Speech and Language Services in Houston, TX
What are speech and language delays?
- They are difficulties understanding or expressing thoughts.
- They're common and affect millions of children and adults. They can affect anyone at any age.
- They can make communication difficult. Speech and language disorders can vary from slight difficulties and a person's inability to communicate/talk at all. Several communication disorders can occur at the same time.
Therapy for Language Delays and Disorders
Slow or disordered development of language skills (difficulty with how your child understands what is said and how your child puts words together to express thoughts) is a complicated process. Language delays/disorders may be the result of:
- Learning problems Examples: Short attention span, short memory, problems with processing information.
- Health problems Examples: Autism, Aspergers, childhood diseases such as Mumps, Scarlet Fever, Chickenpox, stroke, cancer, Cerebral Palsy, Downs Syndrome, Multiple Sclerosis or Mental Retardation.
- Physical problems Examples: Hearing loss, cleft palate or lip, difficulty controlling the tongue.
If your child has a diagnosis of language delay or disorder, treatment will involve teaching your child a systematic way of learning to understand and use language in a highly structured environment that is both motivating yet not frustrating. These learned language skills will be practiced and used in the home and in school (if school age) and will carry over and generalize to all social environments. Language is independence and vital for life.
Articulation (how speech sounds are produced)
Some children learn to produce speech sounds and words incorrectly, which makes what they're saying difficult for others to understand. This often leads to frustration for the child who is trying to communicate and frustration for the listener. One or more sounds can be in error at the same time. For example, a child may say, "tar" for "car" or "wabbit" for "rabbit". If your child has an articulation disorder, treatment includes teaching the child to develop auditory discrimination for the correct and incorrect sound(s) and teaching the motor programming for the production of the correct sound(s).
Whether getting stuck on sounds, words or phrases, or knowing what you want to say but can't get the words out, stuttering is one of the most fearful and frustrating problems a child or adult may experience. All aspects of life can be adversely affected by stuttering. Stuttering is controllable. In the therapy setting, the individual must first learn about the vocal mechanism and then must learn a new way of speaking by using strategies "speech tools" to achieve smooth, fluent speech production. The individual will also learn methods to pull out of moments in speech production where a stuttering event occurs. A person who has difficulty with producing fluent speech may also have to address and learn how to decrease physical side effects (for example: facial grimacing, body movement that shows tension/anxiety) that often occur during stuttering events. These secondary characteristics can be embarrassing and can draw unwanted attention to a person who has non-fluent speech production. The important thing to remember is that stuttering is controllable.