AT SIMPLY SPEECH, WE STRIVE TO PROVIDE INDIVIDUALIZED AND EFFECTIVE THERAPY  TO HELP OUR CLIENTS SUCCEED.  WE OFFER EVALUATIONS AND THERAPY FOR SPEECH, LANGUAGE, AND FEEDING.  WE ARE LOCATED IN CORPUS CHRISTI, TEXAS.

Articulation and Phonology
 Motor Speech

What It Is:

Articulation describes the accuracy by which an individual is able to produce the different sounds that make up spoken words. Phonological processing errors occur when children use immature patterns of articulation. Speech is produced by fine-tuning of motor (muscle) movements in and around the mouth. Dysarthria and apraxia are disorders that describe motor and motor planning difficulties that directly impact speech production.

What To Look for:

If your child’s speech sounds different or immature for his/her age, he may have an articulation disorder or delay. A child should be easily understood by unfamiliar people by the age of 4. For more developmental milestones, please visit  http://www.asha.org/public/speech/development/ . Articulation and motor speech can become problems during or after normal development following a brain injury, stroke, or other incident.

Voice

What It Is:​

Your voice is produced in the “voice box” when your vocal folds vibrate against each other upon exhalation. Disorders of the voice can cause problems with vocal volume, pitch, and quality (hoarseness, breathiness, etc.).  

What To Look for:

Hoarseness, pitch breaks, and breathiness are indicative of vocal issues. A voice that is noticeably low or high in pitch may indicate a problem. Sometimes, the cause is known, such as yelling/screaming or prolonged public speaking. Vocal issues need to be evaluated as they can be indicative of a problem in the voice box. Oftentimes, timely therapy can help heal and normalize the voice and/or eliminate the need for surgery.

Fluency

What It Is:

Fluency refers to the ease in which a speaker can produce speech. Stuttering is a fluency disorder. It can be characterized by prolongations of sounds, repetitions of sounds, blocks, and more. Stuttering can have a significant impact on a speaker’s confidence and self-esteem. 

What To Look for:

Fluency disorders can vary greatly in how they present themselves. Any breaks in fluidity and speech affect fluency. Sound repetitions at the beginning of words such as "bu-bu-butter", prolongations "ssssssssometimes", and/or hard pauses or "blocks" are common fluency issues. Fluency disorders can also be apparent by facial and limb grimacing during speech. We all have fluency issues from time-to-time, but a fluency disorder can cause a person stress and lead them to become frustrated with or to avoid speech.

Expressive Language

What It Is:

Expressive Language describes the ability to make oneself understood. This can include gestures, talking, vocabulary, asking questions, and more.  Disorders and delays in expressive language development could include: late talking, poor vocabulary, difficulty explaining, sentence structure errors, and more. Disorders of expressive language can occur later in life following stroke and brain injury.

What To Look for:

"Late talking" or little vocabulary for a child's age can be problematic. By the first birthday, it is best if a child has about 5 words or more. These words do not have to sound accurate, but they do need to be consistent and used independently. By the second birthday, a child should be combining words such as "Hi Daddy" independently. Later in development, expressive language delays can be characterized by nonspecific vocabulary use, simplistic sentence use, and frustration with getting one's point across. Parents who are concerned should seek advice of a speech-language pathologist to determine if an evaluation is warranted. Oftentimes, parents are told that children will "talk when they are ready", but this can lead to missing out on prime early intervention stages of development. For more specific milestones, please visit  http://www.asha.org/public/speech/development/ .

Receptive Language

What It Is:

The ability to understand the intended meaning of language is receptive language. This can include understanding directions or questions, understanding complex conversation, or difficulty learning. An adult may acquire receptive language disorder due to a stroke or brain injury.

What To Look for:

If your child has difficulty understanding directions compared to his peers, he may have a receptive language delay. At one year of age, toddlers are expected to understand that words have meaning and to be able to show you that they understand some of those words. As they get older, they should be able to follow directions of more and more complexity and begin to answer simple questions. School-aged children with receptive language delays are at risk for difficulty learning in the classroom as they cannot keep up with directives and explanations given in the classroom. For more specific developmental milestones, please visit  http://www.asha.org/public/speech/development/ .

Pragmatic Language

What It Is:

Pragmatic language involves one’s social skills. This is often an area of concern with children who have autism spectrum disorders. The speech-language pathologist at Simply Speech has treated a vast number of children with ASD and enjoys working with this population.

What To Look for:

If your child has poor eye contact, seems to have difficulty engaging with peers, or doesn’t have the ability to use language in a variety of ways, he may have a pragmatic language deficit. The ability to ask and answer questions, change our communication behaviors based on social cues of others (such as facial expression, emotional cues, etc.), and initiate conversation when necessary are vital to effective communication in all our relationships. For more specific developmental milestones, please visit  http://www.asha.org/public/speech/development/ .

Cognition​​

What It Is:

Closely related to language ability is cognition. Cognition includes memory, awareness, executive functioning, problem solving, etc. Cognitive impairments in adults are often present with dementia and stroke patients. 

What To Look for:

Persistent difficulty with problem solving tasks and memory or organization can signal cognitive impairment. While we all have days of brain fog and occasionally forget to do important things, declines in cognitive functioning can signal medical issues that require quick intervention. Speech therapy can help with learning strategies to minimize and overcome cognitive deficits so that people can continue to live as independently as possible.

Feeding & Swallowing

What It Is:

Feeding and swallowing problems are known as dysphagia. Dysphagia occurs for a variety of reasons in infants, children, and adults. Safe swallowing is crucial in sustaining nutrition and encouraging growth. The Speech-Language Pathologist at Simply Speech has specialized education in the area of pediatric feeding and swallowing.

What To Look for:

“Problem feeders” are children who take a very limited number of foods (i.e. less than 20). They often have a safe swallow, but their food repertoire is so limited that it causes their parents concern and stress. This can be treated and often times overcome! Parents express a huge relief when they can serve their children similar foods to the rest of the family and gain confidence that their children are getting appropriate nutrients from their food.

Swallowing issues can be very dangerous. Sometimes, they are not obvious. Other times, symptoms such as coughing, gagging, choking, food avoidance, and weight loss are present. It is vital that swallowing problems are evaluated and treated as soon as possible.