Articulation and Phonological Disorders
A speech sound disorder occurs when children make mistakes pronouncing sounds and it continue past a certain age. Every sound has a different age range for when the child should start producing the sound correctly. Speech sound disorders include difficulties with articulation (making sounds) and phonological processes (sound patterns). Each disorder requires specific and specialized treatment strategies, so it is important to be evaluated and treated by a certified speech-language pathologist for these difficulties.
Childhood Apraxia of Speech (CAS) is a motor speech disorder. Children with CAS have difficulty consistently producing sounds, syllables, and words. This is not because of muscle weakness or paralysis. When a child presents with CAS, they often have difficulty planning the movement of muscles and structures (e.g., lips, jaw, tongue) needed for speech. The child knows what he or she wants to say, however, due to difficulty with the coordination of muscle movements it may not come out easily, consistently or clear. CAS is often confused with other speech sound disorders and can be diagnosed by a speech-language pathologist.
Expressive language disorders impact a child’s ability to effectively communicate their wants and needs appropriately. Children may have difficulty using gestures, labeling, asking and answering questions, combining words into sentences, and so on. In older children, expressive language disorders may impact on their ability to writing skills, vocabulary, and using proper grammar.
Receptive language disorders occur when a child has difficulty understanding language. Children that present with receptive language disorders have difficulty maintaining joint/sustained attention, identifying common objects, following directions, answering questions, and so on. In older children, receptive language disorders may impact their ability to be successful in the classroom.
Stuttering is when the flow of speech is interrupted by repetitions (li-li-like this), prolongations (lllllike this), or abnormal blocks (no sound) of sounds, syllables and/or words. There may also be unusual facial and body movements occurring while speaking.
A tongue thrust occurs when the tongue protrudes out of the mouth or forcefully against the back of the front teeth when swallowing or talking. Children with a tongue thrust often present with errors on certain sounds when they speak, frontal lisps, malocclusions, and decreased clarity of speech. Tongue thrusts are often recognized by a dentist or orthodontist.
Voice disorders may be due to abnormal vocal quality affecting a person’s pitch, resonance, or loudness. Having a very persistent “hoarse voice” may be an example of a possible voice disorder. Voice disorders can be caused by a number of factors including, vocal abuse, misuse, and other medical conditions. An ENT must be consulted prior to the initiation of therapy in order to rule out medical diagnoses. Voice disorders may affect children or adults.
Pragmatic Language Deficits
Children with deficits in their social language skills typically have difficulty with the use of language (e.g. appropriateness of communication). Deficits in social skills are typically associated with children on the autism spectrum. However, it is common that children may have pragmatic difficulties and not have a diagnosis of autism. Pragmatic language intervention may target play skills, understanding feelings and emotions, conversational skills, turn-taking and more.
Feeding/Swallowing/Dysphagia in Children and Adults
Children with feeding disorders often present with a limited repertoire of foods, avoidance of consistencies/textures, and may be underweight or overweight. Children with feeding disorders also demonstrate challenging behaviors during mealtime (i.e. Crying, yelling, kicking, gagging/vomiting, etc) which is commonly very difficult for families and caregivers. Furthermore, some children have difficulties with oral motor skills needed for successful eating. Common difficulties include chewing skills, tongue movement, lip closure and movement of food for swallowing.
Swallowing disorders can be present due to a variety of medical diagnoses (such as strokes, neurodegenerative diseases, surgeries, etc.), which may negatively impact an individual’s ability to chew and swallow various textures and liquids.
We provide cognitive therapy (e.g. memory, language, executive functioning, reasoning, problem solving) for individuals with intellectual disorders or those affected by a traumatic brain injury, stroke, dementia, as well as any other disease/trauma affecting the brain.