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Speech Therapy

What is Pediatric Speech Therapy (ST)?

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A common assumption about pediatric speech therapy is that ST only helps children learn how to talk. In reality, pediatric ST has a wide scope of practice. Therapists are trained to help children acquire a variety of skills related to communication, feeding, and swallowing/respiration. Below are specific areas of speech therapy that can enhance children’s overall quality of life from birth to adolescence: 

 

  • Articulation

  • Social-emotional Communication

  • Voice 

  • Expressive Language 

  • Receptive Language 

  • Fluency 

  • Feeding 

  • Swallowing 

What does ST look like at Foundations? 

Our speech therapists are trained in the DIR®/Floortime™ methodology. DIR®/Floortime™ is a research-based approach that includes getting on each individual’s developmental level. This means therapists provide the “just right” amount of support to ensure that each child feels successful and confident during each session. 

 

If ST sessions look like “just playing” on the surface, then therapists are doing their job correctly! DIR®/Floortime™ therapists are trained to follow the children’s lead, promote their interests, and insert therapeutic strategies within motivating activities– i.e., play.  

 

DIR®/Floortime™ is considered a family-centered approach. Therapists encourage parent/caregiver participation as much as possible. Sessions often include parent/caregiver training with tailored home programs. The overarching goal is to help children achieve their goals and progress outside of the therapeutic environment. We respond to the unique needs of each family dynamic! 

What are some red flags to consider regarding speech and language development?

Below is a general list of potential red flags that indicate need for further assessment. Take advantage of our free 15-minute phone consultation if you have specific questions or concerns.  

 

  • Not babbling or making sounds

  • Excessive drooling

  • Decreased intelligibility

  • Difficulty producing age-appropriate sounds 

  • Difficulty expressing wants and needs

  • Lacking nonverbal communication (e.g., pointing)

  • Difficulty making and/or keeping friends

  • Difficulty following directions

  • Limited pretend play with toys

  • Lip and tongue tie

  • Stuttering of one-word or part-word repetitions

  • Difficulty swallowing & chewing

  • Choking Regularly

  • Impaired Attention

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Methodologies & Protocols We Use

ALL therapeutic activities are guided by research

Oromyofacial Therapy

Oromyofacial therapy addresses tongue thrust in children, which impacts intelligibility and feeding. Intervention also includes techniques to improve breathing and develop oral-motor skills required for safe and efficient chewing/swallowing. 

Beckman Oral Motor

An evidence-based protocol involving exercises to increase functional response to pressure and movement, range, strength, variety, and control of movement for the lips, cheeks, jaw, and tongue.

Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC):

AAC is an area of clinical practice that supplements or compensates for impairments in speech-language production and/or comprehension, including spoken and written modes of communication. AAC falls under the broader umbrella of assistive technology, or the use of any equipment, tool, or strategy to improve functional daily living in individuals with disabilities or limitations.

 

AAC uses a variety of techniques and tools to help the individual express thoughts, wants and needs, feelings, and ideas, including the following:

  • manual signs

  • gestures

  • finger spelling

  • tangible objects

  • line drawings

  • picture communication boards and letter boards

  • speech-generating devices

American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (n.d.). Augmentative and Alternative Communication (Practice Portal). Retrieved month, day, year, from www.asha.org/Practice-Portal/Professional-Issues/Augmentative-and-Alternative-Communication/.

Pragmatic Language Evaluation and Intervention:

Pragmatic language refers to social skills. We help children cultivate meaningful relationships by giving them tools to have successful interactions. 

 

Carol Gray Social Stories: Carol Gray is a well-known author and autism consultant who created a book series to help children better understand and identify social cues. These books are interactive and a great tool to facilitate social inferencing skills.

Early Language Intervention

The primary focus of early intervention includes parent education. We use a family-centered approach and encourage caregivers' participation as much as possible. We aim to figure out every parent's learning style in order to share strategies that facilitate early communication skills. 

Fluency Intervention

Fluency refers to the forward flow of speech. To assess stuttering, thorough evaluations take place. Intervention includes both pre-school and school-age children, and highly individualized treatment plans based on their needs.

Articulation Intervention

We treat articulation and phonological disorders by first conducting a thorough evaluation. Treatment plans are then carefully created for each client based on his/her specific sensory processing, language, and individual differences. 

Literacy

A whole language approach to literacy emphasizes comprehension. Whole language is considered a "bottom-up" approach because the focus is on understanding and making meaning of the text first, as opposed to decoding phonemes. Research suggests that decoding is only one of the four cueing systems our brains use to help us comprehend written language. 

Voice

We conduct thorough voice evaluations to assess vocal fold closure, pitch, volume, resonance, and vocal quality. Tailored home programs and therapeutic techniques are then used to facilitate improvement across these areas. 

Accent Modification

It’s within our scope of practice to work with people who speak English as a second language, people who want to change their regional accent, professionals who want to communicate better at work, and even actors who need to learn a new accent for a role! 

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