Why is my child’s speech so hard to understand?

 

Developing intelligible speech is not so easy. It means that your child has to correctly produce enough sounds to be understood. So what could be causing your child’s difficulty in producing intelligible speech?

There can be several causes. It may be because he hasn’t learned the correct placement or manner of production for certain sounds. It could be because he is only able to inconsistently produce the sounds he has mastered. It is also possible that your child’s speech is difficult to understand because of structural problems or oral weakness.

The role of a speech pathologist is to evaluate why your child’s speech is difficult to understand.  Finding the underlying cause/s for your child’s reduced speech intelligibility is essential to correctly treating the condition.  Understanding the cause should aid in the rate of progress toward improved articulation.

If your child is over the age of 3 and their speech remains difficult to understand by you or others, consider consulting with a speech pathologist.

Smart Phone Accessibility

Are you using your iPhone or Android to its fullest potential? You might not be taking advantage of the free opportunities to personalize your smart phone or iPad.  Not only can these devices connect to hearing aids, but you can change the text size and visual quality, increase contrast, use only grayscale, or use “voice over”, so that an incoming text is read to the recipient. These accessibility applications can be helpful for both children and adults who have learning disabilities, are deaf or hard of hearing, have reduced visual attention, or are visually impaired.  For more information, check out the following websites or talk to your therapist about ways to customize your device.

Androids:
https://www.androidpit.com/android-accessibility-settings

iPhone/iPad:
http://www.apple.com/accessibility/ios/#learning

Tune In, Take Turns, Talk More: Lessons for all Parents

Did you know that children in low income communities hear 30 million words less than their high income peers by their 4th birthday? Children who hear more words have larger vocabularies, are better readers, and are more prepared for school. This gap is only attributed to parent’s knowledge. Dr. Suskind, Professor of Surgery at the University of Chicago and Director of the Pediatric Cochlear Implant program, sought to develop a method to help parents harness the power of language to build their child’s brain to impact their future. The 30 Million Words Project was developed in response to this achievement gap. It focuses on a curriculum that includes direct parent training in the home, use of social media, helping parents create a language rich environment, and setting goals; the initial results are very positive.

The great news is that her best practices apply to any child’s development. Her method focuses on a the “Tune In, Take Turns, Talk More” tool kit.

To learn more about enriching your child’s vocabulary check out this site: http://thirtymillionwords.org/tmw-initiative/

Personalized Vocal Quality on Alternative Augmentative Communication (AAC) Devices

Vocal quality is part of the way we project who we are to the world; it offers information about age, gender, and emotional state. Each voice is as unique as a fingerprints. Yet, millions of people who communicate through alternative augmentative communication devices only have a few computerized voice options. However, speech scientist Dr. Rupal Patel has developed technology which revolutionizes the vocal quality of those who use AAC. She and her team at the Communication Analysis and Design Lab know that people with severe speech impairment still have distinct pitch, tone and volume when they laugh, cry, or vocalize intent. They are able to use this information, match specific characteristics to a voice donor, blend the two together and develop a personalized voice. This technology offers a new way for people using AAC devices to assert their personality as they communicate with friends, peers, coworkers, teachers, and loved ones.  For more information about the technology or to become a voice donor, please listen to the TED Talk: https://www.ted.com/talks/rupal_patel_synthetic_voices_as_unique_as_fingerprints?language=en or visit the website: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/vocalid-custom-crafted-voices#/

What Does a Speech Pathologist do?

As speech and language pathologists it is our job to evaluate your child to determine the need for therapy. But how do you know when your child should be evaluated?

Dr. Ann Kummer , speech and language pathologist and child psychologist, Dr. Leslie Rescorla conducted a study to assess children who were considered “late talkers”.  Late talkers were children between the ages of 24-31 months.  These children were followed until 17 years of age.  Results revealed that most children “caught up” by the age of 5 years. However, in comparing these children to a comparison group, the majority of late talkers continued to have significant weakness in language skills.
It is recommended that parents monitor their child’s language skills from birth.  Your infant should be vocalizing at 2 months, babbling (e.g. baba, dada) at 8-9 months, jargoning at 9-12 months and producing several first words between 1 year and 15 months. At 2 years of age, your child should be combining 2-3 words to produce short utterances. As speech and language pathologists, it is our role to evaluate your child’s speech and language skills when the expected skills are either not developing, developing slowly or appear atypical in development.
If your child is in treatment, research shows that families who participate in treatment and are able to practice what their child is learning, show the greatest success.  It’s never too late for intervention.  However, we do know that the earlier we provide intervention the easier it is for the child to learn language.

If you have questions about your child’s speech and language development, please feel free to email us at office@weespeech.com.

How to Score big this summer: World Cup Speech and Language Ideas!

Lip Rounding and Strength: Have a table top soccer game! Use a straw to blow a ping pong ball across a small table into your opponent’s goal (made from any small box in your recycling bin).

Language Processing (older clients): Describe the rules of soccer. Discuss game plays using an IF/THEN formant to determine possible outcomes. Don’t know the rules??? Look online and have your child retell the rules.

Articulation: Choose some frequently occurring soccer words that include sounds your child is currently targeting to include in your soccer match. Use sandbox buckets or other easily accessible markers to create a goal. Then let the shoot off begin! The parent is the goalie with the child earning a kick for each correct speech production.

Vocabulary: Define and use a specific soccer related vocabulary during your playful interactions. Examples include goal, pass, dribble, shoot, kick, score, field, penalty, throw, catch, advantage, assist, chest trap, etc. Then practice your new vocabulary while watching a playoff game! For more ideas visit http://www.firstbasesports.com/soccer_glossary.html

Requesting: Hold a ball and have your child request it using speech approximations, AAC, or signs. Upon request give access to the ball and let them have a kick. If motor control is impacted, provide a ramp (toy slide, table on its side, etc) and let your child role the ball into the goal.

Compare and Contast: What’s the difference between a soccer ball and a baseball? How about a basket ball and a football? Look at pictures or provide objects to support expanded descriptions.

Lingual Elevation: Using Kix cereal or any sphere cereal of your choice, place 1 BALL behind your child’s upper teeth and have him/her hold it in place. Don’t drop the ball! After 10 seconds instruct your child to swallow the ball into the goal.

Multiple Meanings: Dribble the ball or the milk dribbled? Have a match or light a match?

 

 

How to Score big this summer: World Cup Speech and Language Ideas!

Lip Rounding and Strength: Have a table top soccer game! Use a straw to blow a ping pong ball across a small table into your opponent’s goal (made from any small box in your recycling bin).

Language Processing (older clients): Describe the rules of soccer. Discuss game plays using an IF/THEN formant to determine possible outcomes. Don’t know the rules??? Look online and have your child retell the rules.

Articulation: Choose some frequently occurring soccer words that include sounds your child is currently targeting to include in your soccer match. Use sandbox buckets or other easily accessible markers to create a goal. Then let the shoot off begin! The parent is the goalie with the child earning a kick for each correct speech production.

Vocabulary: Define and use a specific soccer related vocabulary during your playful interactions. Examples include goal, pass, dribble, shoot, kick, score, field, penalty, throw, catch, advantage, assist, chest trap, etc. Then practice your new vocabulary while watching a playoff game! For more ideas visit http://www.firstbasesports.com/soccer_glossary.html

Requesting: Hold a ball and have your child request it using speech approximations, AAC, or signs. Upon request give access to the ball and let them have a kick. If motor control is impacted, provide a ramp (toy slide, table on its side, etc) and let your child role the ball into the goal.

Compare and Contast: What’s the difference between a soccer ball and a baseball? How about a basket ball and a football? Look at pictures or provide objects to support expanded descriptions.

Lingual Elevation: Using Kix cereal or any sphere cereal of your choice, place 1 BALL behind your child’s upper teeth and have him/her hold it in place. Don’t drop the ball! After 10 seconds instruct your child to swallow the ball into the goal.

Multiple Meanings: Dribble the ball or the milk dribbled? Have a match or light a match?

 

 

 

February Sports!

As we gear up for two big sporting events in February, many people will be talking about the super bowl and the winter olympics.  Not everyone is interested in participating in a conversation about sports, so I’ve developed some questions to make talking about sports more interesting.

Super Bowl Questions:

  • What is the NFL?
  • What NFL team is from your state?
  • How many teams are in the NFL?
  • Where will the  NFL play offs be held in 2014?
  • When is the super bowl?
  • What two teams will be playing in the super bowl?
  • What states are the two teams from?

Winter Olympics:

  • What events are in the winter olympics?
  • In what city will the winter olympics be held?
  • In what country will the winter olympics be held?
  • How many countries will participate in the winter olympics?
  • What are the symbols of the winter olympics?
  • How long is the winter olympics?