite trial at the time of the evaluation.
Please call The Therapy Place at (952) 885-0418 to request an AAC evaluation or to set up ongoing therapy or consultation visits. A staff member will contact you to gain more information to help guide you through the evaluation and/or treatment process. We look forward to hearing from you.