Author: shawn

About shawn

    We are proud to announce that in our first month of launching our Sounds With The Speech Wizard app we have had over 2000 downloads!  We hope you are finding it to be a fun and beneficial tool.

    Thank you for helping us make it a success!

    Parents often ask me why their child won’t talk. Some parents even come right out and say that they think their child is choosing not to speak, their child is lazy, or is sometimes just straight up stubborn. I want to try to assure you that if a child could speak, please believe me when I say this…They would! It’s very important to me to let parents (and even therapists) know that there is a big difference between can’t speak vs. won’t speak.

    The processes involved to communicate are very complex and there are multiple possible reasons for their delay in speaking. If a child is not talking they may be experiencing some delays in perhaps one or more of the following: cognition, coordination or motor planning problems, muscle strength, or possibly neurological functioning.

    I have to share that there is absolutely no question that children truly do want the easiest means to communicate their needs and wants. I strongly believe that children do not refuse to speak (unless in very rare cases they are experiencing selective mutism) and that their delays do have a true underlying cause instead of just behavior. With that said, there certainly are negative behaviors that do form around their struggles and frustrations to speak, however those are secondary to the true cause.

    Now to be completely honest there are some times that we do not really know the exact reason why two and three year olds are still not talking during their first initial evaluation. Knowing what the true problem is may take multiple sessions to determine this. In the meantime, many professionals will give a general label of “expressive language delay” which usually is enough to get therapy sessions authorized by insurance and to get started right away.

    As I have said before in other past articles, if you suspect there is a problem or delay speaking, get your child evaluated by a licensed speech-language pathologist. Many speech-language pathology issues are remediable with time, so please try not to assume that your child has terrible behavior and is refusing to speak. More than likely they may actually have a physiological reason causing their delayed speaking. During my 15 years of speech & language therapy, I have found some parents that I have met unfortunately seem to prefer facing they delay in speaking as a behavior problem so they do not have to face that their child may have a developmental disability. This has to be tough to face this without a doubt, but it will

    So a speech delay may just be that…a delay in which the child needs a little help to understand and use our complex language structure. Please do not ignore your child’s lack of talking by thinking that they’ll “grow out of it” or that “they are just more interested in playing with their toys”. It is very important to know what is “normal” so you can figure out if you should be concerned. Please don’t hesitate in seeking advice or try the wait and see approach. When in doubt ask your pediatrician for a referral to rule out a speech and language delay or disorder.

    Sounds With The Speech Wizard Icon


    The Speech Wizard has released a LITE version of “Sounds With The Speech Wizard” to allow everyone to try it before you buy it.

    Sounds With The Speech Wizard was created to improve listening skills through our variety of auditory discrimination activities.  It offers many different settings to adjust the perfect amount of stimuli for each child.  It also has the ability to de-select pictures if necessary.

    Each Activity offers a fresh new game-like activity for the child to practice their listening and sound recognition skills.  This is a critical step in remediating articulation and phonological disorders.  If the child is not being a good listener, they will not realize that they are making any errors of their own speech productions.  This is just a fun way to increase their awareness to help carryover and to improve their listening to their own speech sounds.

    TIP:  This app is also a great therapy tool for teaching children to answer Yes/No in a reliable manner.  You may use the four pictures on What Do You Hear- Activity 1 and ask the child after the sound is played if each picture made that sound… “yes or no”.  It works wonders in our private practice!

    We made certain that this app offered buttons to advance and reverse back to images in case “little fingers” change it for us.  The other great feature we are proud to include is our Free Bonus Training Video Series to give our customers added support when they buy our apps.  These videos include learning more about the iPad as a therapy tool and apps to use for communication delays/disorders, how to use Guided Access, and some therapy techniques.

    As part of our mission to help families with children that have communication delays/disorders worldwide, we offer this app in 6 languages including: English, Mandarin, Spanish, Persian, Japanese, and Korean.

    Hope you all enjoy it as much as we do!

    Shawn Manvell M.S., CCC-SLP
    Creator of The Speech Wizard Apps

    We are proud to announce that Sounds With The Speech Wizard, our second app,  has been released on January 5, 2015!

    This app was created to address listening skills through sound discrimination activities.  We included 3 different activities to help keep children engaged and motivated while also having fun.  We also try to include multiple activities to give our users more for their money.  This is also why we include a Free Bonus Training in all of our apps now.  These trainings are provided to assist parents, therapists, and teachers to better support children’s communication skills.

    “Sounds With The Speech Wizard” has been made for iOS devices for $6.99.  It is available in 6 languages including English, Mandarin, Farsi, Spanish, Japanese, and Korean in hopes to carry out our mission of helping children and families worldwide.

    We sincerely hope you enjoy this app and have as much success with it as we do in our private practice.

    Let me please begin this article by first saying that we all must remember that every child is undeniably different, so please use caution when comparing your child with other children.  I understand it is hard to ignore when other children are doing far more than your own child is doing, however children progress at different rates developmentally.

    Now that that has been said, I also don’t want the wrong message to be sent to anyone reading this.  I do believe that if you have your doubts that your child is not reaching developmental milestones and has some delays that you reach out to find the “correct” professional to determine if there truly is a delay present and if intervention is recommended.   I no longer can even count how many times I have heard parents share that their doctor has recommended the “watch & see” approach with children with delayed speech and language.   So when in doubt, follow your instincts and persist in being proactive.  Ask your doctor for a referral for a speech-language pathologist to do a consult and/or an evaluation for your child.  Perhaps word it like this “I am interested in ruling out a speech and language disorder with a speech-language pathologist who is specially trained and/or highly qualified in this area”.  This does not sound demanding, but rather as if you are reaching out for help.

    I feel parents need to always be their child’s best advocate and parents should be aware of potential reasons why your toddler may be delayed in speech and language development.   Here is a list of some reasons I have had first-hand experience witnessing over the last decade of my practice that contributed to toddler delayed talkers:   (more…)

    Articulation disorders effects how children produce speech sounds, but it often times also results in struggles with distinguishing speech sounds. Auditory discrimination is the ability to distinguish or recognize the differences between sounds. Auditory discrimination is an extremely important in step in articulation therapy and is also crucial for language and reading development skills. (more…)