Speech Therapy Services
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a complex developmental condition that results in difficulties with communication and social skills. We will work on your child’s social communication skills including but not limited to reading nonverbal communication clues, navigating social interactions, understanding emotions, and learning how to form relationships.
Augmentative and Alternative Communication
Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) is any other form of communication other than talking. There are many forms of AAC to provide individuals with a way to communicate including low-tech (communication boards and books, PECS, writing or drawing letters and pictures, etc) and high-tech systems (iPad, other speech-generating devices with specific apps: Proloquo2Go, Touch Chat, Lamp, etc). We will find a system that works best for you and your child to facilitate effective communication.
Speech therapy can be a vital tool in identifying and treating feeding disorders. If your child experiences any of the following feeding and swallowing difficulties, a trained speech-language pathologist can help: poor posture when eating, taking a long time to eat, being selective with textures, colors or temperatures of foods, coughing, gagging or drooling while eating or drinking, or even refusing to eat. We can assist your child in establishing a routine for mealtimes, feeling confident about exploring new foods through play and expanding their food repertoires.
Fluency Disorders are usually interpreted as having an unusual rate, rhythm or disfluency while speaking. These disfluencies can be characterized as having repetitions, prolongations and blocks that interrupt the flow of natural speech. A person may even feel emotional and social impacts due to the challenges faced when trying to communicate. We can help with your child’s atypical disfluencies by implementing a variety of methods to reduce overall stress and discomfort while promoting effective communication and social confidence.
Your child may find it difficult to understand (receptive language) or be understood (expressive language) by others. Language plays a valuable role in a child’s development and will certainly affect their academic and adult careers if not properly treated. We will construct an individualized plan of action for your child to help them master their language skills to become effective communicators.
If your child has speech and language delays, they may also have trouble with their literacy (phonological awareness, reading and writing skills). We can support your child by equipping them with strategies to develop the following areas: reading comprehension, vocabulary expansion, phonemic awareness, and phonics. If these essential skills are targeted early on, your child will have a greater opportunity for academic success.
Social Communication Disorders
A child may have a social communication disorder (SCD) if they have difficulty using verbal and/or nonverbal communication in social situations. The following may be troublesome for those with this type of disorder: greeting others or initiating conversations, taking turns during communication exchanges, understanding when to use formal and informal language, difficulty understanding non-literal language (sarcasm, metaphors, inferences, etc) in conversation. We can promote pragmatic skills through play and group activities using social stories and scripts to equip your child with the communication skills and confidence to feel more prepared in social contexts.
If your child doesn’t seem to be meeting their speech and language milestones by a certain age, they may have a speech delay. Although every speech sound has an age of acquisition for a typically developing child, remember that every child progresses at an individual pace. Speech delays may also be the result of an oral or neurological problem or simply a lack of stimulation. Play-based techniques help to engage your child, remove the pressure to ‘speak’ on command, and facilitate learning. By using their interests, children are motivated to participate in our sessions at Spark Speech & OT.
Speech Sound Disorders
Speech Sound Disorder (SSD) is a broad term that can be broken down into two categories: functional (unknown cause) & organic (known cause). Your child may have an SSD if they have errors in their speech with sounds that should be mastered by a certain age.
Articulation disorders (motor): difficulty making sounds due to trouble coordinating one’s lips, tongue, teeth palate and lungs for proper production (e.g. wabbit for rabbit, og for dog, sta for star, etc.).
Phonological disorders (linguistic): able to produce each sound correctly but have difficulty with patterns of speech (e.g. frequently substituting one sound in the place of another such as tat for cat, tar for car, ting for king, etc. but still able to say target sounds when prompted).
Motor/neurological disorders: muscle coordination or strength is impacted (e.g. childhood apraxia of speech and dysarthria ),
Structural abnormalities: abnormalities in facial and oral structures (e.g. cleft lip/palate)
Sensory/perceptual disorders: speech may be at greater or lesser risk depending on the severity (e.g. hearing impairment).
At Spark Speech & OT we will identify and treat specific sounds that your child has difficulty with and also provide carryover activities to practice in the home.