Sunday, April 7, 2013

Speech and Language Screenings

Parents frequently have minor concerns about their child's speech and language development and come to me to find out "what's normal." When we can quickly identify that a child is delayed, it's best to just go right to a full evaluation. However, when we just need to see if there might be a problem, a screener is a quick and easy way to see if the further evaluation is necessary or if their child's skills are within the average range. This is a less expensive way to get an idea if making the big step into a full evaluation is necessary. You may be wondering a few things:

So, what is a Speech and Language Screening?
A screening is a brief assessment to determine if a child's skills fall within the expected range for his or her age when compared to same age peers. Skills in the areas of articulation (speech sounds), fluency, voice, expression and comprehension are typically addressed, some formally and some informally. Screenings are typically scored on a pass/fail system. If a child "fails" any portion of the screening, a further evaluation may be recommended.

What should I expect at my appointment?
A screening takes approximately 20 minutes. I ask that clients arrive 5-10 minutes before their appointment time to complete a short Parent Questionnaire and Consent to Screen. Then I invite you and your child into my office where we will talk about colorful pictures, play with simple toys and respond to directions.

When will I find out the results?
I provide written results of the screening within seven days. If your child's skills in any of the areas addressed are considered below average, a further evaluation may be recommended. I will discuss any areas of concern with you and discuss your options.

How do I get an appointment?
Right now, I offer screenings at my Oviedo office on Tuesday mornings. However, special arrangements can be made. You can contact me to set up an appointment. The screening costs $25 and can be paid for in cash or by check.

Sometimes parents are nervous about getting their child screened or tested because they do not want their child "labeled." Please read my post about the benefits of finding out by having your child evaluated. Feel free to ask me questions. To contact me click here.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Easter Egg Hunt for Better Language Skills


I know that it is after Easter but I had an activity prepped and ready for a client last week and he got sick. We still had a great time today! I like to keep my kids active while we are addressing speech and language skills during therapy. Plus, I like to take natural occurring activities, like Easter Egg hunts, and work on speech and language skills. The trick is to focus on a few skills and repeat them over and over!

We used our Easter Egg hunt to work on three skills - speech sounds, adjectives and prepositions.

First we addressed speech sounds. He is working on words that end with "d." We had a sheet of pictures that I cut up which he could then name and put in the eggs. You can put in pictures of any sounds that your child needs to work on. It worked out great that one of his favorite words is "hide" so we got to say our "d" words a ton of times!

Next, we worked on describing. He does great with describing using colors (red car, blue shirt) but struggles with other descriptors. So I offered him a closed egg or an open egg to pick.

Then we put the pictures "in" the egg. We said things like "put the toad in the egg." When he said "on" instead of "in" I showed him what it would look like if I put it on the egg. I said the phrase correctly and he repeated it.

In addition, we addressed the preposition "in" when we took our eggs "in the kitchen" and hid them "in" all sorts of great places while he answered the question: "where is the egg?"

When you address delayed or new speech and language skills, keep it fun and it as natural as possible!

Come back soon for more tips, tricks and ideas to work on your child's speech and language skills.

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