Tag Archives : Communication Disorders

Parent Information for Communication Disorders {Free Resource Guide}

There are many times when parents ask me about communication disorders. They want to know if their child’s speech-language skills are where they should be developmentally. Recently, a friend of mind told me that her daughter received a speech language screening at her preschool. The results indicated that she needed further evaluation. I was concerned when she shared with me that the therapist expressed concern that a 3 year old was not pronouncing sounds such as /l/ and /r/. I immediately saw red flags because it is developmentally appropriate that not all kids will correctly pronounce these sounds at age 3. In fact, there are research based age ranges of typical speech sound development. Yes, some children may correctly pronounce sounds earlier and that’s great. However, the following are developmentally acceptable ages of sound acquisition.

Age 3- w, b, p, h, m, n

Age 4-  k, g, t, d, y, f

Age 5- all 3 & 4 year old sounds

Age 7- l

Age 8- j, ch, sh, r, th, s, z, v

Please note that different school districts also implement different eligibility criteria for providing speech therapy for speech sounds in error. If you have questions about if your child needs an evaluation, I suggest that you consult directly with a licensed speech-language pathologist in your area.

I also often get questions about what language skills are expected of children at certain ages. You can access more information about my recommendations from a previous blog post about developmental milestones. Click here

I created a few complimentary parent handouts that explain the difference between speech sound disorders and language disorders. In this resource you will also receive helpful hints for improving receptive and expressive language disorders. These tips are geared towards children in kindergarten-5th grade. This packet also has a list of interactive websites that kids can use to practice improving their language skills.

I strongly encourage parents to give their children opportunities to practice their communication and language skills at home. I may add to this resource in the future so make sure that you subscribe to my blog by entering your email address in the right hand column of this page. You can access this FREE digital download in my TPT curriculum store.

Have a great week! I hope you have an excellent Thanksgiving holiday with family and friends this Thursday!

Tamara Anderson
Building Successful Lives


Speech-Language Success Stories # 5

Speech-Language Success Stories # 5

It is important to remember to be patient and optimistic when providing pediatric speech-language therapy services. Often times, children will not immediately learn speech language strategies. It takes repetitive verbal modeling, visual cues, and tactile cues for kids to acquire new skills.

Many children with intellectual impairments struggle with learning how to correctly pronounce various consonant sounds. When they are speaking with their parents, teachers, SLPs, and peers their speech is not readily understood. It is our responsibility as SLPs to help improve the speech intelligibility of these kids.
I had a success story with teaching a child the correct tongue placement to pronounce her /l/ sound. This child struggled with elevating her tongue to accurately articulate this sound. Her speech was not easily understood when the context of conversation was not known.
She was successful with auditory discrimination exercises to identify her target /l/ sound vs. other sounds. However, she initially consistently pronounced a /y/ for /l/ in words and sentences. So, I pulled out my hand held mirror and bag of tricks to get her to lift her tongue up. We practiced putting different food/candy items (e.g. smarties, cheerios) on the tip of her tongue. She demonstrated a lot of groping behaviors and eventually the food items would melt in her mouth or she would chew them. Now I know it is usually best to pair with the actual sound production, but I was having difficulty getting this child to attempt any articulation drills. So I decided to try using food.
I also had her try to imitate lifting her tongue while saying the /l/ sound in isolation. She still said y/l or distorted the /l/ sound. I modeled for her how to practice the sound at the syllable level with vowels, but of course she was at 0 % with that because she did not have the correct tongue placement.
I read aloud fiction text and emphasized the target /l/ sound. She really benefited from hearing multiple productions of the sound in a natural way during oral reading of a story. She loved the story, The Three Snow Bears, by Jan Brett. I must have said the words Polar Bear and Alooki, a character’s name, a million times!
Guess what! I stopped during my read aloud a few times and used a tactile prompt and verbal modeling with this child and she accurately said Polar with the CORRECT /l/ sound! I cheered for her loudly!!! I had her repeat the word several times as I touched her chin with my index finger and pushed down. This immediately prompted her to lift her tongue up!
Auditory bombardment of target sounds is definitely an essential tool in articulation therapy. A tactile prompt was also key for this child to learn how to correctly elevate her tongue to say her /l/ sound.
This little girl also struggled with motivation to practice her speech sounds. She recognized how difficulty it was for her so I always had to pair her speech drill work with a high preference activity.
One day, I decided to follow her lead and told her that she would receive free time to play a computer learning game. She eagerly completed all her speech articulation drill work with me. She accurately imitated the /l/ sound in isolation and syllable levels when provided with verbal and tactile prompts!  I was so excited once again and another student in her group even told her great job! She was soooooo happy and had the biggest grin on her face! We were all pleased at her progress and success!
Now, I will continue to reinforce the strategies that were successful so she can produce her /l/ sound correctly in words. She is definitely more stimuable for pronouncing these sounds in words now!
Hooray!!!!!!! Thanks for visiting the blog today.
Speech-Language Success Stories # 4

Speech-Language Success Stories # 4

Thank you so much Tamara for letting me guest blog  today!  My name is Aersta Acerson and I have been given the wonderful opportunity of sharing a speech success story  with you today.  First, let me say Happy  Blogiversary to Building Successful Lives!  I love all the fun things happening here in this extended celebration!
Now a little about myself.  I have been working as an SLP (obviously!)  for 3 years now, and I LOVE IT!  I have  worked in both the schools and in private practice and I have loved both  settings.  I also enjoy creating  materials for speech therapy, and I own the TPT store Speaking Freely, SLP.  I am also a mom to two beautiful  little girls who are my heart and soul!
Now on to my success story.  It was during my CF year and I had a language group made up of 5th and 6th graders.  That year we focused heavily on learning curriculum vocabulary and understanding figurative  language, specifically idioms.  Lots and LOTS of idioms.  It was a Friday afternoon at the end of the month, and my group had earned a game day, so my  students chose to play Don’t Wake Daddy.
We had recently talked about the meaning of the idiom “You dodged  that bullet.”  One of my students took his turn and rolled a six.  The  Daddy hadn’t “woken” in awhile, so we all assumed the student was going  to get it!  When he didn’t wake Daddy,  another one of my students said, “Wow, you missed that bullet!”  SUCCESS!!!   Now, he didn’t get the idiom exactly correct, but we had been working on understanding idioms more than using them, and he had spontaneously  used the idiom in correct context.  I was  ecstatic!  It’s that kind of moment that  makes it all worth it, don’t you think?
🙂  Have a blessed day!
Aersta Acerson, CCC-SLP
Click above to check out products in my online TPT Store! Thanks!
Speech-Language Success Stories- # 3

Speech-Language Success Stories- # 3

Welcome Carly Fowler!

Today, I will share successful tips for providing speech-language services for adolescents.

Why Following a Child’s Lead Isn’t Just for Early Intervention

Hi I am Carly Fowler, a Speech Language Pathologist in  Nebraska. A big thanks to Tamara for letting me join in her blog celebration!  Now a little about myself: I live in Omaha, Nebraska with my husband and two  cats. I have been a SLP for three years and I love what I do. I especially  enjoy creating materials for my students.  I work with students elementary up through  high school. It is quite an unusual caseload as I stay at just one school, but  it also means I have to stay on schedule, plan ahead and know what I am up against.
Today, I want to share my tips when working with  teenagers. It is not an easy population, nor do I claim to have all the  answers. But I want to share with you what works for me.  Many times working with elementary students  they are thrilled to see you and are willing to work for a token or a sticker. It
is not that easy with high school students, trust me sometimes I feel like I am  pulling teeth in order to get any kind of data.
When working with my teens, I follow their lead. This is  probably making you think of early intervention kiddos but I recommend it with  any age. I find that following my high school students’ lead will allow me to gain  more effort from them.  Teens are searching  for more control of their lives. Many times their days are dictated for them; they  are told when to go to school, what they need to do and they are not often given the freedom to choose. By allowing your teens to run the session they  will give you more respect because you are treating them more like an adult.
When following the lead of a teen it is important to listen  to them. Often times, my students want to chat about life or sports. Let them! You  can target a lot of goals by doing this, plus it is functional. I am often able  to target grammar, sentence formation, pragmatics and articulation when talking about sports.
Another thing a student may lead you to is school work.  I see many students during their study hall and I encourage them to bring their homework. I also ask how classes are going  which may reveal their struggle with homework. School work and homework are  functional activities and a great therapy target. I know many of you may say “I  am not good at science” or “Math is like a foreign language”.  I encourage you to step outside of your  comfort zones and encourage students to bring homework or materials from classes they need help with. It is okay to learn with your student- in fact I  encourage it! By helping them with homework it shows you are a valuable resource and they will begin to see your time as more valuable.
Another way to follow your high school student’s lead is by  allowing them to play with some of your toys in your speech room. You may be  thinking that they would never be caught dead playing with toys but you are  wrong. They often need a fiddle such as a ball to concentrate or playdoh as  sensory stimulation. As long as it doesn’t become a distraction is a perfect outlet to the energy they may have.
These are tips that I have found successful when working with teens during their speech-language therapy sessions. Thanks for reading the blog today!
Speech Language Success Stories- # 2

Speech Language Success Stories- # 2

Welcome Susan Berkowitz from Kidz Learn Language!

I have been a speech-language pathologist for 35 years, before which I taught kids with autism.  I have been in the classroom, therapy room, and worked as an administrator. I have worked in public and nonpublic schools. I currently specialize in alternative-augmentative communication for nonverbal students and in training staff to implement aac in their classrooms. I provide local and national workshops on augmentative communication and on teaching literacy skills to students with complex communication needs.

This is an article that I wrote on my blog in November  of 2014. I am happy to be BSL Speech Language’s guest blogger this week.  Check out this aac success story!
More From the AAC Case Files – How Much Can We Expect?

One of my favorite student success stories is one I tell over and over again.  While you may have noticed I am a big fan of using and teaching core vocabulary, I am also a huge user of PODD communication books.  That is Pragmatic Organized Dynamic Display books, designed by Gayle Porter, a speech pathologist in Australia.  She has been using this system very successfully with children for decades.

I have been to trainings with Gayle, and with Linda Burkhart, when they have presented them here in the States.  A week with Gayle is mind-numbing – in a good way.  The first workshop I took with her was a week of 9 hour days and we learned so much it was amazing!  I don’t honestly think I could have absorbed one more idea by the end of Friday.  She is one of those rare people who are both a wealth of information and a master at transmitting it to others.  (Of course, you have to work your way around her accent).

I have been using PODD books with my nonverbal students with autism for the past several years, and with great results.  Teachers usually get that ‘deer in the headlights’ look in their eyes when I walk in with a 125 page communication book.  I’m very careful to talk about taking it slowly as they get familiar with it and begin using it with their student(s).

I’ve taken to using this story.  The story of Aaron.  Aaron was a 16 (then) year old student with autism in a classroom for students with severe disabilities.  When I first met him, Aaron had a single page PECS (Picture Exchange Communication System) “system” by which he could request his favorite reinforcers.  He had no other appropriate mode of communication. What Aaron did have was a history of self-injurious behaviors.  He has done permanent neurological damage to himself.

On the day I arrived in the classroom with his new,  >100 page PODD communication book, both his teacher and aide regarded me with looks of …. outrage? amazement? overwhelming dismay?  I spent some time going over how the book was constructed and how it worked. I reviewed the navigation conventions and where and how vocabulary was stored.  I gave them examples and phrases to try.  We talked about Aided Language Stimulation and how it worked.  And I carefully explained how to begin with a single activity, gradually increasing use of the system as their comfort level increased.

Aaron was lucky.  His aide was extraordinary.  She did a wonderful job of learning and doing and being consistent. TWO weeks later the teacher called me.  I could hear her jumping up and down.  The excitement was palpable. The day before, Aaron had been upset because A.P.E. had been cancelled and he needed some time to run off some of his energy.  He had started out, she told me, by starting to engage in his SIB.  But he stopped himself.  He looked at the communication system.  He pointed to “More to say,” and then proceeded to move from the feelings page (“angry”) to the people page (“no APE teacher”) to the activity page (“run” and “outside”) to the places page (“baseball field”).  With a string of single word responses he told a perfect narrative, expressed his feelings, and told what he wanted – needed – to do.  The aide, of course, took him straight outside to the baseball field to run around.  I’m pretty sure she was crying most of the way.  I know I was when I heard the story.

Now of course, most students need more than 2 weeks of consistent teaching to learn to communicate so effectively.  But this certainly speaks to the power of appropriate aac intervention.

How are your students learning to use their aac systems?

Here is the direct link to my original post on my blog: http://kidzlearnlanguage.blogspot.com/2014/11/more-from-aac-case-files-how-much-can.html


Speech Language Success Stories

Speech Language Success Stories

I am very excited to tell you about a new series on the blog, Speech Language Success Stories. During the first quarter of this year, I will highlight success stories of children who improved their communication skills as a result of speech-language therapy. You will even read stories from guest bloggers as well. This is one of the missions of BSL Speech & Language Services to share the benefits of these services.

I love being a speech-language pathologist because I enjoy having the opportunity to identify a child’s challenges, develop a therapy plan to improve them, provide direct instruction, and watch how a child responds to the interventions.

SLPs are great at diagnosing children with communication disorders. This skill comes naturally to those who have been working with children for a while. It takes more time to perfect the craft of selecting, implementing, and tweaking interventions that will enable kids to learn speech-language skills. The true joy and success from speech-language therapy is when you, the child, and the family can hear the growth in communication.

The first success story goes back to my first love, early intervention. My first experiences working as a licensed SLP was providing individual speech-language therapy for toddlers and preschool aged children.  For many of the children, I was their first experience with any kind of structured learning as they were not yet attending day care or preschool.

I remember a sweet and active little girl that I evaluated when she was about 3 ½ years old. At that time, she would say “hmm” when I asked her a question. She had a very limited receptive/expressive vocabulary and definitely did not use the words she knew to make requests or comment. She would point to or grab whatever item she wanted. I recall getting case history information from her parent and completing my usual play based language assessment with The Rossetti Infant-Toddler Language Scale.  The results confirmed that she had a significant receptive and expressive language delay.

I worked with this little girl for the next 2 ½ years and gave her parent plenty of home program materials. I remember teaching her social greetings, basic concepts, verbs, object functions, how to categorize/sort basic items, and how to build phrases and then simple sentences. During therapy sessions, she began learning to name nouns during play, identify concepts from objects/pictures, ask questions such as “what’s this?”, and even made a few requests using the “I want” carrier phrase that I taught her. However, her overall spontaneous communication skills were not typical. She was very echolalic as she would repeat noises and phrases that she heard from others or television.

I also recall her challenges following directions, difficulty with some motor skills, short attention span, and sensory concerns. After a short time of working with her, I referred her for an occupational therapy evaluation that confirmed fine motor, low muscle tone, and sensory integration challenges. I think she had visual-perceptual difficulties too. Within 6 months of starting speech-language and occupational therapy, my co-worker and I documented our concerns and recommended to her referring pediatrician that our client receive a comprehensive developmental evaluation by a neurodevelopmental pediatrician and multidisciplinary team. Although there was a waiting list for the clinic that did those assessments in my area, my sweet and active little girl received the additional evaluation that she needed. The results confirmed that she had an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).

It was not easy for her parent to understand what this diagnosis meant for her child, but she was happy that her daughter was getting all the help that she needed. During the course of me working with her, she started preschool and then a special needs kindergarten class. I think she had just turned six the summer that I last worked with her. She made lots of gains in her receptive language, expressive language, and social skills. Although she was still echolalic, she learned how to make requests and comments. A friend/co-worker of mine continued to provide speech-language therapy for her when I changed work settings.

One of my precious memories of her is the day she brought me a vanilla milkshake. She frequently had these before her sessions with me and one day she told her mom that Ms. Tamara needed one too! Of course, I couldn’t resist and had a big smile on my face. 🙂


Pediatric Hearing Disorders

Hearing is one of the five senses and I believe that the ability to hear is truly a gift that God provides. Some people may not view hearing as a special ability because they may have the mind set that most people can hear, see, touch, taste, and smell. However, there are many children and adults that are a born unable to hear or have an acquired hearing loss due to an accident or medical condition. According to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, 2-3 infants out of 1000 in the United States are born deaf or with hearing loss.  Here in the U.S., most babies receive a newborn hearing screening in the hospital before they go home. If the baby does not pass the screening, they are scheduled for a repeat screening or a more in depth hearing assessment by an audiologist or a licensed healthcare professional who assesses, diagnoses, and provides treatment for such individuals. School aged children also receive hearing screenings at school and there are audiologists who are available to provide services as needed.

Children diagnosed by an audiologist with a pediatric hearing disorder may have hearing disorders ranging from mild to severe hearing loss. The hearing loss may be unilateral (present in one ear) or bilateral (present in both ears). Parents often feel varied emotions when they find out that their child has a hearing loss. However, it is important for them to know that such a diagnosis does not prevent their child’s ability to be successful in life. Instead, due to hearing limitations they may very well become more resilient than a typical child because they very likely will have a different path to learn how to communicate, academic content at school, social skills, and life skills.

I believe that it is important for parents with children with hearing disorders to take an active role in advocating for their child’s hearing needs. This includes being proactive about selecting hearing aids for their child or connecting them with others in the Deaf community if their hearing can not be remediated by a hearing aid or cochlear implant. A cochlear implant is a device that is surgically implanted that provides direct stimulation of the auditory nerve in the inner ear that allows a person who is profoundly Deaf to hear. For more info about this implant you may click on this link: http://www.nidcd.nih.gov/health/hearing/pages/coch.aspx
Here is a picture.

As far as communication abilities for children who have hearing disorders, these skills range based on the severity of the hearing loss. Some children will have substantial hearing that enables them to acquire spoken language, others will learn to communicate via sign language, and some children will communicate verbally and with sign language.

A few years ago, I worked at a middle school where I provided speech-language services for children who had varying degrees of hearing loss. They communicated verbally, with American Sign Language (ASL), and Signed Exact English (SEE). The teachers who taught them were excellent educators who were able to teach them not only the academic content, but also provided valuable tools to improve their confidence as a middle school student who was Deaf or had a hearing disorder. They taught the students that despite their hearing challenges, they can still strive for excellence in all that they do. I enjoyed providing speech-language services for these students. In graduate school, I took courses in American Sign Language and then I took refresher courses that were offered through my church’s Deaf and Hard of Hearing Ministry while working at the school. It was a joy for me to assist my students improve their communication and language skills they needed to succeed at school and in life. I recently saw one of my students who is now in high school at a community Nutcracker ballet recital. We were both excited and surprised to see each other and communicated with sign language. I was happy to hear that she is now a senior and is doing well in school.

Working with children who are Deaf or have hearing loss is a special opportunity to plant seeds that will have long lasting blossoms.

For more resources about Pediatric Hearing Disorders, please visit these links:
National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) 


American Society for Deaf Children (ASCD)

Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing

Have an exceptional week!


Tamara Anderson, Ed.S., CCC-SLP
Speech Language Pathologist

Pediatric Language Disorders

Pediatric Language Disorders

I enjoy providing interventions for children who have language disorders. Children with communication impairments may receive a diagnosis of receptive language disorder, expressive language disorder, or mixed receptive/expressive language disorder due to significant language challenges. Toddlers may experience delays in their language development that may be identified as a language disorder by the time they are in preschool. Other children may not be identified with a language disorder until they are attending elementary school. However, it is important to seek an evaluation by a speech-language pathologist if a parent, pediatrician, teacher, or guardian has concerns about a child’s language development. Children need to be provided access to speech language therapy services as soon as possible to optimize their ability to attain language skills that are lacking.

The majority of students on my caseload that I provide speech-language services for have language disorders that impact their ability to understand information and communicate their ideas clearly. This directly impacts their ability to learn and explain the academic curriculum at their grade level. Therefore, school aged children with language disorders require intervention from a speech language pathologist to foster growth in their area of need. Many of these students are also identified with a language based learning disability and receive literacy support in reading and writing instruction from a special education resource teacher.

Children with a receptive language disorder have difficulties with both listening and reading comprehension. They struggle with processing information that they hear or read in order to make meaning of the message that is being communicated. They benefit from short concise oral directions so that they can better understand language until they improve their ability to understand verbal directions. Students with receptive language difficulties need direct instruction in the areas of vocabulary such as basic concepts (e.g. sequential terms- first, spatial- prepositions, temporal- before/after, qualitative-adjectives), multiple meaning words, synonyms, antonyms, parts of speech terms (e.g. nouns, pronouns, verbs) and use of context clues to decipher the meanings of unknown words. They also need to improve their ability to comprehend and answer literal who, what, where, and when questions and inferential why and how questions. Additionally, children with receptive language disorders need to learn critical thinking skills essential to analyze language concepts such as compare/contrast, cause/effect, problem/solution, fact/opinion, drawing conclusions/inferences etc.

There are so many language areas that a speech-language therapist provides interventions for children. Many of  these areas relate directly to the English/Language Arts curriculum standards in the school setting that are also reinforced by a child’s classroom teacher. However, the speech-language therapist provides specialized individualized or small group instruction while breaking down a skill in a manner that allows a child to adequately process and learn the information that is being taught.

Children with an expressive language disorder have significant challenges verbally communicating their thoughts. They may struggle with forming a complete sentence to express their basic wants or needs, retelling a fiction story, summarizing facts from nonfiction material, explaining the meanings of vocabulary, using correct grammar at the word level (e.g. using plural nouns, irregular past tense verbs), or using correct grammar at the sentence level.

Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders typically have coexisting pragmatic language disorder. This means that they do not know how to independently use language in social settings. They are unable to read social cues about an appropriate time to start a conversation with a peer or adult, make comments related to the topic of conversation, or ask questions in conversation. Many children with autism who are able to communicate verbally talk about their areas of interest only and do not know how to consider another person’s perspective or area of interest in conversation. They only identify with language from their vantage point as they prefer to remain in their social world. A Speech-language pathologist provides direct instruction in pragmatic language so that these children can improve their abilities to begin conversations with others, make comments, take turns in conversation, etc.

This is Pediatric Language Disorders 101. Language skills are essential for children to understand and explain information. Children who have a disability in this area need intervention support from both a speech language pathologist and special education teacher to improve their language skills. Parents definitely can also participate in their children’s development by providing opportunities for them to engage in language activities at home and on family outings in the community. Language is everywhere!!! Everyday is an opportunity to promote increasing the receptive and expressive language skills for children. This sets them on the path of building a successful life.

Parents and professionals who would like more information on this topic may visit the American Speech Language Hearing Association (ASHA) resource page: http://www.asha.org/public/speech/

Have a great week!

Tamara Anderson, Ed.S., CCC-SLP

Pediatric Speech Disorders

Pediatric Speech Disorders

Often times when people think about speech language therapy they immediately think about someone helping children correctly pronounce their sounds. That is definitely one of the roles of a speech language pathologist (SLP) to provide services for a child with speech sound disorders. However, that is only a component of speech disorders. 

Pediatric speech sound disorders include difficulties with articulation (pronouncing sounds) and phonological processes (sound patterns).  As children develop, they all incorrectly pronounce certain sounds and these patterns of error are known as phonological processes. 

If these errors persist beyond a certain age, a child that is experiencing challenges with expressive communication may receive one of the following diagnoses following a speech therapy evaluation from a SLP.

An articulation disorder involves difficulties pronouncing consonant sounds. These sounds can be substituted, omitted, or changed. These errors may make it hard for people to understand what a child is attempting to communicate. Speech intelligibility is 
the percentage or measure of how much a child’s speech is understood by a listener. 

A phonological disorder occurs when there are patterns of sound errors. For example, substituting all sounds made in the back of the mouth like “k” and “g” for those in the front of the mouth like “t” and “d” (e.g. saying “tup” for “cup” or “doat” for “goat.”)

There are also pediatric speech disorders that are due to a child’s challenges coordinating speech muscle movements essential for effective verbal communication. The child’s speech disorder may be secondary to another diagnosis such as cerebral palsy or it is his or her primary disorder. The following are diagnoses that a child with these characteristics may receive from a SLP:

Childhood Apraxia of Speech is a motor speech disorder that occurs because the brain has problems planning to move the body parts (e.g. lips, jaw, tongue) required for effective verbal communication. Children with this speech disorder have difficulty coordinating the muscle movements necessary to say sounds, syllables, and words. They often know what they want to say, but are unable to verbally express it  accurately.

A fluency or stuttering disorder occurs when a child experiences involuntary interruptions or dysfluencies in his or her speech. There are many types of dysfluencies. A child may repeat a sound at the beginning of a word (e.g. b-b-book), part of a word (e.g. bo-bo-book), entire word (e.g., book, book), or an entire phrase (e.g. my book, my book). Other dysfluencies include sound prolongations (e.g. I want s-s-s-ome), interjections (e.g. I want um-um-um some juice), and blocks (e.g. struggle behavior with no audible speech). Some children may also show excessive body tension, eye blinks, facial movements, or other body movements. 

Dysarthria is a motor speech disorder that results from neurological impairment (brain injury) due to a stroke, traumatic head injury, cerebral palsy, or muscular dystrophy. This leads to weak speech muscles and respiratory system.  A child with dysarthria may exhibit verbal communication that has a slow rate of speech, slurred, soft volume, hoarseness, and limited movements of speech muscles (tongue, lip, jaw). A child will often have poor saliva control and chewing/swallowing difficulty.

Voice Disorder is the term used to describe a category of speech sound disorders that are due to a benign growth on the vocal folds/cords or a child’s overuse of his or her voice.  Nodules or polyps may grow on the vocal cords that prevent the necessary movement of vocal folds that is needed for verbal communication. A child with a voice disorder may have a hoarse, breathy, scratchy sounding voice accompanied with ear pain and/or discomfort in their neck/throat area. If a child has a hoarse voice for more than 2-3 weeks, it is wise that he or she is seen by the pediatrician. 

If you suspect that your child may have a speech disorder, please tell your child’s pediatrician and get a referral for a private speech therapy evaluation. You may also discuss your concern with your child’s teacher and request that the speech-language pathologist complete a speech screening. 

Thanks for reading the blog today,

Tamara Anderson, E.d.S.,  CCC-SLP

Reference: http://www.asha.org/public/speech/disorders/ChildSandL.htm

Pediatric Communication Disorders 101

Pediatric Communication Disorders 101

I hope you all had a wonderful end of 2013 and are excited for all things to come in 2014! On December 14th, I proudly graduated with my Education Specialist Degree (Ed.S.) degree in Curriculum and Instruction!! Yeah for me! 🙂

Today, I am enjoying my “coldcation” in Atlanta, Georgia as many of the school districts are closed due to single digit temperatures and wind chill! This is the coldest that I recall it being since I moved here almost 10 years ago!! Hence, I have been indoors today.
I am pleased to announce an informative series, Pediatric Communication Disorders 101 that I will feature on this blog during the month of January. One of the missions of Building Successful Lives Speech and Language Services is to promote knowledge about pediatric communication disorders. These are speech and language disorders that occur in childhood. Did you know that the American Speech Language Hearing Association asserts that communication disorders are one of the most common disabilities in the United States? According to the American With Disability Act, a person with a disability has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities. See the full definition here: http://www.ada.gov/cguide.htm>

Communication is definitely a significant life activity that influences individuals’ abilities to process and understand language as well as express their ideas verbally, in writing, via sign language, and/or through augmentative/alternative communication. Communication disorders are due to neurological impairments in the language centers of the brain.

Therefore, it is important to know the three main types of disorders that may negatively influence a child’s ability to communicate: speech disorders, language disorders, and hearing disorders.  Many children that have these identified disorders also have co-occurring learning disabilities, intellectual impairment, autism, cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, and other neurodevelopmental disorders.

Some toddlers with communication delays may be considered late talkers who over time learn to communicate without the  need for long term speech-language therapy. For more information on later talkers, I recommend the book, The Late Talker What to Do If Your Child Isn’t Talking Yet by Marilyn Agin, M.D., Lisa Geng, and Malcolm Nicholl.

You can preview the book here: http://www.amazon.com/The-Late-Talker-Child-Talking/dp/0312309244/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1389123139&sr=8-1&keywords=the+late+talker  However, this is not the same as children who are identified with pediatric communication disorders by a speech-language pathologist.

Stay tuned for future posts about: speech disorders, language disorders, hearing disorders, speech/language therapy resources, and language arts resources. Have a great January!


Tamara Anderson, Ed.S., CCC-SLP

Speech-Language Pathologist