These questions are not intended to completely cover all areas of speech language communication disorders. It is our intent to give parents basic answers to some frequently asked questions.
What is speech and language therapy?
Speech and language therapy is the treatment of deficiencies in a child's ability to communicate. The need for therapy is determined by carefully observing, measuring and evaluating the child’s current development level.
How do I tell if my child's speech or language is delayed?
Speech and language skills are different. Language is the use of words and sentences to communicate ideas. Speech is the use of the sounds that make up the words and sentences.
To roughly evaluate your child's speech and language, compare their development with that of other children the same age. Some typical milestones of speech and language development are:
-By age one, a child should be able to understand a variety of words and should be using a few single words
-At two, a child should be using two and three word combinations, phrases and even sentences at this age a child should be using new words every month.
-Between two and three, a child has a word for almost everything, using two and three word phrases to talk about and ask for things. A child’s speech at this age is understood by familiar listeners most of the time. A child will often ask for, or direct attention to, objects by naming them.
-It is generally expected that by age four, a child will have an understandable command of speech and language. Children are talking about activities at school or at friend’s homes. They are understood by all. A child uses sentences that have four or more words.
-By age five to seven, the child should be using all speech sounds correctly. Children tell stories that stay on topic. They use adult like grammar.
It's important to remember that children develop at different rates. If you think your child might need additional speech and language help, check with a licensed Speech Language Pathologist in your child's area.
What is the difference between a Speech and Language Pathologist, speech clinician, speech teacher, speech therapist and speech aide?
A Speech Language Pathologist is a state and nationally licensed clinician with a minimum educational requirement of a Masters degree in Speech and Hearing Science and one year of post graduate fellowship. The other titles do not require any specific education or clinical training.
When looking for a qualified Speech Language Pathologist you should ask the following questions:
-Do you hold a masters or PH.D degree?
-Are you licensed by the State Board of Medical Quality Assurance?
-Do you hold a Certificate of Clinical Competence?
-How many years experience do you have in the field?
-What has been your experience working with your child’s specific disorder/diagnosis?
Where can I find out more about my child’s speech and/or hearing disorder(s)?
The American Speech and Hearing Association (ASHA) is resource for information. Through their Web site, ASHA can help you find a certified therapist in your area, provide you with news on the latest research and links to other support organizations.