New Speech Delay Study

normal speech milestones Parents' Corner Speech and Hearing Disorders Speech Therapy for Kids Speech Therapy Techniques

When the American Medical Association Speaks, We Listen          

 

I’ve been quite affected by a recent research study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). The research aimed at answering this question: did the Covid-19 pandemic affect the rate of diagnosis of speech delay in children up to the age of five? 

The answer was a clear yes. The pandemic did see a great frequency of diagnosis of speech delay in children.

This post is dedicated to acknowledging this reality and proposing solutions to the collateral effect of the pandemic.

Study Key Points:

First, the study was huge. The authors’ analysis covered almost 2.5 million children. They were broken into four groups, one year-olds, two year-olds, three year-olds and four year-olds.

Second, the results were statistically significant. The researchers can be very confident that their findings are not due to chance and are in fact a representation of reality.

Third, they found increased diagnosis across all four age groups analyzed. 

Solutions:

Now that we understand this situation is real and the pandemic is the likely cause of a greater prevalence of speech delay, let’s talk about what we can do to address it.

When a parent, teacher or pediatrician first raises a concern about a child’s speech development, the first step is always an evaluation with a licensed speech-language pathologist. Should the evaluation yield a diagnosis of speech delay, the next urgent step is to begin a course of therapy.

For decades, we’ve known of the existence of critical periods of speech development.  The periods that children are expected to acquire given skills by a certain age. If a child misses these critical windows of development, rest assured speech therapy has been proven to catch children up.  However, the sooner a child can be seen, the better the child’s prognosis.

Once a decision is made to get an evaluation, the next question to answer is where will we get these services? Luckily, there are many ways to do this but they all require a different procedure and have their strengths and drawbacks.

Options to explore:

See below for a list of these options which may be dependent on age, income or employment requirements:

This list is not absolutely exhaustive and other options that may be available to you.  Here are a few examples:

Grant funding
TriCare (military insurance)
Therapeutic day schools – more significant developmental or medical needs

Connect:

At Speech Buddies we are committed to providing superior speech therapy solutions for all involved in the process (children, parents, caregivers, educators and fellow therapists).

Our Speech Buddies Tools have strong data to support their use with a wide range of speech delays. We also offer a free online directory for speech therapists nationwide on Speech Buddies Connect.

Lastly, we know the importance of setting up speech therapy promptly following a speech delay diagnosis.  Please feel free to email us at info@speechbuddies.com for guidance on how to get started. We’d welcome the opportunity to point you in the right direction of either local, regional or national resources that you’d have available to you.

 

By Gordy Rogers, M.S. CCC-SLP

 

Guiding Your Child’s Speech Journey: A Parent’s Guide

Language Development Parents' Corner Speech Therapy for Kids Speech Therapy Ideas

In my clinical career, I have direct comparisons of parents who were deeply involved in their children’s therapy regimen and those who were not. In almost every case, the parents who were more involved in their child’s speech regimen had the most success. 

Here are several tips for how you can be the ideal partner in your child’s therapy process.

  1. Ask Questions – Starting from your child’s initial evaluation through every stage of therapy, don’t be afraid to ask your speech therapist questions. Make sure you understand the recommendations given in your child’s evaluation report. Whenever therapy goals are listed, ask about the rationale behind each goal and the sequence of those goals. Will they target goals individually or several at once?
    Inquire about your child’s progress after a few weeks of therapy. What goals is your child most naturally making progress with? What activities are your child most motivated by? And what the discharge plan is.
    Your therapist will appreciate your active involvement in the therapy process, even if it seems like micro-managing.

  2. Offer Suggestions – Don’t be afraid to offer suggestions to your therapist. You will defer to your experienced, licensed professional regarding therapy techniques, goal selection, and the key clinical considerations. However, it is essential that your therapist know what brings your child joy. This can include games or activities that motivate your child, their preferred feedback or reinforcement (i.e. after each correct answer or at the end of a block of items), and potential prizes.
    Therapy should always be fun and focus on connecting with your child and their interests. Most therapists are well-stocked with games and other reinforcement tokens but, imparting your knowledge of what makes your child tick will pay enormous dividends for their growth.

  3. Practice Makes Perfect – This adage applies in almost every area of speech and language therapy. There’s no need to do more than your family can reasonably take on. However, research strongly suggests that frequent short home-based “sessions” are the ideal way to pursue follow-up exercises.
    For example, three to four times per week for ten to fifteen minutes per session. Definitely take your therapist’s lead and refrain from doing activities or exercises that aren’t “assigned” by your therapist.
    When in doubt, ask for direction or clarification from your therapist.

  4. It’s a Process – Speech and language therapy isn’t a linear process. I’ve seen early strong progress turn to mid-therapy frustration and vice versa. I’ve seen minimal early progress give way to rapid change just as everyone was throwing their hands up in frustration. The lesson here is it’s probably prudent to expect at least several months of visits, depending on the nature and number of goals on your child’s therapy plan.

Speech and language are complex behaviors that can require time, persistence, and thoughtful intervention to change. In many cases, there’s simply no way around this. By following the guidelines I’ve provided, you can make therapy more efficient and ensure a positive experience for your family.

Visit our website at speechbuddies.com or contact us for more information.

We also offer a free directory, Speech Buddies Connect, of SLP’s on our website.

 

By Gordy Rogers, M.S. CCC-SLP

Keeping the Momentum In Your Child’s Speech Plan During The Summer

Parents' Corner Speech Therapy for Kids Speech Therapy Ideas

Ahhh summer. The time of year when your child’s speech plan is interrupted because of camp and family vacations. As much as our kids deserve a break from their academic routine, pausing can affect your child’s momentum toward his/her speech goals.

Speech Buddies® can maintain and progress speech skills over the summer, regardless of the learning phase or service provider. 

Phases of speech development:

1. The Establishment Phase – With the help of his/her therapist the child is learning to unlearn previous patterns of speech production. If your child is in this phase, it’s crucial to include frequent practice sessions with the Speech Buddies tools. By feeling the correct placement of the tongue in a variety of speech contexts, summer practice with Speech Buddies can be directed, effective and very efficient. Just five to ten minutes per day is beneficial.

2. The Generalization Phase – In this phase, the sound has already been established, but your child still requires these new speech skills to become a habit in everyday speech.

Our tools help orient your child’s entire sound system to the proper placement and movement of the challenge sound (s). We offer carefully developed supplementary materials to support your home-based programming. Find our free lesson plans here.

Applying a framework like Speech Buddies can provide structure and direction to your home-based work with your child; just getting going and sticking with a program is half the battle.

Kids deserve their summers to explore, to experiment, and unwind. Yet, with Speech Buddies, summers can also be a time of growth through practice without it feeling like work. 

Visit our website or contact us to help with your family’s summer speech program! 

 

Making the Most of Your School-Based Speech Services

Parents' Corner School Speech and Hearing Disorders Speech Therapy Techniques

Congratulations! You’ve made it off a waiting list for school-based speech therapy services for your child. Through no fault of their own, many school districts provide speech therapy in groups of three to five children – in some states, the legal maximum can be six.

You’re grateful for the chance to have the support for your child’s speech challenges, but may feel that it could be challenging to address your child’s specific speech challenge efficiently in a group of other children who also have their own very specific challenges and goals.

As a speech pathologist who has worked in both schools and in private practice, I emphasize supplementing your school-based services with home-based work to help your child reach their speech goals.

School-based speech pathologists are dedicated and passionate professionals. They’re not only educators but also pillars of the communities they serve.

However, they’re often faced with huge caseloads that prevent them from going that “extra mile” for your child. That’s why it is critical for parents to be empowered to support their own child’s speech journey directly.

Speech Buddies provide a solution to do that in two key ways:

1) They provide a specially designed and clinically proven way to cue your child to place and move his/her tongue exactly as it should for those hard-to-learn speech sounds that develop in late pre-kindergarten and early school years (e.g. R, L, SH, CH and S)

2) They come with actionable support and learning plans that empower you to be the most effective partner in your child’s therapy process.

Each speech sound requires your child to place the tongue specifically within the mouth. For example, with the commonly disarticulated S sound, if they place the tongue too far back or too far forward in their mouth, the S won’t come out right.

Using a hand-held delivery mechanism, the S Speech Buddy provides a clear and consistent target within the mouth for your child to hit each time. In many cases, Speech Buddies provide that “aha!” moment early in the therapy process, where your child just gets it.

This can be enormously motivating for your child and for you, and is the first crucial step toward remediating a speech challenge.

But, because your child has said that speech sound in the old, incorrect way literally hundreds of thousands of times in his or her young life, it’s essential you follow up with diligent practice so this new, correct way of speaking can quickly become habit.

We know that school-based group therapy essentially means that your child gets 5 to 10 minutes of directed attention for his or her specific speech goals.  Speech Buddies tools come with a comprehensive lesson plan to help support your child.

Speech pathologists welcome parent involvement, but school-based therapists can’t give 50-70 parents a home lesson plan each week. Our lesson plans provide a clear roadmap for success and help make your child’s speech pathologist’s job easier.

If your child is in a group of three at school and is in two 30-minute speech sessions per week, your child is really getting 20-minutes of directed speech therapy per week. So, even twenty solid minutes of home-based work with your child effectively doubles the practice your child is getting; forty minutes triples this time!

And many studies throughout the field of speech pathology have confirmed that parents can only help their children meet their goals faster.

 

 

 

How To Manage Your Child’s Speech Challenges While On A School Waiting List

Expert Corner Parents' Corner Special Needs Speech delay Speech Therapy for Kids

The Covid pandemic brought an unprecedented staffing challenge across the entire American healthcare system. From hospitals, to outpatient private practices to schools, there aren’t enough speech pathologists to serve the demand for services that further exploded because of lockdowns.

We are seeing research studies come out now that confirm how lockdowns and remote learning set children back in their speech development.

While this might explain why your child hasn’t been receiving the school-based or clinic-based services, it does nothing to allay your concerns as a parent.

But with the help of Speech Buddies®, you can take your child’s speech development into your own hands.

Let me explain.

Speech Buddies are a set of patented, clinically proven hand-held devices that help a child feel correct tongue placement for those most difficult speech sounds that typically develop in late pre-school and early school years.

Since 2007? thousands of speech pathologists and tens of thousands of parents and children have successfully used them. See our testimonials here. Speech Buddies takes the guesswork out of eliciting speech sounds and speed up a child’s acquisitions of these often difficult-to-learn speech sounds.

The elegance of Speech Buddies as a speech therapy solution lies both in its efficacy and flexibility.

We always recommend having your child evaluated and treated by a licensed speech pathologist for a diagnosed speech challenge, especially if you believe your child’s speech challenge may be more than just of mild severity.

But, Speech Buddies may provide a critical bridge to expedited care amid this staffing situation. You may have an “ah ha moment” within the first few minutes of using the device and our extensive library of training videos and lesson plans will give you a head start on your child’s treatment regimen.

Because we specifically designed Speech Buddies tools for each speech sound (please see descriptions of each device: R, S, SH, L, CH), you only need to purchase the device(s) that apply to your child’s situation. So, when you’re finally moved off the waiting list for services, you could be farther along in the therapy process.

Depending on the speech therapy staffing predicament in your local area, Speech Buddies may also offer a fantastic option for those who would opt for out-of-network services, resources permitting, while potentially reducing the overall cost of those services.

Out-of-network providers almost never have extensive waiting lists given very limited or unavailable funding coverage.

You should be able to get in for an evaluation and services without being placed on a waiting list. If Speech Buddies work for your child’s speech treatment regimen, our tools are proven to reduce the time in therapy for certain speech sound disorders. By accessing a key sensory modality in learning, the sense of touch, Speech Buddies can help achieve a quicker learning breakthrough.

Speech Buddies hand-held tool empowers both the parent and child to recreate the speech therapy session in your own home while building confidence and enabling critical parent involvement in therapy. We also offer a free directory, Speech Buddies Connect, of SLP’s on our website.

Parents are powerless over staffing challenges across healthcare services but, you have access the clinically proven options.

Your child’s speech development is important and can be complex. If you ever have questions about Speech Buddies as a specific solution for your child’s situation, please contact us today!

We’re happy to hear your child’s situation and point you toward actionable solutions.

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.

 

Pediatric Feeding Evaluations, What to Expect

Pediatric Feeding Evaluations, What to Expect

Expert Corner normal speech milestones Parents' Corner

Many people believe that the role of a speech-language pathologist’s (SLP) is limited to speech and language, however, we have a list of responsibilities including pediatric feeding evaluations. SLPs are experts in the oral mechanism all the way down to the esophagus, allowing them to support individuals with feeding and swallowing difficulties. Feeding involves all the steps it takes to get food off the plate and into your mouth, while swallowing includes chewing, moving the food down the throat, and protecting the airway that leads into the lungs. A swallowing disorder is known as dysphagia. If your child has any aversion to certain foods or has trouble swallowing without coughing, your pediatrician may suggest you visit a speech-language pathologist. In order to assess your child’s feeding and swallowing abilities, the SLP will conduct a natural feeding evaluation. If this is recommended, here’s what you can expect…

Your Pediatric Feeding Evaluation, Step by Step

Baby feeding and swallowing problemsFirst, the therapist will conduct an initial interview. They will ask you questions about your child’s developmental history, family background, your family’s daily routine, feeding preferences, and wishes for therapy.

After the SLP and child become acquainted, she will complete an oral mechanism exam. From a parent’s perspective, this procedure may appear like your average snack time. However, the SLP is observing everything your child does to determine what needs to be done next. For young children, speech therapists often disguise this examination with play activities. Modeling and asking the child to make funny faces, the SLP will observe the child’s ability to move their oral structures (lips, tongue, cheeks, ect.) and any asymmetry or weakness is noted.

Next, the therapist will begin to offer the child different foods and textures. In order to create the most natural feeding possible, the SLP may request that you bring in some of your child’s favorite foods or utensils from home. Food and drinks of different consistencies will be presented in order to identify your child’s strengths and weaknesses. As the therapist and child enjoy the different foods, the therapist will observe the child’s ability to hold the food in their mouth, chew, and swallow without leaving residue behind. The evaluation may be video recorded for later analysis and the therapist will take notes throughout. A checklist such as The Developmental Pre-Feeding Checklist: A Sequential Approach (1987) may also be used to make a thorough diagnosis.  

Once the evaluation is complete, the SLP will be able to make recommendations for therapy. If further evaluation or intervention is needed, the therapist may refer you next to other professionals such as an occupational therapist or a physical therapist. For more information on pediatric dysphagia and feeding assessment, please visit ASHA’s website.

 

References:

https://www.asha.org/PRPSpecificTopic.aspx?folderid=8589934965&section=Assessment

http://72.29.72.224/~ohsnapor/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/FeedingChecklist.pdf

Baby talk: does it help or hurt how your baby learns language?

Baby talk: does it help or hurt how your baby learns language?

Language Building Skills Language Development Parents' Corner

Often referred to as ‘baby talk’, Motherese (or Parentese or Fatherese) is a term used to describe the quality of speech caregivers often use when speaking to a newborn child. Using a higher pitch, more exaggerated articulation, and great facial expressions, we seem to naturally talk in this manner to babies.

Many have debated the importance or hindrance that use of baby talk has on a child’s speech and language development. Some parents believe that baby talk is an important first step in teaching a child to talk and some believe that using baby talk limits a child’s language comprehension. Researchers have conducted studies to find an answer. While modeling adult language is beneficial to a child’s speech and language development, baby talk has withstood the test of time and been a useful tool in creating a bond between an infant and their parent. This attachment helps a child learn to develop relationships with others throughout life. Babies from many different cultures around the world, speaking many different languages have shown interest in this quality of speech as it grabs their attention. This type of interaction can also give an infant their first experience with social cues such as turn taking and eye contact, and speech sounds.

Within the first days of life, a baby’s brain has remarkable neuroplasticity, meaning they can create new neural connections quickly and absorb new information like a sponge. As they experience their first sights, smells, and sounds, they make many first impressions that are everlasting. Studies have shown that babies often learn to recognize and prefer the sound of their caretaker’s voice. Although researchers have not been able to identify whether it’s more beneficial to use adult speech right from the start, use of brain scanning technology has allowed us to see the reactions infants have to adults using baby talk in their native language as well as foreign languages. This TED talk by Patricia Kuhl discusses one of these studies.

Remember- there is no clearly defined right or wrong style of parenting or teaching. If you are a new parent, no matter how you choose to speak to your child, just make sure you do it! Even when you are not speaking directly to an infant, they’re constantly taking in information and making connections. Whether by choice or instinct, if you do use motherese with your child, it is recommended that this type of speech be weaned off as the child reaches toddlerhood and begins develop speech and language skills.

More resources to check out:

ASHA: How Babies Form Foundations for Language 

TED: The Surprisingly Logical Minds of Babies

Photo credit: www.prettymomguide.com

Speech Buddies Parents’ Corner – Thanksgiving Crafts to Make with the Kids

Speech Buddies Parents’ Corner – Thanksgiving Crafts to Make with the Kids

Games and Activities Parents' Corner

Thanksgiving Crafts

These cute little turkeys make great appetizers at the kids’ table and you can add names for place cards at the dinner table. Image source: www.chattingoverchocolate.com

Somewhere along the way it became November and Thanksgiving is almost here. These Thanksgiving crafts not only help your little ones get into the holiday spirit, but they are easy ways to help prepare for the holiday, too, even producing appetizers, table setting options, and decorations. Continue reading