WORKING WITH KIDS
We work with kids for a range of reasons. Your child may be slow to talk, be hard to understand or even have a hoarse voice. Below is some information on a range of issues we can help with.
At an appropriate age:
Can your young child point to objects you name?
Have they said their first word yet?
Does your preschooler follow directions well?
Do they understand what you are saying to them?
Can they tell a cohesive story?
Language is the term used to describe a person’s ability to attach meaning to words, and then use these in a purposeful way to communicate ideas.
First, children develop an understanding of language. This is called receptive language. You may say there goes a bus, and they will look and point to the bus driving past in the early years. Over time the complexity of what a child understands grows as well as their understanding of concepts. These are vital for following directions in class and learning new material that is presented.
Expressive language describes the child ability to use words to communicate. Being able to use single words is the first step in language development and should occur around the age of one. They will then build on this and add more and more words to their vocabulary. By the time a child reaches 18 months, they should have roughly 50 words in their repertoire. At two children start to combine words to make small sentences such as 'Daddy gone' or 'more drink'. By the age of 5, a child's sentences reflect those of adult speakers with complex sentence structures.
If your child does not meet these milestones, intervention should be sought. Traditionally, people have ignored a late talker or referred to them as a ‘late bloomer'. The problem with the wait and see approach is that we do not know which children will catch up with their peers and which children will have long term difficulties. Early intervention is the best principle for children who are late talkers, to prevent longer term consequences such as poor performance at school and difficulty making friends because of under developed social skills.
At Hunter Speech Pathology we hold certification in the Hanen program, which is an evidenced based intervention for late talkers. We also have experience in helping older, school aged children reach their communication goals.
Speech sound difficulties are diverse in young children. Some may have simple articulation errors, such as a lisp. Others may have a phonological disorder, which impacts their ability to understand words are made of different sounds and, when we substitute these within a word, we can actually change the word meaning.
Other children will experience severe motor speech disorders, including childhood apraxia of speech.
Hunter Speech Pathology has extensive experience in working with children across all areas of speech and a special interest in those with childhood apraxia of speech or those with speech difficulties related to altered anatomy.
Our clinicians are PROMPT trained, which is a hands-on treatment technique which helps children learn to produce the sounds by gentle guidance of their mouth and tongue by the therapist.
For further information regarding this treatment technique, and other speech pathology techniques, please to our Resources pages.
Stuttering causes a disruption in a child’s ability to send a clear and effective message. Some children are blissfully unaware of their stutter, while others will be hyper aware and avoid speaking in certain situations, for fear of stuttering.
At Hunter Speech Pathology, we use a range of treatment techniques, including the Lidcombe Program, which is an evidenced-based treatment to help manage a child’s stutter.
Does your child's voice sound rough or hoarse?
Does it cut in or out?
Have they been diagnosed by an Ear, Nose & Throat (ENT) specialist as having a problem?
Children are at risk of voice problems including vocal nodules if they use their voice incorrectly. Children engaging in vocal abuse, such as yelling, excessive talking/crying/singing and poor hydration, place themselves at risk of developing a voice disorder.
Intervention to correct voicing technique (how to bring the vocal cords together gently) can be of benefit to school aged children.
For preschool children, intervention targets curbing those behaviours that are leading to the voice problem, such as screaming or using excessive noises during play.
Note: Voice assessment or therapy will not be conducted without an Ear Nose & Throat specialists’ referral.
Does your child have, or have they ever had a speech sound problem?
Does your child's teacher have concerns about your child's reading and writing abilities
If so, this can place them at risk of literacy delays.
Early literacy can also be referred to as Phonological Awareness and describes a child's understanding of sound rules used within English.
It encompasses a large range of skills including:
Identify the sounds within a word
Knowledge of sounds and their corresponding letters
Segmenting sounds within a word to assist with spelling
Blending sounds together to read
These skills are essential for long-term literacy success. If you or your child's teacher have concerns in this area, or your child is not progressing with their reading/writing, book an early literacy assessment through our Contact page.