I often get asked many of the same questions by parents. So since this is a common occurrence, I figured that there is probably a good chance that even more parents may have the same questions.
Now, I could go into great length answering all of these questions, however I do not want to overwhelm anyone with way too much information. Besides, I know that when I want an answer to something I want it straight to the point and then if I still want more information I can press on and keeping digging for more details to my questions.
So here are the most frequently asked questions I get.
What causes speech and language disorders?
There are many causes of speech and language disorders. Some include: intellectual/developmental disabilities, hearing impairments, neurological disorders, brain injuries, physical impairments (such as cleft palate), sensory integration, and even social deficiency. Please note that there are some speech and language disorders still with unknown causes.
As I answer this question, I am compelled to include this next bit of information. Continuously, over my 14 years of my career, I have often seen where there is a child not speaking that has an older sibling(s). This happens as a result of the child’s siblings “helping” them by doing most or all of their talking for them. Now, is it the root of the problem all on its own? Probably not, but it certainly does not help matters. I also have heard countless times from parents “Well, I just know what she wants so I just give it to her”. I am hoping you all can see why this would certainly be a problem for a child with delays in speaking. So these situations can be major contributing factors to speech and language disorders.
How long will it take to correct a speech and/or language disorder?
Every child differs so there really is not a pin point answer that can or should be given. However, I will share things that have great impact on making progress:
- Attending good consistent therapy sessions with a licensed SLP
- Using “At Home Practice or Program” to assist with carryover skills
So basically, getting regular direction from a licensed SLP on what and how to practice and then practice, practice, practice will increase the likelihood of making steady to good progress.
The severity of the problem will dictate the amount of therapy required. For instance, if a child has an intellectual disability and is presenting with an articulation along with language delays, this will require significant time and devotion to remediate it or in some cases to just make some thorough progress. Or perhaps therapy is required for a typically developing child but they have a phonological disorder and a fluency disorder this generally takes more time than a child with only a phonological disorder.
Some communication disorders are life long and never truly get fully remediated. Instead, individuals learn strategies to lessen the degree of their disorder. Two examples of this would be fluency disorders (stuttering) and auditory processing disorders.
Are there any apps for the iPad that are helpful for practicing speech and language skills?
Well, this question is right up my alley! The answer is “Yes”. I am an app developer of “The Speech Wizard” apps for speech therapy so I truly know and fully support that apps are extremely helpful in the remediation process of speech and language disorders. I have used apps for communication disorders over the years and proved they are not only useful, but sometimes the tool that is a pivotal point in the therapy process. I do caution parents, teachers, speech therapists, and caregivers that there are ways to be more selective with which apps to spend money on and those to pass on buying or using. Apps for speech and language disorders allows me the great opportunity of holding trainings nationwide teaching apps and how to use them to many professionals and families. I am grateful for being able to empower therapists and parents with tools that are truly engaging children in therapy.
What is the difference between an articulation disorder and phonological disorder?
I have devoted an entire blog article on this topic to explain this at great length.
How do you feel about teaching sign language to babies?
I’m all for it! I think that teaching sign language to babies should be a must. Let me say early on here that teaching babies sign language does not and will not delay children speaking. If anything sign language for babies helps transition them into speaking. It is just extending babies natural communication. Some examples of this are raising up their arms to indicate that they want to be picked up. Another simple example is when babies wave bye. Signing gives parents the ability to communicate with their baby before they can speak. Teaching sign language to babies requires loads of repetition so expect it to take some time before your baby begins signing independently. The best and usually most apparent benefits to signing are that it increases babies receptive language and cognitive skills, while providing a means of decreases their level of frustration. It seems to me it is a win win situation! Happy Signing!!!
Should I have my child be seen by their speech therapist in a one to one setting instead of in a group setting?
While everyone thinks that one to one therapy would be the ultimate best, however it is really is based on the child’s individual needs. Some kids benefit from having another peer in their therapy setting to have a competitive edge to help motivate them. Having another peer also provides the child with the comfort of realizing they are not alone and other kids or even classmates have similar struggles.
On the flip side of this, I do have a problem with having 5 or 6 kids in one therapy session that lasts for 30 minutes. It is highly unlikely to have all the kids in the group have the same problem. It seems as if the convenience of scheduling takes preference over the quality of the session in the school setting. I do not support groups of kids with different goals all mixed together into one session. This is not nearly as productive as a small group setting or one to one setting. So, if a group consists of 2 or 3 kids with very similar goals I can support that. There are still many times that children require a one to one session though and perhaps over time can go into a small group eventually. The bottom line is that I feel the SLP has an obligation to stick behind their education/training and should make their professional judgment be honored to determine the setting and size no matter who else tries to dictate it.
What are the secrets behind your feeding therapy and your success rate?
I am so grateful to receive this question because it is a huge compliment. I started feeding therapy many years ago while working in a small private practice that was using SOS Approach to feeding. This really was and continues to be very effective feeding therapy approach. I just simply have adapted little bits here and there over the years making it something more of my own. It works for me, but most of all, it works quick, is highly reliable, and has longevity for my clients & families. I strongly believe that feeding therapy is a very serious matter and is extremely rewarding seeing the quality of life improve in children. My success rate comes from seeing so many children on a weekly basis allowing continuous exposure to a variety of children with feeding disorders.
Do you take requests for making apps?
Absolutely! I want my apps to make an impact and make solutions to problems, so if you have an idea or a need, please share it with me. I am open to discussing it with you. My apps I am making are results of needing something more out of the apps I was using for my own therapy sessions and from listening to parent’s needs I have met nationwide.
What is the best way to learn how to use the iPad and which apps to use?
I am very biased on this one because I currently offer hands-on trainings for speech therapists, educators, parents, and caregivers. My trainings cover learning how to find and select appropriate apps, use many of the built in features on the iPad and iPod Touch, and how to use specific apps to get the most out of them. Some of my trainings are: App Camp, Apps for Communication, Apps for Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder for iPad, Proloquo2Go Basics, and iPad and iPod Touch Basics.
Another great resource for learning is You Tube. There seems to be a video made for just about everything now. So if you’re in a pinch and want to learn something give it a try. If you want to learn using a hands-on training, feel free to contact me to see when or if I am scheduled to be in your area. For further information about App Trainings please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Do speech and language disorders negatively impact learning?
Communication skills are essential to be a successful learner and can certainly negatively impact academics. Many times children with phonological and articulation disorders will do poorly with spelling because they will try to spell things in the manner in which they say it making it incorrect. There are many forms of language aside from speaking, such as writing, reading, and listening which become compromised for example by a receptive language disorder or a central auditory processing disorder. I strongly feel that children that have Pragmatic Disorders (Social Language Disorders) have a struggle because this disorder impacts their ability to have effective communication with their peers and adults at school. What we typically learn through observing and understanding certain rules that are not necessarily formally taught to us, children with pragmatic disorders do not learn these unless it is taught directly to them. Unfortunately, because this disorder is difficult to measure and standardize, it does get overlooked and sometimes ignored. However, there are also many great therapists that are organizing and having “social skills groups” and making it an active part of their therapy caseload.