When children have difficulty pronouncing words accurately there may be a deficit in the area of articulation. In general, 2 year olds do not exhibit precise articulation, however, their words should be clear enough so that parents can understand most of what they say. As children approach 3 years of age articulation should become more precise. However, if you feel your child’s speech is difficult to understand articulation/oral motor therapy can help. Children often become quite frustrated when they are not being understood which can lead to negative behaviors, outbursts, and tantrums.
Articulation/oral motor therapy targets the oral structures (lips, teeth, tongue, jaw) necessary for speech production. This can be done in a variety of fun and creative ways with successful results.
There are three areas of language a speech-language pathologist targets: receptive, expressive, and pragmatic language.
Receptive language refers to how much language your child understands. Following directions, pointing to objects in the environment, pointing to body parts are just a few areas involved in receptive language.
Expressive language is the actual verbalizations your child produces. First words typically emerge around 12 months old and may include: dada, mama, baba, bye-bye. Expressive language should increase at a steady rate once first words are produced. These productions, most likely, will not be very articulate, but should be close enough to the target word (e.g. “buh”/bus). Prior to the emergence of first words your child should demonstrate a form of gestural communication, such as pointing to request, waving bye-bye, reaching up with arms to be picked up.
Pragmatic language refers to the social use of language. Children use language for a variety of functions including: to request (get something they want), to gain attention, to ask questions, to label objects in their environment. Pragmatic language is an important part of your child’s development and ability to effectively engage with same-age peers.
If you have any concerns regarding any or all of the above areas speech therapy can help!
KathyAnn has worked with many children on the Autism Spectrum who exhibit feeding difficulties which may be sensory in nature or behavioral, or both. Often these children are considered to be “picky eaters”. KathyAnn can help your child accept a wider variety of foods and textures through therapeutic feeding activities.
Parent/caregiver involvement is an integral part of therapy. When parents implement therapy strategies into their child’s daily routines the chances of carryover and generalization of learned skills increases significantly.
KathyAnn involves parents in each treatment session and teaches parents how to implement target goals during routine activities. Depending on your child’s age and skill being targeted homework may be assigned to facilitate generalization of skills beyond the therapy session. Homework is fun and interactive and will not be overwhelming.