pediatric speech therapy
Although many parents are concerned when their child’s communication indicates a possible speech-language delay or disorder, the reality is speech therapy is one of the most common services available for young kids.
Sometimes, speech therapy helps resolve problems with articulation (how words are said). Other times, it helps with more complex neurological social-communication conditions like autism spectrum disorder. Lots of kids may also struggle with feeding/swallowing and voice issues.
With early intervention, many of these kids go on to thrive – and you would never know they had a deficit at all!
Contact us online or by calling (239) 313-5049. FOCUS offers pediatric therapy in Fort Myers and throughout Southwest Florida.
Be Tech Wise With a Toddler, American Speech-Language Hearing Association
If you’re wondering whether your child might need pediatric speech therapy (speech therapy provided to kids), it’s best not to “wait-and-see.” That’s because problems compound, bad habits become more ingrained, and neural pathways critical to learning become more inflexible.
Another thing to bear in mind is the proven success of early intervention. As noted by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA), early intervention is the process of providing support to infants, toddlers, and young children who have or are at risk for a developmental delay, disability, or health condition that might impact typical development and learning. The earlier services are delivered, the more likely the child is going to develop effective communication, language, and swallowing skills.
Areas of Development Pediatric Speech Therapy Targets
Pediatric speech therapy will target five areas of development, including:
- Communication development.
- Cognitive development.
- Physical development, including vision and hearing.
- Social-emotional development.
- Adaptive development.
FOCUS Therapy is highly effective in treating a wide range of delays, disabilities, injuries and challenges – in large part because we’re working on site at our two Fort Myers clinics with inter-disciplinary teams that include not only speech therapists, but occupational therapists, ABA therapists (who target behavior), and physical therapists.
For more information on whether your child may not be reaching important speech-language development milestones, ASHA is a great resource! So is your pediatrician, who can issue a referral for your child to be assessed by a trained speech-language pathologist with a full evaluation, which can shed light on challenges as well as treatment solutions.
FOCUS offers pediatric speech therapy at two clinics in Fort Myers, with virtual speech therapy and occupational therapy offered to kids throughout the state of Florida. Call (239) 313.5049 or Contact Us online.
More Blog Entries:
Fort Myers Speech Therapist Tips on Reducing Kids’ Screen Time, Nov. 5, 2021, Ft. Myers Speech Therapy Blog
Does your child say “brudder” for “brother”? “Dat” for “that”? “Fing” for “thing”? As our Fort Myers pediatric speech therapists can explain, the ‘th’ sound is one that develops later for a lot of kids. Some master it sooner, often when they start school and are constantly interacting with older kids. Others continue making this error. Most child development experts agree this is a sound that should usually be developed by age 7 or 8, though it’s certainly something you can begin working on earlier.
Of course, all children develop at their own pace, and a singular issue doesn’t necessarily mean your child is going to need speech therapy, particularly if your child is younger than 7 and your only concern is the “th” sound. Still, most kids develop their speech sounds in the same general order, beginning in the first year of life. (The American Speech-Language Hearing Association has a development chart you can use for reference.) The key is if you notice a delay, you don’t want to wait too long in addressing it.
An assessment from a licensed child speech therapist can help you determine if it’s something your child will likely grow out of or whether they need some additional help. Waitlists for child speech-language therapy services in Southwest Florida can be lengthy, so it’s best to inquire sooner than later if you have a question.
Speech impairment is a common challenge for children with Down syndrome. This is one of the many issues our Fort Myers speech therapists address for our Down syndrome patients at FOCUS Therapy. We encourage any parent whose child has been recently diagnosed to contact our office to set up an evaluation for speech therapy, occupational therapy, physical therapy and possibly ABA therapy. The earlier we are able to intervene, the better the long-term progress and prognosis.
Speech is the ability one has to vocally communicate by articulating sounds and using language.
To understand why children with Down syndrome struggle in this regard – and how we can help treat it – we first need to break down some of the observable symptom clusters affecting multiple body systems that are common among children with this diagnosis.
In our many years of collective experience as speech-language pathologists, our FOCUS team has amassed lots tools to help us address children’s speech and language problems. We have loads of interactive games, cool crafts, brightly-colored books, fun toys and the technology that made us one of the first providers of online speech therapy for kids in Fort Myers (even prior to the pandemic). We also glean a lot of insight working with other professionals in a multi-disciplinary clinic.
But the most powerful tool we have? Parents!
Parent involvement in a child’s speech therapy is so, so important. Those who are committed to our process and make efforts to use our strategies at home are going to see their children make more significant, faster strides. That’s our personal experience, but there’s a lot of research to back us up on this.
We get it, though: Easier said than done. Parents these days are pulled in a thousand directions at once. This is only compounded if your child has been diagnosed with a developmental delay or disorder. There are appointments for doctors, specialists, therapies and school programs – on top of the everyday demands of work and other commitments.
It can be very tempting to simply rely on your speech therapy team to”fix” the speech problems. It’s true that we do (as we sometimes joke) “have ways of making you talk.” We bring to the table proven clinical strategies to help improve your child’s communication skills. But at the end of the day, parents are the rock star reinforcements.
Sometimes children with speech and language delays need a bit of additional help learning about social situations and appropriate responses. Our speech therapists in Fort Myers know one tool that has proven extremely useful is “Social Stories.”
A social story is basically what it sounds like: It’s a short, simple story intended to teach children what to expect in certain social settings. These short books, which include pictures of the child and familiar settings, don’t have to be fancy. They can incorporate photos you shoot on your smartphone and print out on your computer. A therapist can craft or help you create a social story for help with certain scenarios in which your child seems to be struggling. When the story is read repeatedly to the child, combined with images of themselves and the difficult scenario they are confronting, it can be powerful. Social stories can also help those with language delays and deficits to understand certain nuances of interpersonal communication – giving them tools to interact in a manner that is both appropriate and effective.
Social stories were first developed in the early 1990s by Carol Gray, a Michigan school teacher whose four children were diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. She explained it helps children understand what can be difficult for those with language delays or deficits to comprehend.