Q1: What is speech and language pathology?
Speech-Language Pathology is a field of expertise practiced by a certified clinician known as a Speech-Language Pathologist (SLP), or Speech-Language Therapist (SLT), who specializes in the evaluation and treatment of various communication and swallowing disorders.
Q2: Do you help with stuttering?
Yes! A Speech-Language Therapist is a trained professional who evaluates and treats individuals who exhibit signs of Speech Fluency Disorder. Fluency is the aspect of speech production that refers to continuity, smoothness, rate, and effort. There are two types of Speech Fluency Disorders; first is Stuttering that is the most common fluency disorder. Stuttering usually has its origins in the childhood and can significantly interfere with school, work, social interactions, as well as self-confidence. Second type of Speech Fluency Disorder is Stammering which is characterized by breakdown in clarity of speech due to rapid and/or irregular speech rate.
Q3: Do you have a feeding specialist?
Yes! In addition to habilitation and rehabilitation of communication disorders in children and adults, a Speech therapist is a qualified professional to evaluate and provide treatment for Feeding disorders. Feeding disorders can be caused by various anatomical, physiological, sensory, and/or behavioral anomalies. In pediatric population, often, there is a combination of factors in the child’s development that plays a role in the child’s ability to safely and adequately consume various types of foods and maintain healthy eating habits. The following signs can be associated with a Feeding disorder: difficulty chewing, coughing, packing the food in the mouth, excessive gagging, frequent spitting up and vomiting, refusal to accept specific food retextures and tastes, prolonged feeding time, frequent tantrums associated with introduction of new food items or meal time in general, and other atypical behaviors related to food consumption. Please refer to the “Early Feeding and Sensory Development Milestones” chart for identification of typical developmental of feeding skills. Feeding Disorders occur in 25-35% of children with typical development, and in 40-70% of children with developmental disabilities (Rudolph & Link, 2002). Therefore, early identification and intervention is critical for the child’s development of early feeding skills, ability to tolerate and enjoy various food textures and tastes, nutritious status, and overall health.
Q4. In a month, how many more words will my child know?
While, a Speech-Language therapist can provide a general prognosis and expectations for a particular child, based on the outcomes of an initial assessment and informed clinical opinion; it is very difficult to predict the definite rate of skills acquisition, as there are many variables that can affect the progress. For example, a speech therapist cannot forecast how many new words or how many new skills a child can acquire in a month. The outcome of therapy greatly depends on the following variables: predispositions related to the diagnosis, initial status, age at which intervention was initiated, child’s motivation level, amount and consistency of therapy, and other factors. However, while all stated above factors are important, one of the most crucial is parental engagement and carryover of skills outside of the therapy sessions. Frequent opportunities for practice of target skills in the child’s typical settings is vital for the overall progress, because generalization of learned skills is the ultimate goal of Speech-Language intervention.
Q5. How long before my child catches up to his peers?
In the Child Development Center we perceive and treat each child as an individual, with his/her own personality differences, strengths, challenges, cultural and parental expectations. While there is a typical pattern of growth across the five areas of child development: communication, social-emotional, cognitive, learning, and physical; there is no common measure for an individual child’s progress. Each child enters Speech-Language therapy intervention with his/her own potential and challenges related to the target areas of development. Therefore, individual objectives are created based on the above mentioned factors, in mind with typical child’s development expectations and cultural norms.
Q6. Should I speak to him only in one language at home?
In typical development of child’s communication skills (language and speech) parents should not be hesitant about speaking more than one native language to their child. Speaking more than one language to your child should facilitate child’s ability to develop native bilingual or multilingual proficiency, and stimulate overall cognitive development. The research in this area suggests that early acquisition of more than one language, or subsequent learning of another language is beneficial for developing the following skills: auditory processing, memory, word retrieval, as well as overall brain development. However, if you notice any concerns related to your child’s speech and language development in one or more than one language, seek consultation with a certified Speech –Language Pathologist, for early identification of possible communication disorders. Early identification and intervention significantly improves the prognosis of future speech, language, literacy and pragmatic skills.