Meet Lauren Jackson: SLP Highlight

Speech Therapy for Kids

1. What inspired you to become a speech therapist?  My grandmother was the matriarch of the family. In 1991 she fell ill due to a stroke and I saw how therapists, especially a speech language pathologist, came to improve her quality of life.

2. What do you love about being an SLP? I love helping children find their voices.

3. What is your SLP superpower? Patience. Not all clients I work with are happy to see me. I have found that when you take the time to find out what your client likes it makes a difference in the service provided.

4. Who do you find the most rewarding to work with? The majority of my most rewarding clients to work with are under the age of 10. They usually make the most improvement in shorter periods of time. Though parents might be excited to her their child speak for the first time, I find it to be a honor to hear a child who was completely nonverbal, now talk: all from a strategy I used.

5. What would you say to parents who have a child with a speech challenge? Offering developmental norms helps tremendously. It helps the parent understand what should be addressed as well as why. The idea for me is to keep your child within the expected milestones for communication skills.

6. What is the most challenging thing about being a kid with a speech challenge? I think children become frustrated when they do not make progress. This can be especially hard as they mature.

7. What is one question you get most often from clients and parents? Most parents ask, in various ways, “How old are you?”, since I look much younger than I am. My work experience as a Speech Language Pathologist began in 2010.

8. What advice would you like to give to families considering seeking speech services? My best advice is seek evidence based information about your child’s needs before you reach out to any service provider. The best resource for a parent seeking a Speech Language Pathologist is the American Speech-Language & Hearing Association, ASHA. There are many sources that give information that is false or not proven. It can make it hard to work with your therapist (of any training) if you come in expecting one thing and what is realistic is what your therapist is offering you.

9. I’m sure you’ve had many, but what is one of your most memorable or rewarding cases and why? My most memorable case was one where the client was completely noncompliant during an evaluation. The client I am referring to stood up on the table at home and would not allow me to complete the assessment I attempted to administer. This client’s parent was determined to have the evaluation complete and I did my very best. This client is almost a completely different child now. The client is able to combine words, sits to attends tasks, and is making good progress towards mastering speech goals.

10. What can clients expect from virtual therapy? What is different or beneficial about virtual therapy? Virtual therapy is an option for patients in areas where a Speech Language Pathologist might not be accessible. It is an ASHA approved way to provide services. The expectation should be the same as face to face speech therapy. Some considerations for virtual speech therapy are that your internet connection should be supplemented with a USB cable. It is difficult, but not extremely impossible to offer PROMPT over virtual speech therapy: some patients pick up visual cues well. An e-helper is often needed for younger patients to receive the service.

11. What is your favorite part of being a Speech Buddies Connect therapist? My favorite part of working with Speech Buddies Connect is that I am not paperwork driven. There is time that I am able to sit with parents to go over progress then offer carryover.

Lisps & Pronunciation – Free Guide to Fix a Lisp and Pronunciation

Lisps & Pronunciation – Free Guide to Fix a Lisp and Pronunciation

Pronunciation & Lisps

What is a lisp?

The term “lisp” applies to the S, SH and CH sounds, but mostly the S sound. To determine if you have a lisp, listen and look very carefully at a couple of peers, particularly adults and see how your or your child’s S sound differs from these peers. Usually, a classic, frontal lisp will be very visible, with the tongue poking through the front teeth. A lateral lisp, which is somewhat less common, will sound “slushy” with the air escaping from the sides of the teeth (hence the term “lateral”).


How long does it take to fix a lisp?

Just like any speech challenge, it is impossible to predict exactly how long it will take to overcome. Nearly 1/3 of kids make moderate to significant progress in one year of regular one-on-one therapy, another 1/3 make some progress, and another 1/3 make no progress.

Several studies also show that for lisps or articulation one-on-one therapy is much more effective than group therapy, which is what is typically administered in public schools. A comprehensive study performed by the American Speech and Hearing Association showed that for articulation disorders, children are nearly twice as likely to make moderate or significant improvement if they receive one-on-one therapy versus group therapy.

To get specific on the duration estimate, a lateral lisp is a type of articulation challenge, often times a more persistent one. A comprehensive study performed at the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, looking specifically at articulation challenges, showed that for children aged 3-6 over a two year period: 31% made moderate or significant improvement with 36 hours of therapy time, 41% made some improvement with 14 hours of therapy time, and 28% made no improvement with 15 hours of therapy time.

Since therapy is often given in 45 minute sessions, 36 hours of therapy can take about a year to undertake if you are rigorous about attending regular one-on-one speech classes. Remember, these are averages so some children learn faster and others learn slower, and lateral lisps can be a bit trickier.

If your child is in speech therapy in the school setting or is considering it, inquire if they can receive one-on-one therapy or if therapy is performed in groups. Also inquire about how much therapy they are receiving, typically 60 minutes or more per week will yield much better results than 30 minutes per week.

Learn more about lisps & pronunciation:

Understanding Lateral Lisps

Understanding Dentalized Lisps

Understanding Palatial Lisps

More on frontal and lateral lisps

Tips for Speech Delay in Children

Tips for Speech Delay in Children

At Home Ideas Games and Activities Language Building Skills Language Development Parents' Corner Reading Speech delay

How can you tell if your child has a speech delay? And what can you do about it? We get a lot of questions from parents and caregivers about identifying and treating speech delay in children. First, we want to commend you for taking the time to research this important topic! The more you understand about speech and language development, the sooner you will be able to recognize any sort of speech delay and get back on track.

First, it’s important to understand that a child’s speech and language development is continually evolving. Professional speech-language pathologists use age-based developmental milestones to assess whether or not a child is at a developmentally appropriate level. Take a few minutes to familiarize yourself with these milestones as they relate to your child’s age and stage. If you do believe that your child may have a speech delay – or even if you just want to work on developing communication skills at home – here are our top tips:

1. Reading Helps Speech Delay

Children are so inquisitive and love to explore ideas in books. Around the age of 18 months, you can begin letting your child pick the books that he or she wants to “read.” Don’t worry if it’s the same book over and over again. While this might get boring and repetitive for you, your child benefits from reinforcing the same concepts. Read and read often! Your child will benefit from hearing new words and listening to the cadence of how stories are told.

These are our favorite books for speech delay in children:

 Talk With Me – Designed for children with speech delay or early talkers. This book uses popular nursery rhymes to encourage first words. Helpful hints guide parents along the way.

By Kimberly McCollister & Adrienne Penake. Reviewed by Kelsey Bailey, M.S. CCC-SLP.



speech delay in children

Easy-To-Say First Words – by Cara Tambellini Danielson, CCC-SLP

Designed for parents concerned with speech delay. This books exposes your child to final consonants and encourages first words. Helpful to encourage talking through easy words, cute photos and repetition.



2. It’s not enough to “just read”

Ok, here’s a good one that seems to directly contradict #1. In addition to reading, you also want to make your child an active participant in the story. Sit with your child’s favorite book, point to the pictures, and ask your child what they see happening in the story. It doesn’t matter at all what they respond, or whether or not you can understand them. You want them to inquire and wonder and begin trying to communicate with you. Don’t try and use these times as a chance to “correct” or refine your child’s interpretation. You just want to get them talking.

3. Sing! Songs for Speech Delay

Even if children can’t speak fluently, they might be able to express themselves through music and singing. Sing “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star”, or “Rain, Rain Go Away.” Pause at the end of the line and see if your child can fill in the next word. See if they will sing with you. And then celebrate! Any utterance is great progress.


If you do suspect a speech delay:

By the age of two, children who are not meeting developmental milestones very well may have a speech delay. At this point, seeking professional help from a certified speech-language pathologist in your area is warranted. You’ll want to ask about screening for any medical conditions that may be interrupting speech development and get professional help in treating your child’s speech delay.

Parent's Guide to Speech & Communication Challenges


The Invention of Speech Buddies Tools

The Invention of Speech Buddies Tools

News Parents' Corner R Sound Speech Disorders Speech Impediment Speech Therapy Techniques

People often ask us how we decided to invent Speech Buddies tools. We thought you might be interested in this video from CBS SmartPlanet that was put together on Speech Buddies called “Medical device takes the guess work out of speech therapy.” It shows part of our design and development process and details how Speech Buddies tools have been incorporated into a speech therapy regimen to reduce overall treatment time. Particularly for that stubborn R sound! Take a look and let us know what you think.


Speech Buddies Hits Hollywood – Appearance on Modern Family!

Speech Buddies Hits Hollywood – Appearance on Modern Family!


Here at Speech Buddies, we always get excited when the topic of speech and language development hits mainstream media. It raises awareness and empathy for children with speech challenges and we know that families everywhere can relate! Recently, on an episode of the hit show Modern Family, Gloria (Sofia Vergara) took her son Joe (Jeremy Maguire) to see a local speech-language pathologist. What did that savvy SLP have on her desk? None other than Speech Buddies practice guides! We couldn’t believe it. Thanks for the shout-out Modern Family! And thank you for raising awareness around the important work that speech therapists do in their community.

Gloria (Sofia Vergara) and Joe (Jeremy Maguire) practice with Speech Buddies!

Gloria (Sofia Vergara) and Joe (Jeremy Maguire) practice with Speech Buddies!

Gloria (Sofia Vergara) and Joe (Jeremy Maguire) practice with Speech Buddies!

Gloria (Sofia Vergara) and Joe (Jeremy Maguire) practice with Speech Buddies!

Gloria (Sofia Vergara) and Joe (Jeremy Maguire) practice with Speech Buddies!