Speech Therapy Treatments
Motor Speech Disorder / Apraxia
By the age of two, your child should be approximately 50% understood by strangers. This increases to around 75% by three, and so on. If you or most people have difficulty understanding your child, it may be a good idea to see a Speech-Language Pathologist regarding their pronunciation.
With interventions beginning so early in a child's life, there has been an increase in the number of children identified as having Apraxia of Speech. Apraxia is a severe motor speech disorder characterized by difficulty coordinating the complex motor movements required for speech. Symptoms include:
- limited babbling / cooing in infancy
- late to speak, words frequently are missing sounds
- limited number of consonant and vowel sounds
- problems combining sounds; may show long pauses between sounds
- simplifies words by replacing difficult sounds with easier ones or by deleting difficult sounds
- may have problems eating or with coordinating other motor movements (e.g. climbing stairs)
Just because your child is later to speak than his/her peers does not mean s/he has Apraxia of Speech! True AOS is a rare disorder and many symptoms of Apraxia are present in other speech/language difficulties.
Marnie will determine the nature of your child's speech difficulties and, if appropriate, teach you specific strategies to remediate the sound patterns they are having difficulty with. These activities often fit into your daily life to make it easy for you to practice every day. Online follow-ups and group therapy may be appropriate for this type of disorder.
Children who are "late talkers" are usually between 18-30 months of age with good comprehension of spoken language, and age-appropriate play, motor, cognitive, and social skills, but limited or no spoken words, compared with his or her peers. So really, the only concern is that the toddler is not talking very much.
Marnie will complete a thorough assessment of all areas of communication and determine if your child is a "late talker" or has more significant speech and language difficulties. Group therapy is often appropriate for late talkers.
Autism Spectrum Disorders / Social Communication Difficulties
Autism Spectrum Disorder, or ASD, is a neurological disorder resulting in difficulties with:
- social skills
- activities & interests
The three most common disorder types in ASD include:
- Autistic Disorder (also called autism, classic autism and AD)
- PDD-NOS (Pervasive Developmental Disorder - Not Otherwise Specified)
- Asperger's Disorder (also called AS, Asperger's Syndrome and Asperger Syndrome)
Parents are more aware and concerned than ever that their child has ASD. As with Apraxia of Speech, just because your child is later to speak than his/her peers does not mean s/he has Autism.
You may be concerned that your child has ASD, but s/he has not received a diagnosis. It is never too early to start treating social skill delays and concerns, so there is no need to wait to start communication therapies until a diagnosis has been made. Other disorders, such as Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and a variety of genetic syndromes can affect a child's social skills. Marnie is comfortable working with children with a variety of social skills delays.
Many people are surprised to hear that Speech-Language Pathologists work with children and adults with Autism. Since Autism is primarily a communication disorder, SLPs are often the first to identify its symptoms. Social communication skills are subtle and nuanced and we are specifically trained to treat not only the speech and language deficits, but also the social communication symptoms of ASD.
Marnie has worked extensively with children on the Autism Spectrum, from identifying the symptoms of the disorder, to treating the communication and social difficulties that are common in ASD. She was part of a diagnostic clinic for Autism and other developmental disorders.
As with all speech-language concerns, a thorough assessment will determine your child's strengths and areas for development. A comprehensive treatment plan will be made, often in consultation with other professionals. Marnie may recommend referrals to other healthcare professionals, such as Psychologists, Occupational Therapists, Developmental Paediatricians, and Behavioural Consultants. Group treatment is often a part of a comprehensive treatment plan.
Expressive / Receptive Language Delays
These types of language learning difficulties affect how well a child can express themselves and understand language. Standardized testing (if possible) will be used to determine the nature of your child's language skills.
Children with language delays are at risk for later speech difficulties, learning difficulties and often have trouble learning to read. Early detection and early intervention is the key in ensuring children reach their full potential.
Marnie has worked with children with language learning difficulties in a variety of settings and with a variety of needs. Group treatment is often recommended for children with Expressive and Receptive Language Delays.
Many young children go through a phase of what is called "normal dysfluency" in that they tend to repeat certain syllables, words, or phrases during a time of rapid language development. However, some children don't outgrow this phase and need therapy to address their stuttering. The good news is that there are scientifically proven ways to help preschool and school-aged children who stutter. One of these is called the Lidcombe Programme, and Marnie has extensive experience using this method. The Stuttering Foundation has many great resources for parents concerned about their child's stuttering.