Speech-Language Pathologists (aka Speech-Language Specialists) assess and diagnose communication problems on a case-by-case basis. If you have concerns regarding your child's speech or language development, please contact me.
What is Speech? What is Language?
What Is Speech? Speech is how we say sounds and words.
What Is Language? Language refers to the words we use and how we use them to share ideas and get what we want.
- Articulation: How we make speech sounds using the mouth, lips, and tongue.
- Voice: How we use our vocal folds and breath to make sounds.
- Fluency: This is the rhythm of our speech.
- What words mean. Some words have more than one meaning. For example, “star” can be a bright object in the sky or someone famous.
- How to make new words. For example, we can say “friend,” “friendly,” or “unfriendly” and mean something different.
- How to put words together. For example, in English we say, “Peg walked to the new store” instead of “Peg walk store new.”
- What we should say at different times. For example, we might be polite and say, “Would you mind moving your foot?” But, if the person does not move, we may say, “Get off my foot!”
Articulation / Speech Sound Disorders
- Articulation / Speech Sounds:
Children may say some sounds the wrong way as they learn to talk. They learn some sounds earlier, like P, M, or W. Other sounds take longer to learn, like Z, V, or TH. Most children can say almost all speech sounds correctly by 5 years old. A child who does not say the sounds by the expected age may have a speech sound disorder. You may also hear this called an "articulation disorder" or "phonological disorder."
Adults can also have speech sound disorders. Some adults have problems that started when they were children. Others may have speech problems after a stroke or traumatic brain injury. This may include dysarthria and apraxia.
It is normal for young children to say the wrong sounds sometimes (ex: "wabbit" for "rabbit"). You or your child may sound different because you have an accent or a dialect. This is not a speech sound disorder.
The following is a snapshot of the ages in which most (90%) children acquire these sounds. However, typical development varies wildly from child to child. If you are unsure if your child is demonstrating a speech sound disorder, please reach out to your pediatrician and/or your friendly school based SLP.
What parents can do:
- Say the sounds correctly when you talk
- Don't constantly correct - it's more important to allow your child to talk
asha.org - Speech Sound Disorders
bilinguistics.com - Artic norms chart
Stuttering / Fluency Disorders
We all have times when we do not speak smoothly. We may add "uh" or "ya know" to what we say. Or we may repeat a sound or word. These disfluencies are normal if they happen once and a while. When it happens a lot, it may be stuttering.
The following types of disfluencies happen to lots of people and are not stuttering:
- Adding a sound or word, called an interjection: "I, um, need to call home."
- Repeating words with more than one syllable: "Here's my puppy-puppy-puppy!"
- Repeating phrases: "He is, he is just 4 years old."
- Changing the words in a sentence, called revision: "I wish, I would like to go."
- Not finishing a thought: "His name is..... I can't remember"
Stuttering usually starts between 2 and 6 years old. Many children go through normal periods of disfluency lasting less than 6 months. Stuttering lasting longer than this may need treatment.
For older children and adults, treatment focuses on managing stuttering. SLP's work with individuals to utilize strategies, reduce tension, address avoidance, and provide support to increase success in potentially fearful situations.
As your student gets older, you may want to look into support groups or national organizations that offer education, support, advocacy, and research.
These include (click name to link to page):
- American Speech-Language-Hearing Association
- National Stuttering Association
- The Stuttering Foundation
- The Stuttering Association for the Young
What parents can do:
- Give your child time to talk
- Do not interrupt, stop, or tell your child to slow down while they are speaking
If you have concerns about your child's stuttering please contact your pediatrician and/or your friendly school SLP.
If you have ever had a cold and "lost" your voice, or cheered for your favorite team and were hoarse for the next few days, you have experienced a temporary problem with your voice. Voice problems that last longer are called Voice Disorders.
Different aspects of "voice" include the quality, pitch, loudness, and duration as they are appropriate for an individual's age, gender, cultural background, or geographic location. A disorder is present when an individual expresses concern about having an abnormal voice that does not meet their daily needs.
In children, this might include:
- speaking in too low or high a pitch
- sounding as if they always have a cold
- have a hoarse or harsh voice
- lose their voice
- run out of air when speaking
If you have concerns regarding your child's voice, please consult your pediatrician.
What parents can do:
The most important thing you can do is to have your child's hearing tested. With early help, your child may speak or use sign language as well as children who hear. An audiologist can test your child's hearing. He or she can talk to you about the best way to treat your child's hearing loss. This may include medical treatment, hearing aids, or speech and language therapy.