Parent Information for Communication Disorders {Free Resource Guide}

There are many times when parents ask me about communication disorders. They want to know if their child’s speech-language skills are where they should be developmentally. Recently, a friend of mind told me that her daughter received a speech language screening at her preschool. The results indicated that she needed further evaluation. I was concerned when she shared with me that the therapist expressed concern that a 3 year old was not pronouncing sounds such as /l/ and /r/. I immediately saw red flags because it is developmentally appropriate that not all kids will correctly pronounce these sounds at age 3. In fact, there are research based age ranges of typical speech sound development. Yes, some children may correctly pronounce sounds earlier and that’s great. However, the following are developmentally acceptable ages of sound acquisition.

Age 3- w, b, p, h, m, n

Age 4-  k, g, t, d, y, f

Age 5- all 3 & 4 year old sounds

Age 7- l

Age 8- j, ch, sh, r, th, s, z, v

Please note that different school districts also implement different eligibility criteria for providing speech therapy for speech sounds in error. If you have questions about if your child needs an evaluation, I suggest that you consult directly with a licensed speech-language pathologist in your area.

I also often get questions about what language skills are expected of children at certain ages. You can access more information about my recommendations from a previous blog post about developmental milestones. Click here.

 

I created a few complimentary parent handouts that explain the difference between speech sound disorders and language disorders. In this resource you will also receive helpful hints for improving receptive and expressive language disorders. These tips are geared towards children in kindergarten-5th grade. This packet also has a list of interactive websites that kids can use to practice improving their language skills.

I strongly encourage parents to give their children opportunities to practice their communication and language skills at home. I may add to this resource in the future so make sure that you subscribe to my blog by entering your email address in the right hand column of this page. You can access this FREE digital download in my TPT curriculum store.

Have a great week! I hope you have an excellent Thanksgiving holiday with family and friends this Thursday!

Tamara Anderson
Building Successful Lives

 

Speech-Language Success Stories # 5

It is important to remember to be patient and optimistic when providing pediatric speech-language therapy services. Often times, children will not immediately learn speech language strategies. It takes repetitive verbal modeling, visual cues, and tactile cues for kids to acquire new skills.

Many children with intellectual impairments struggle with learning how to correctly pronounce various consonant sounds. When they are speaking with their parents, teachers, SLPs, and peers their speech is not readily understood. It is our responsibility as SLPs to help improve the speech intelligibility of these kids.
I had a success story with teaching a child the correct tongue placement to pronounce her /l/ sound. This child struggled with elevating her tongue to accurately articulate this sound. Her speech was not easily understood when the context of conversation was not known.
She was successful with auditory discrimination exercises to identify her target /l/ sound vs. other sounds. However, she initially consistently pronounced a /y/ for /l/ in words and sentences. So, I pulled out my hand held mirror and bag of tricks to get her to lift her tongue up. We practiced putting different food/candy items (e.g. smarties, cheerios) on the tip of her tongue. She demonstrated a lot of groping behaviors and eventually the food items would melt in her mouth or she would chew them. Now I know it is usually best to pair with the actual sound production, but I was having difficulty getting this child to attempt any articulation drills. So I decided to try using food.
I also had her try to imitate lifting her tongue while saying the /l/ sound in isolation. She still said y/l or distorted the /l/ sound. I modeled for her how to practice the sound at the syllable level with vowels, but of course she was at 0 % with that because she did not have the correct tongue placement.
I read aloud fiction text and emphasized the target /l/ sound. She really benefited from hearing multiple productions of the sound in a natural way during oral reading of a story. She loved the story, The Three Snow Bears, by Jan Brett. I must have said the words Polar Bear and Alooki, a character’s name, a million times!
Guess what! I stopped during my read aloud a few times and used a tactile prompt and verbal modeling with this child and she accurately said Polar with the CORRECT /l/ sound! I cheered for her loudly!!! I had her repeat the word several times as I touched her chin with my index finger and pushed down. This immediately prompted her to lift her tongue up!
Auditory bombardment of target sounds is definitely an essential tool in articulation therapy. A tactile prompt was also key for this child to learn how to correctly elevate her tongue to say her /l/ sound.
This little girl also struggled with motivation to practice her speech sounds. She recognized how difficulty it was for her so I always had to pair her speech drill work with a high preference activity.
One day, I decided to follow her lead and told her that she would receive free time to play a computer learning game. She eagerly completed all her speech articulation drill work with me. She accurately imitated the /l/ sound in isolation and syllable levels when provided with verbal and tactile prompts!  I was so excited once again and another student in her group even told her great job! She was soooooo happy and had the biggest grin on her face! We were all pleased at her progress and success!
Now, I will continue to reinforce the strategies that were successful so she can produce her /l/ sound correctly in words. She is definitely more stimuable for pronouncing these sounds in words now!
Hooray!!!!!!! Thanks for visiting the blog today.
Tamara

Speech-Language Success Stories # 4

Thank you so much Tamara for letting me guest blog  today!  My name is Aersta Acerson and I
have been given the wonderful opportunity of sharing a speech success story  with you today.  First, let me say Happy  Blogiversary to Building Successful Lives!  I love all the fun things happening here in this extended celebration!
Now a little about myself.  I have been working as an SLP (obviously!)  for 3 years now, and I LOVE IT!  I have  worked in both the schools and in private practice and I have loved both  settings.  I also enjoy creating  materials for speech therapy, and I own the TPT store Speaking Freely, SLP.  I am also a mom to two beautiful  little girls who are my heart and soul!
Now on to my success story.  It was during my CF year and I had a language group made up of 5th and
6th graders.  That year we focused heavily on learning curriculum vocabulary and understanding figurative  language, specifically idioms.  Lots and LOTS of idioms.  It was a Friday afternoon at the end of the month, and my group had earned a game day, so my  students chose to play Don’t Wake Daddy.
We had recently talked about the meaning of the idiom “You dodged  that bullet.”  One of my students
took his turn and rolled a six.  The  Daddy hadn’t “woken” in awhile, so we all assumed the student was going  to get it!  When he didn’t wake Daddy,  another one of my students said, “Wow, you missed that bullet!”  SUCCESS!!!   Now, he didn’t get the idiom exactly correct, but we had been working on
understanding idioms more than using them, and he had spontaneously  used the idiom in correct context.  I was  ecstatic!  It’s that kind of moment that  makes it all worth it, don’t you think?
🙂  Have a blessed day!
Aersta Acerson, CCC-SLP
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Speech-Language Success Stories- # 3

Welcome Carly Fowler!

Today, I will share successful tips for providing speech-language services for adolescents.

Why Following a Child’s Lead Isn’t Just for Early Intervention

Hi I am Carly Fowler, a Speech Language Pathologist in  Nebraska. A big thanks to Tamara for letting me join in her blog celebration!  Now a little about myself: I live in Omaha, Nebraska with my husband and two  cats. I have been a SLP for three years and I love what I do. I especially  enjoy creating materials for my students.  I work with students elementary up through  high school. It is quite an unusual caseload as I stay at just one school, but  it also means I have to stay on schedule, plan ahead and know what I am up
against.
Today, I want to share my tips when working with  teenagers. It is not an easy population, nor do I claim to have all the  answers. But I want to share with you what works for me.  Many times working with elementary students  they are thrilled to see you and are willing to work for a token or a sticker. It
is not that easy with high school students, trust me sometimes I feel like I am  pulling teeth in order to get any kind of data.
When working with my teens, I follow their lead. This is  probably making you think of early intervention kiddos but I recommend it with  any age. I find that following my high school students’ lead will allow me to gain  more effort from them.  Teens are searching  for more control of their lives. Many times their days are dictated for them; they  are told when to go to school, what they need to do and they are not often
given the freedom to choose. By allowing your teens to run the session they  will give you more respect because you are treating them more like an adult.
When following the lead of a teen it is important to listen  to them. Often times, my students want to chat about life or sports. Let them! You  can target a lot of goals by doing this, plus it is functional. I am often able  to target grammar, sentence formation, pragmatics and articulation when talking about sports.
Another thing a student may lead you to is school work.  I see many students during their study hall
and I encourage them to bring their homework. I also ask how classes are going  which may reveal their struggle with homework. School work and homework are  functional activities and a great therapy target. I know many of you may say “I  am not good at science” or “Math is like a foreign language”.  I encourage you to step outside of your  comfort zones and encourage students to bring homework or materials from
classes they need help with. It is okay to learn with your student- in fact I  encourage it! By helping them with homework it shows you are a valuable resource and they will begin to see your time as more valuable.
Another way to follow your high school student’s lead is by  allowing them to play with some of your toys in your speech room. You may be  thinking that they would never be caught dead playing with toys but you are  wrong. They often need a fiddle such as a ball to concentrate or playdoh as  sensory stimulation. As long as it doesn’t become a distraction is a perfect outlet to the energy they may have.
These are tips that I have found successful when working with teens during their speech-language therapy sessions. Thanks for reading the blog today!
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