What is Speech-Language Therapy?
We offer speech-language therapy for children who have difficulties with speech, language, communication, social skills, eating, and drinking. The speech-language pathologists (SLPs) at Ally Pediatric Therapy target a variety of speech and language challenges, such as but not limited to:
- Lack of or delays in social-communication
- Limited verbal skills
- Articulation errors or error patterns
- Fluency or stuttering
- Receptive and/or expressive language
- Language processing
- Pragmatic or social language
- Feeding difficulties
Our Approach to Speech-Language Therapy
Our unique treatment approach combines the expertise of speech-language pathologists with evidence-based treatment methods based on the principles of Applied Behavior Analysis. Speech-language therapy sessions are conducted by an SLP or speech-language pathology assistant (SLPA) based on an integrated plan of care developed by the licensed SLP. A speech-language plan of care is based on a comprehensive evaluation conducted at the onset of therapy to determine diagnosis and treatment and is signed by the child’s physician, and shared with parents. Comprehensive evaluations are conducted annually. Therapy sessions may include remediation of speech, language, feeding and/or social skill deficits.
Listed below are a few examples of speech-language therapy goals and activities:
Language: For an early learner, the therapist may interact with the child in a play activity using toys to facilitate expressive language. The child may reach for a car, the therapist says “car” and the therapist provides access to the car after the child imitates the word. To work on receptive language, the therapist might say, “give me car” and prompt the child to give the car. For a more advanced learner, the therapist may use an iPad social skills application to build higher-level language skills such as interpreting and responding appropriately to social situations.
Speech: The therapist uses play to facilitate production of sounds, words and sentences. The therapist may model the sound “b” and use ABA principles to effectively shape that sound. Eventually, the child may say “b” to request ball and then eventually the word “ball.” With a child who demonstrates disfluency, also known as stuttering, the therapist might start with teaching the child to produce fluent speech with short phrases, then sentences, then short stories and eventually move to conversation.
Feeding: The therapist may use sensory motor techniques to prepare the mouth for eating and drinking. For a child who does not chew food sufficiently before swallowing, the therapist would follow a chewing hierarchy protocol to systematically teach safer and more effective chewing. Another example may involve systematically increasing the quantity, quality and/or variety of foods in the child’s diet to improve nutrition.
Your child may be a candidate for speech, language and/or feeding therapy if he/she exhibits any of the following:
- Has no speech at all (non-verbal)
- Says some sounds but cannot form words
- Forms some words but can’t put together phrases or full sentences
- Speaks in full sentences, but sometimes/always uses phrases from movies, songs or video games
- Does not communicate wants or needs
- Cannot produce certain sounds correctly
- Leaves sounds off of words
- Repeats questions you ask instead of answer them
- Gets frustrated when not understood
- Is in an ABA or school-based autism program and is not making adequate progress in speech skills
- Is in an ABA or school-based autism program and does not have an adequate communication system to get basic needs met, despite the ability to learn new words (i.e., is learning words but not learning to consistently use them to request desired items or activities)
- Uses words to communicate consistently, but when tries to put words together, they are not clear
- Speaks too quietly or loudly
- Difficulty with mealtimes and/or a “picky eater”