Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Speech Testing - What to Expect

After looking at the speech sound chart, if you have concerns with your child's speech you can have your child evaluated. I frequently meet parents who are concerned but not sure if they want to pursue the evaluation. However, after talking with them I have come to the conclusion that sometimes you just want to know... and it doesn't hurt. The evaluation should be a pleasant experience for everyone involved! Your child will get to look at child friendly pictures and be the center of attention for a while. The speech therapist gets to meet your child and have fun getting to know him or her. Then, in the end, you will have a concrete number that tells you where your child's speech skills fall in relationship to children of the same age and gender.

So, what information is used when determining if a child has a speech sound disorder or delay? First a child needs to be evaluated by a qualified Speech Language Pathologist. They should do a thorough case history, evaluate the sounds and compare them to other children of the same age, determine a level of intelligibility and then establish if there is a disorder or a delay. That last part will be determined based on the information given by the researchers/test developers. They give the information - for their test - that tells if the child's speech falls below the average range, within the average range or above the average range.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

When Should My Child Say ...

I have to say that one of the first things most people ask me about is when children are supposed to start saying certain sounds. This is such a difficult thing to discuss and give one final answer. I would love to say that at age 5 your child should be able to say... and then name all of the sounds. But the research does not always agree. Some of the discrepancies are due to how the researchers collected the information. Did the children repeat the words or did they say single words spontaneously or did they measure the sounds at more challenging levels like sentences or conversation? Then, even within typical speech sound development there is some variation, we call this the average range.

If you want just an idea of what sounds a child should say and when, here is the information that I use and consider when I'm looking at a child's speech sounds. This information is based on the standardized norms from a speech test called the Goldman Fristoe Test of Articulation 2nd Edition. The following consonants and consonant clusters are produced by 85% of children by the following ages:

By age 2: b, d, h, m, n, p

By age 3: f, g, k, t, w

By age 4: kw

By age 5: j, l, s, y, sh, ch, bl, ng (at the end of words)

By age 6: r, v, br, fr, dr, gr, kr tr fl, gl, kl, pl, st

By age 7: z, voiced and unvoiced th, sp, sw sl

Ok, there you have it! If you are wondering, should my 2 year old be saying "l"? No. Should my 5 year old be able to say "k"? Yes! Now you have a place to come when you are wondering! If you have concerns about your child who is not saying some sounds that he should be saying in my next post we will talk about a speech evaluation or speech testing. Also, feel free to email me if you have questions!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

About Me...


I am so excited to be sharing my experiences as a Speech Language Pathologist with you. I have been working as an SLP for almost 10 years. I spent the first 6 years of my career in the public school system working with preschoolers through 21 year olds. I have worked with many different disabilities on varying degrees of severity. The next year and a half, I team tested two and half to five year olds to see if they qualified for special services in the schools. Here, I fell in love with interacting with parents, children and other staff to start to develop a plan on how to help the children make progress.

Then, I had a baby. My daughter has helped me to put so many of my ideas into practice. She shows me that even with the best of intentions, it doesn't always work out the way I expect it to! After two months of maternity leave I realized I couldn't go back full time, so returning to the school system was out of the question. I embarked on a new adventure in the area of contract and private speech therapy. I have worked for a few companies and have had a blast. My favorite part has been the interaction that I get working in homes with the children and their families. I get to see how practice is going and where changes need to be made.

Currently, in addition to seeing private clients, through my own company Barnett Therapy Services and another therapy company, I work a few days a week at a behavior school. This has been like entering a whole new world...and I love it! The challenges there are new, I focus more on the social side of language, which is fun and so real. (I'll talk about that more later!) I have also gotten to learn how much our behavior effects our communication... I feel like I am tiptoeing over into my husbands area of expertise! It's so nice to be able to talk with him about how different mental health issues play a part in communication issues.

My passion for speech really lies in working with parents, teachers, caregivers and others who are interacting with children who have communication needs, from simple articulation errors to complex, language and cognitive disorders. I love to teach and share, to bounce ideas off of others, to learn from parents what makes their child shine and go from there. I hope to share some things that will inspire you as you work with, play with, grow with your child.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Got Questions?

Got questions? Everyone does! I'm a mom and a Speech Therapist. I have friends with children with special needs and typically developing children. One thing we all have in common - we all have questions. We want to know: Should my child be doing this? Why aren't they doing that? What developmentally comes next? What can I do to help? What do I do if there is a problem? My goal is to provide information to families who have questions and to give you activities and ideas that make you think "hey, I can do that!" I look forward to spending time with you talking about the things that are on our minds.
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