At Susan L. Pike & Associates, we help you find out if your child needs help by completing a diagnostic evaluation. Then, if the answer is yes, we will work with you to determine the best course of therapy.
While difficulty acquiring language can be caused by specific developmental disorders or impairments, as many as half of all “late talkers” have persisting language weaknesses that may play a role in later academic performance. Other cases of language delay and/or disorders include children with genetic syndromes, pervasive developmental delay, neurological impairments, hearing loss, or specific language impairment. When a child’s language development seems to lag, parents need to know what steps to take to foster their child’s language growth.
A child may be bright and have lots of ideas to communicate, but if others can’t understand his speech, he can become frustrated and angry. An older child whose mispronunciation was once considered cute can become painfully self-conscious about her speech once she reaches the upper elementary grades. Articulation disorders range from simple developmental cases to more involved disorders such as dysarthria and developmental apraxia which involve underlying oral-motor issues.
Language development and learning to read and write are closely intertwined. A child who has trouble understanding others or expressing himself will have difficulty in the academic world of school. Possible challenges include central auditory processing disorders; phonological processing and early reading skills; comprehension and/or production of spoken and written language.
An incorrect swallow pattern and/or tongue-jaw resting position can be an underlying cause of articulation difficulties and can also interfere with orthodontic treatment. Training of new muscular patterns used in swallowing and maintaining the correct resting position of the jaw and tongue can be an integral part of orthodontic treatment, as well as a necessary step in the correction of a speech disorder.
Sometimes a parent wants a second opinion, a quick screening, a review and discussion of an evaluation, or an observation of their child’s functioning in a classroom. Our consultation services also include:
We collaborate with early childhood educators to create language-rich environments from which all children can benefit. We can provide:
Myofunctional therapy consists of a series of very specific exercises designed to retrain and normalize the position and movements of the tongue, lips and jaw during the act of swallowing and while at rest. The course of treatment is typically completed in 15 to 20 office visits of approximately one half-hour each, and requires commitment to a few brief practice sessions on a daily basis.
During a normal swallow the tip of the tongue is placed on the alveolar ridge (gum ridge behind the upper teeth), the jaw closes with occlusion of the rear molars, and the tongue moves up in a wave-like motion to propel food back and downward. The most common swallowing disorder is a tongue thrust. In an anterior tongue thrust the tip of the tongue typically presses on or between the upper and/or lower front teeth. In a lateral tongue thrust the tongue presses out the sides, often creating open spaces in the pre-molar area. These types of movements can cause and/or contribute to a disturbance in the relationship of the teeth, referred to as a malocclusion. In addition, the resting position of the tongue and jaw may also be contributing factors.
Myofunctional therapy can provide:
Speakers of English as a second language typically have pronunciation patterns that contain features of their native language. Sometimes this accent pattern is so strong that it can interfere with effective communication. English spoken with a heavy accent can:
Accents have rule-based, predictable features, based on the speaker’s language of origin. These consist of particular sounds (phonemes), stress patterns and intonation contours that, once identified, can be replaced with the features of standard American English. With practice, these new features can replace old habits of pronunciation. You CAN change your accent!
Young children typically repeat words and phrases during the years of language acquisition. These are normal “developmental” types of disfluency. Some have more difficulty than others and may be on a path toward true stuttering. An evaluation of speech fluency can determine whether intervention may be appropriate. Family members and caregivers are an integral part of treatment, which may be indirect (modifying the environment) and/or direct (providing the child with strategies to cope with disfluencies).