Understanding Speech and Language
Disorders: An Ultimate Guide for Parents

Speech and language disorders.

Odds are, you heard these terms from your family doctor after bringing up your childʼs communication troubles. Or perhaps youʼve done some research on your own and found these terms online. Whichever the case might be, one thing is clear. With dozens upon dozens of different types, speech and language disorders are tricky for all parents.

In fact, itʼs not rare to hear even a pediatrician use these terms interchangeably. But in reality, these are two distinct categories of communication problems — each with its own set of symptoms, implications, and outcomes.

By knowing about the different types of speech and language disorders, their symptoms, causes, and treatments, youʼll know exactly what you need to help your child.

This guide will cover all that and a whole lot more. Hereʼs a quick overview of everything youʼll learn today:

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Chapter 1: The Basics

Knowing these concepts will help you get the most out of this guide.

The Difference Between Speech and Language

Before we get into the specifics of all the different types of speech and language disorders, letʼs clear up the difference between speech and language first.

Speech refers to the actual sounds we produce to communicate our thoughts and ideas. This includes the way we pronounce words, stress important phrases, raise and lower our pitch, and amplify the power of our voice using our breath.

Examples of speech difficulties include mispronouncing certain words, stuttering between phrases, speaking with a lisp, and having a rough or nasal voice.

Language on the other hand, refers to our ability to communicate thoughts and ideas. This includes knowing how to say what we want to say and understanding what others are saying to us.

Examples of language difficulties include using short and grammatically inaccurate sentences, failing to follow directions, labeling objects incorrectly, and lagging in conversations.

Hereʼs an easy way to remember the difference. Language is our ability to communicate thoughts and ideas using words. Whereas speech is our ability to turn those words into sounds.

The Difference Between a Delay and a Disorder

If youʼve already talked to your childʼs pediatrician, odds are youʼve heard the term delay or disorder, or maybe both. Some medical professionals use these terms interchangeably, but strictly speaking, these terms signify different problems.

A delay is when a child doesnʼt hit developmental milestones as expected for their age. For instance, itʼs common for preschoolers to struggle with the /r/ sound and replace it with a /w/. By the time they enter kindergarten, most kids overcome that challenge. But a child with a speech delay may hold on to that mistake for a much longer time.

A disorder, on the other hand, is when a child doesnʼt follow the order of developmental milestones. Letʼs look at an example. When most toddlers start speaking, they do so one word at a time like “dada”. But children with a disorder jump straight to speaking in full but incorrect sentences.

Knowing this distinction is important as it will help you understand exactly whatʼs going on with your child. Speech delays go away on their own. Whereas speech disorders typically require expert intervention as soon as possible.

The Importance of Early Intervention

The importance of early intervention cannot be overstated. Thatʼs because unlike speech delays, there are many disorders that get worse over time if left untreated.

A common mistake many parents make is to chalk their childʼs communication troubles up to a delay. But the only way to know whether your child is a late talker or has a serious condition is to get them diagnosed by a specialized professional.

If your child does have a speech or language disorder, theyʼll get the professional help they need. But even if itʼs just a case of speech delay, the professional can help your child overcome it much faster with specialized exercises and therapy.

Chapter 2: Speech Disorder

Weʼll talk about the three main types of speech disorders first. Then weʼll look into the symptoms, causes, and other important details for four specific speech disorders.

The Three Types of Speech Disorders

Speech disorders manifest differently from child to child. But at the core, there are three main types:

  1. 1
    Articulation disorders: Errors in pronunciation. For instance, saying “wabbit” instead of “rabbit” or “gass” instead of “grass”. So if your child mispronounces a lot of words regularly, that may be a sign of an underlying articulation disorder
  2. 2
    Fluency disorders: Frequent interruptions in the flow of speaking. So if your child often stutters, clutters, or shows any other signs of having trouble expressing himself, a fluency disorder is the likely culprit.
  3. 3
    Voice disorders: Frequent inappropriate changes in voice quality, pitch, or loudness. So if your child often speaks too loudly, quietly, or with an inappropriate pitch, they may have a voice disorder.

Four Common Speech Disorders

Hereʼs a not-so-fun fact for any parent. There are nearly fifty speech disorders out there, with each having its own set of causes, symptoms, and treatment options.

Understanding all of them is best left to the professionals. As a parent, a basic understanding of the most common speech disorders is all you need.

So letʼs look at the four common speed disorders below.

1. Dysarthria

Dysarthria is a motor speech disorder in which the muscles we need to produce speech are damaged, paralyzed, or weakened to an extent they canʼt function properly

Typically, children with dysarthria lose control of their tongue, larynx, vocal cords, and other surrounding muscles. This makes it difficult for them to pronounce words correctly.

As a result, they struggle to:

  • Express themselves clearly
  • Engage in long conversations that require a lot of muscle movement
  • Take part in any activity involving speaking to a crowd, like speeches or theatre events

If that sounds like your child, donʼt get worried. A combination of speech therapy and home exercises is all a child with dysarthria needs to see significant improvement in daily performance.

As far as the causes are concerned, this condition is typically caused by a stroke, head injury, or brain disease. However, there are some rare cases where the culprit could be something else entirely.

To see if your child may have this disorder, take a look at the following list of dysarthria signs:

  • Slow speech
  • Slurred speech
  • Monotone speech
  • Uneven speech volume
  • A nasal, raspy, or strained voice
  • Uneven or abnormal speech rhythm
  • Difficulty moving tongue or facial muscles

If your child struggles with some of those symptoms on a frequent basis, you should talk to your pediatrician about a professional diagnosis.

However, if youʼve noticed these symptoms only recently, you should visit a doctor right away as the abrupt surfacing of these symptoms could be a sign of a serious condition or injury.

2. Orofacial Myofunctional Disorder

An orofacial myofunctional disorder (OMD) is another speech disorder where the lip, jaw, or tongue takes an abnormal position during rest, swallowing or speech.

Hereʼs a list of the most common signs of OMD:

  • Difficulty controlling the tongue
  • Difficulty closing the lips to swallow
  • Difficulty breathing through the nose
  • Difficulty pronouncing certain sounds, like /s/ in “sun”, /sh/ in “ship”, or /j/ in “jump”
  • Drooling, especially beyond age 2
  • An overbite, underbite, or other dental problems
  • The tongue pushing past the teeth, even when your child is not talking or using his tongue

OMD can impact a childʼs life in many ways, including:

  • Creating a mess when eating
  • Biting their own tongue or cheeks while eating or talking
  • Having a hard time running around or doing any other physically challenging activity because they canʼt control their breathing

OMD is typically caused by two factors. One, an upper airway obstruction. Two, a prolonged adverse habit like thumb or finger sucking.

Those are the two most common causes out of more than a dozen possibilities. So if your child doesnʼt have either of those problems, donʼt rule out OMD just yet and get your child evaluated by a professional.

3. Childhood Apraxia of Speech

Childhood apraxia of speech (CAS) is a motor speech disorder that makes it difficult for children to say what they want to say correctly and consistently.

Unlike most speech disorders, CAS isnʼt caused by the speech muscles. Instead, itʼs caused due to the brainʼs inability to coordinate speech movements smoothly.

Children with CAS face many difficulties in life, such as:

  • Losing track of a conversation
  • Thinking one thing and then saying another
  • Failing to realize when theyʼre talking inappropriately. For instance, talking too loud without being aware of it

Hereʼs a list of the most common signs of CAS:

  • Omitting entire syllables
  • Making inconsistent pronunciation errors
  • Finding vowels harder to pronounce than consonants
  • Stressing certain sounds excessively or even unnecessarily
  • Not babbling enough or creating variations within babbling
  • Pronouncing the same word differently across multiple attempts
  • Having trouble saying words with longer or more complex syllables

Since CAS has a wide range of causes, from a simple head injury to a complex brain infection, itʼs harder to diagnose than any other speech disorder.

So even if your child doesnʼt show many of the signs we just listed, itʼs best to get a professional diagnosis. An SLP can help confirm whether your child has CAS or a combination of other disorders.

4. Lisps

A lisp is a condition that leads to the mispronunciation of words. There are several types of lisps, and the most common one is when a child makes a /th/ sound when trying to make an /s/ sound.

Children usually develop a lisp from a habit of pushing their tongue out when making certain sounds instead of placing it behind their top teeth.

As harmless and adorable as your childʼs lisp seems, beyond a certain age, it can affect their ability to:

  • Be understood
  • Get comfortable around peers
  • Share opinions with confidence

Thatʼs why addressing a lisp is more important than many parents realize. Since there are four different lisps and each has its own signs, letʼs do a quick rundown of all four:

  1. 1
    A palatal lisp is when a child keeps his tongue in contact with the soft palate when making the /s/ or /z/ sound. The result is an /h/ sound followed by an /r/ instead of the intended /s/ or /z/.
  2. 2
    A lateral lisp is when air travels out of either side of the tongue. Children with a lateral lisp produce /s/ and /z/ sounds that sound slushy.
  3. 3
    A dentalized lisp is when your childʼs tongue makes contact with his teeth while producing the /s/
    and /z/ sounds. As a result, they end up producing a /th/ sound instead.
  4. 4
    An interdental lisp, more commonly known as a frontal lisp, is when the tongue pushes forward
    through the teeth, creating a /th/ sound instead of an /s/ or /z/ sound.

Chapter 3: Language Disorder

Weʼll talk about the two types of language disorders, along with the third type many publications forget to mention. Then weʼll do a deep dive into the symptoms, causes, and other important details for four specific language disorders.

The Three Types of Language Disorders

While there are many different language disorders, all of them fall under one of the following three types:

  • Expressive language disorder: Struggling to communicate thoughts and ideas with others. For instance, a child may point to objects instead of saying the name, call a “horse” a “cow” despite knowing what a horse is, or combine words incorrectly to the point where sentences are hard to understand.
  • Receptive language disorder: Struggling to understand the thoughts and ideas of others. For instance, a child may misunderstand words, take the wrong steps when following directions, and overall struggle with holding a conversation.
  • Mixed receptive-expressive language disorder: Just as the name suggests, this is a combination of symptoms for both expressive and receptive language disorders. An example would be someone who struggles to create understandable sentences and unintentionally does the opposite of what was asked for.

Four Common Language Disorders

There are language disorders like dyslexia that everyoneʼs heard of. Then there are language disorders like paralexia that most parents have no clue what they are.

The good news is that all language disorders arenʼt created equal. Some are more prevalent than others. So letʼs talk about the four language disorders youʼre most likely to find.

1. Aphasia

Aphasia is an impairment of language that affects a personʼs ability to read, write, and comprehend or produce speech. In other words, it robs you of the ability to communicate properly.

Itʼs one of those rare language disorders with only one known cause: brain injury.

Thatʼs why it typically occurs right after a stroke or head injury. But a lack of head impact doesnʼt rule out aphasia. Progressive diseases or a slow-growing brain tumor can also result in brain trauma, ultimately triggering the onset of aphasia.

Unfortunately, aphasia is proven to have the biggest negative impact on the quality of life than any other condition, including cancer and Alzheimerʼs disease.

What makes aphasia one of the worst disorders in the world is its impact on childrenʼs ability to engage with their family, friends, doctors, and the wider community.

But hereʼs the good news. Aphasia is a treatable condition today. Depending on the type and severity, the adverse effects of this disorder can be greatly relieved in as little as a few months sometimes.

Since there are over a dozen varieties of aphasia, letʼs look at the three most common ones:

  1. 1
    Global aphasia is the most severe type of aphasia. Patients can only produce a few recognizable words and understand little or even no spoken language.
  2. 2
    Brocaʼs aphasia is the most common type of non-fluent aphasia. Patients can only speak in short sentences, made up of fewer than four words
  3. 3
    Wernickeʼs aphasia is the most common type of fluent aphasia. Patients can speak clearly but have difficulty comprehending others.

2. Dyslexia

Dyslexia is a language disorder that affects areas of the brain that process language. Itʼs usually caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors.

Children with dyslexia canʼt read as well as their neurotypical peers because their brain has trouble identifying speech sounds and then relating them to letters and words.

Although the disorder doesnʼt affect intelligence, it makes academic performance significantly more challenging.

Thatʼs why educational institutes often recommend dyslexic children to enroll in specialized education programs, which are built to meet their specific needs.

Although there is no cure for dyslexia, itʼs very manageable with the right care.

Early assessment and intervention play a key role in ensuring that dyslexia has a minimal effect on your childʼs life. If your child doesnʼt go to school yet, you should check for the following signs:

  • Late talking
  • Learning new words slowly
  • Problems naming colors, letters, or numbers
  • Reversing sounds in words or confusing words that sound alike
  • Struggling to learn nursery rhymes or play rhyming games

If your child is going to school already, look for these signs instead:

  • Avoiding activities that involve reading
  • Reading well below the expected level for their age
  • Problems remembering the sequence of things
  • Difficulty finding the right word or forming answers to questions
  • Spending an unusually long time completing tasks that involve reading or writing

3. Selective Mutism

While selective mutism technically isnʼt a language disorder, most experts still consider it a disorder of communication. This disorder is characterized by the inability to speak and communicate in some social settings.

What it means is that children with selective mutism can only speak and communicate in settings where they feel secure, relaxed, and comfortable.

Thatʼs why over 90% of them also have social anxiety or social phobia, which makes them:

  • Avoid eye contact
  • Avoid eating in public
  • Cling to their parents
  • Hide or cry during social situations
  • Get anxious when their picture is being taken
  • Throw a tantrum when asked to speak publicly

As far as the cause is concerned, there are three known causes of selective mutism:

  1. 1
    Genetic components
  2. 2
    Anxiety disorders, such as social phobia, separation anxiety, or obsessive-compulsive disorder
  3. 3
    Environmental factors, such as reduced opportunities for social contact, observing anxious behaviors, or reinforcing avoidance behaviors

All that being said, the good news about selective mutism is that itʼs easily treatable with the right care.

Kids respond best to behavioral therapy that focuses on helping them learn to speak in new settings, during new activities, and with new people.

4. Dyslalia

Dyslalia is a common language disorder among kindergarten-aged children. It makes them distort, substitute, omit, replace, or reverse certain sounds.

The disorder has four types that inhibit the pronunciation of certain sounds to different extents.

  1. 1
    Simple: inability to pronounce one specific sound
  2. 2
    Multiple: inability to pronounce over one specific sound
  3. 3
    Hottentotism: inability to speak fluently due to a stammer
  4. 4
    Related: inability to pronounce sounds that require the same articulation

In the vast majority of cases, dyslalia is triggered by one of the following three causes:

  1. 1
    Hearing problems
  2. 2
    Learning disabilities
  3. 3
    Structural abnormalities of the speech organs

You can find out whether your kindergartener has this disorder by checking how many phonemes he can pronounce correctly. If he has trouble with multiple phonemes, thatʼs the key sign of dyslalia.

Chapter 4: Treatment

This is where weʼll cover everything you need to set your child up for the best results. Choosing the right type of health professional and then preparing for the perfect first visit. What a specialist will do for your child. And lastly, the profound difference you can make in your childʼs treatment — and how to best make it.

Getting Started with Treatment

Speech therapy is the most effective treatment for speech and language disorders out there, with countless studies and experts backing it. So long as your child has a speech or language disorder, the treatment will almost always boil down to speech therapy sessions and at-home exercises.

For most families, treatment for speech and language disorders starts with a consultation with the family doctor. This typically involves a full physical exam to rule out any hearing or other sensory impairments as the primary cause.

Unfortunately, many parents make a mistake at this point by relying on the pediatrician to diagnose their childʼs communication troubles.

As you know by now, there are too many types of speech and language disorders, with dozens of specific disorders under each category. Many of those conditions are extremely hard to diagnose, as they require meticulous consideration of countless factors.

Thatʼs why the importance of having a specialist diagnose your child cannot be stressed enough. And speech-language pathologists (SLPs) are exactly the professionals you need.

An SLP is a medical professional that specializes in diagnosing and treating all the different speech and language disorders. These experts also specialize in social communication, cognitive-communication, and swallowing disorders.

Hereʼs what that means for your little one. Whether your childʼs communication problems result from speech and language disorders, swallowing troubles, social- or cognitive-communication challenges — an SLP will know how to pinpoint the cause and get the best results.

While treatment for any disorder is a collaborative effort between all the medical professionals in your childʼs life, ranging from the family pediatrician and school counselor to physiological psychologists and neurologists, at the core of it all is going to be your childʼs SLP.

Preparing for Your First Visit to an SLP

Since you know your child better than anyone else, the SLP will rely on you to provide as many details as possible.

The information you provide will be vital to shaping the SLPʼs understanding of your childʼs communication and any factors which may be influencing their speech development.

So itʼs a good idea to prepare answers regarding your childʼs medical history, developmental milestones, communication concerns, and communication strengths.

You should also note down your childʼs medical history, including:

  • History of ear infections
  • Complications during birth or during pregnancy
  • Family history of speech, language, learning, or hearing issues
  • Results of both newborn hearing screening and most recent hearing screening
  • Names and contact information for your childʼs pediatrician and any other medical professionals youʼve worked with, including any previous visits to a speech-language pathologist

Print a copy of those notes and take it along with you to the SLP. Not only will the pathologist appreciate your proactive involvement, but they will be in a much better position to give your child the help he needs.

What an SLP Will Do for Your Child

An SLP will play many key roles in your childʼs treatment. But the bulk of it can be divided into two categories: diagnosis and treatment.

As every child has different needs, the SLP will create a specific treatment plan along with a speech therapy schedule to overcome all their language and speech issues.

To do that, the SLP will evaluate your childʼs abilities in the first meeting, which will consist of two main parts: a parent interview and testing.

During both parts, you will be asked a couple of questions for which you should prepare answers before  arriving (refer to the previous section for details).

Letʼs look at what the two parts of the diagnosis process entail.

Diagnosis Part 1: The Parent Interview

The SLP will start the session by asking some basic questions regarding your childʼs developmental milestones, communication concerns, and communication strengths.

After that, they will ask for a comprehensive medical history to get a better understanding of the situation.

Thatʼs pretty much what the parent interview is about. Once this part is done, the SLP will move on to the actual evaluation of your childʼs current condition.

Diagnosis Part 2: Testing

In the second part of the evaluation, there will be two types of testing: direct and indirect.

Indirect testing often feels more like an informal conversation, observation, or playtime, rather than an evaluation. But it actually is an important part of diagnosis because the SLP uses this time to learn more about how your child communicates.

Direct testing, on the other hand, is more structured and you can clearly tell that your child is being evaluated. It involves some basic communication exercises, like:

  • Naming items
  • Answering questions
  • Pointing to pictures in a testing manual

The rule of thumb for direct testing is that the SLP continues until the child answers multiple questions incorrectly in a row. So donʼt worry if your child isnʼt getting every question right.

In fact, children often even have to answer questions that are actually intended for older children before the SLP can stop testing.

Your role during direct testing is to sit back, relax, and observe quietly until asked to participate.

Typically, the SLP only asks you to participate when they cannot get a particular response from your kid. If that happens, donʼt reword the question — say it exactly as the pathologist did.

Most questions in direct testing are required to be asked in a specific way, and any rewording of a question can negate the accuracy of the test.

Once your kid gets multiple answers incorrectly in a row, the SLP will have all the information they need to start the actual treatment for your little one.

The Treatment Begins

The treatment for speech and language disorders consists of routine speech therapy sessions at the SLPʼs office and daily activities at home.

Donʼt worry if youʼre not sure how often to go for therapy or which activities to perform at home. The SLP will take all the specific needs and targets of your child into consideration to create a custom speech therapy plan that is most conducive to your childʼs speech and language development.

That plan will explain all the important aspects of how your child will be treated, including:

  • Daily home assignments
  • An outline of expected goals and milestones for your childʼs speech development
  • The number of times you have to visit the SLP for therapy sessions every month

What You Can Do to Help Your Child

As a parent, youʼre a vital part of your childʼs treatment. No one knows your child better than you do, and that puts you in an important position to help medical professions give your child the help he needs.

So taking your child to an SLP for evaluation and providing as many details as you can is the first thing you can do. By following the steps outlined in an earlier section, youʼll be more prepared for the first visit than the vast majority of parents out there.

The next thing you can do is to help your child do speech therapy activities at home. The SLP will prepare a custom exercise plan to get the best results for your childʼs specific condition. But the results of the at-home exercise plans depend entirely on the amount and quality of practice your child does. And thatʼs your opportunity for making a significant improvement in your childʼs results.

Another important area is monitoring your childʼs symptoms and progress. If your child makes improvements in a certain area or falls behind in another, you should bring that up with the SLP so they know whatʼs going on.

Speaking of which, youʼre at the center of the communication loop for all health professionals in your childʼs life.

It is likely that your child will receive services from multiple providers. For instance, kids with speech and language difficulties often get frustrated and require the services of a physiological psychologist. Itʼs also common for kids to get speech therapy from both a public and private SLP.

By connecting and keeping all the professionals in the loop, you can make a profound difference in your childʼs treatment.

In fact, studies have shown time after time that parental involvement is directly correlated with faster and longer-lasting speech therapy results.

So thereʼs a lot you can do to help your child. And by reading this guide, youʼve already taken a huge step forward.

Children with speech and language disorders, in most cases, catch up to their peers with time. And your child is set up for even better results — all thanks to your love and support.

Chapter 5: Frequently Asked Questions

By this point, youʼll know more about speech and language disorders than the vast majority of parents out there. But weʼll take things one step further by answering some of the most common and confusing questions asked by parents in your exact situation.

1. Are speech and language disorders common?

Yes, speech and language disorders are quite common. In fact, theyʼre more common than most people think, as evidenced by the results of many studies conducted in the United States:

  • Roughly 5 percent of children have noticeable speech disorders by the first grade
  • Every year, 3.3 percent of children aged 3 to 17 experience language disorders that last for over a week
  • Over three million people stutter. Although stuttering can affect individuals of all ages, it occurs most frequently in young children between the ages of 2 and 6

The same study concludes that one in every twelve people in the United States (7.7% of the entire U.S population) suffer from a speech or language disorder.

2. How does speech therapy work for deaf people?

Speech therapy for people with hearing impairments is not just important, but necessary. Without it, they canʼt learn how to read lips and form words correctly.

A speech therapist will help your child learn lip-reading by:

  • Starting with sounds that are easier to see like /ba/, /pa/, and /mm/
  • Showing them how to pay close attention to the movements of the mouth, tongue, and jaw of the person speaking
  • Teaching them what different expressions mean and how to read them. When children know how to read facial expressions, communication becomes a lot easier

If your child has a learning disability along with a hearing impairment, the goal of speech therapy will remain the same. However, the approach will change as the therapist will:

  • Not explain ideas and concepts at first. Instead, they will start by explaining simpler things like people and places
  • Explain everything in the simplest way possible because big ideas are often hard to understand for children with a learning disability
  • Explain things with the help of visual aid, like pictures or toys
  • Repeat the lesson as many times as needed to ensure your child has grasped the idea

3. How can I differentiate autism from speech delay?

Since speech delay can be a symptom of autism, most people find it hard to tell one from the other. However, there is a simple way to do so.

The key difference between the two is that children with autism cannot interact with other people in a verbal or non-verbal (smile, mimic, or visual contact) manner.

Children with a speech delay, on the other hand, can communicate through non-verbal behavior. Plus, they can also establish relationships and show interest in other people.

Furthermore, a speech delay only affects the production of speech, but the ability to understand speech remains untouched. Whereas autism creates equal difficulties in producing and understanding speech.

4. Can speech or language disorders develop in late teens or early 20s?

Yes, speech and language disorder can develop in late teens, early 20s, and in fact at any point in life.

However, disorders that develop late are always caused by external factors. Things like drug abuse, hearing loss, stroke, or any injury that damages parts of the brain responsible for speech or language.

5. Does speech therapy work for toddlers?

Yes, speech therapy can start with children as young as 3 years old. That being said, you shouldnʼt take your toddler to therapy unless he shows any of the following milestone gaps:

  • By 12 months: unable to use gestures, such as pointing or waving goodbye
  • By 18 months: trouble imitating sounds or using gestures all the time instead of vocalizations to communicate
  • By 2 years: canʼt follow simple directions, or has an unusual tone of voice like raspy or nasal, or never produces words and phrases spontaneously

6. How do I know if my child needs speech therapy?

Since there are over fifty speech and language disorders, each with its own signs and symptoms, thereʼs no telltale sign that shows your child has an impairment.

Thatʼs why the only way to know whether your child needs speech therapy is by getting them evaluated by an SLP to see if thereʼs a developmental issue.

Despite what well-meaning friends and family members might say, communication problems are not always as simple as a “late talker” and could be the signs of a serious condition.

A diagnosis is always a win for the child and the family. If the problem turns out to be a serious disorder, your child can get professional help immediately. But even if thatʼs not the case, speech therapy can greatly accelerate your childʼs speech and language development.

7. Should I attend my childʼs speech therapy session?

Yes, your attendance plays a key role in the success of your childʼs treatment.

Typically, the participation of parents during therapy sessions includes in-room therapy participation, out of room observation, and completion of home activities.

8. How long does my child need to be in therapy?

There is no set answer to this question as every child is different. But studies conducted by ASHA point to the following three factors as having the biggest impact on the results of speech therapy:

  1. 1
    Intensity: the length of treatment sessions
  2. 2
    Frequency: the number of treatment sessions per week
  3. 3
    Duration: the number of months for which therapy lasts

As a result, more exposure to speech therapy means a better outcome for your child. The key is to ensure that your child meets all the requirements to lead a fulfilling life, both socially and academically.

If you feel that your child is ready to end speech therapy, but your SLP disagrees, you should get a second opinion from another specialist before making your final decision.

9. Whatʼs the difference between a public school and private speech therapy?

While free speech therapy at schools is a great initiative, it is simply not comparable to having a private specialist on your side.

Most schools offer speech therapy sessions in groups for 15 to 60 minutes per week under a strict schedule. Not only will your child get limited attention in a group, but less than 60 minutes of speech therapy is not enough for most communication problems.

Of course, none of that matters if your child doesnʼt meet the requirements for public speech therapy. What it means is that the school-based SLP must be satisfied that your child has a disorder, and the severity is bad enough for it to affect your childʼs academic performance.

Even if your child meets those requirements, the school may still deny your application based on other factors. Things like budget limitations and the number of kids who have applied for support.

Working with a private SLP is the exact opposite. Your child gets undivided attention from the specialist in a one-on-one setting for several sessions per week. Plus, you get a lot more flexibility in scheduling.

In short, private speech therapy is where your child will make the most progress. Thereʼs no way around it. But if your child qualifies for school therapy, be sure to take advantage of both resources.

10. How to deal with advice clashes between school and private SLP?

If your child is getting help from both a school and private SLP, then itʼs likely that there will be a clash of advice at some point.

Generally speaking, the SLPs at schools aim to help your child reach a point where his communication limitations wonʼt affect academic performance too much. But as soon as that point is reached, your child will become ineligible for free services — even if your child is lagging in other areas of life.

Private SLPs are the opposite. These specialists focus on bringing your child up to the same level as hispeers in all areas of life, including academic and social skills.

With everything else being equal, you should generally give preference to the advice of a private SLP over a public school one.

If you have any further questions or concerns about the speech and language abilities of your child, get in touch with us today.

Our team of experts will be delighted to answer all your questions, perform a comprehensive diagnosis, and then prepare and execute the perfect treatment plan for your child.