Speech Sound Therapy
Speech-Language Pathologists can support children who have speech and articulation difficulties. We work with children who sound unclear to others, and those who make speech sound errors that are no longer appropriate for their age.
Speech is a complicated motor task. The motor movements required for clear speech are fast and highly precise. Children can have challenges with using the correct placement of their lips, tongue, jaw, teeth and palate to pronounce sounds accurately. Some children can also have difficulty with creating the motor plan and motor sequence required to make all the connect sound movements to form a word (and sentence!).
Speech Sound Development
Depending on your child's age, some speech sound errors are expected for their age. See the graphic for the sounds your child should be mastering at each age. As well, by 4-5 years of age, children should be close to 100% understood by familiar and unfamiliar people.
Please reach out if your child is making errors on an earlier sound (e.g., a 7 year old making errors with the /s/ sound), or if their speech is unclear and affecting their ability to interact with peers or family.
Speech sound errors can have significant impact on a child's functioning and relationships. Children can experience high frustration when they are not understood. Speech sound errors can also results in children sounding younger than they are (e.g., an older child with persistent lisps or errors with the r sound who still says "wabbit" instead of "rabbit" or "thun" or "sun")
McLeod, S. & Crowe, K. (2018). Children’s consonant acquisition in 27 languages: A cross-linguistic review. American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, 27, 1546-1571. https://doi.org/10.1044/2018_AJSLP-17-0100
Crowe, K., & McLeod, S. (2020). Children's English consonant acquisition in the United States: A review. American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology. https://doi.org/10.1044/2020_AJSLP-19-00168
What do we work on?
Placement, Airflow and Voicing
Placing the tongue, lips, teeth, jaw, and palate in the correct position
Managing the optimal airflow for the speech sound (e.g., stop sounds such as /p, t, k/ compared with flowy sounds such as /s, sh, l/
Up, down, side to side, front and back
Sequencing and combining movements accurately (e.g., saying "mom" requires a jaw movement pattern of close-open-close)
Developing full functional range of motion and control required for speech (e.g., some children can be stuck with only 1 movement type in their speech such as always "smiling" in a retracted position)
Effective overarching strategies to improve clarity in sentences and conversation
Conversational repair - strategies to use when others do not understand
Monitoring listeners for their comprehension
What does therapy look like?
We will work with you to find a format fits your child's and your family's needs the best. We currently offer both in-home and teletherapy sessions.
Direct Teaching with Play-based and Functional Activities
Our sessions involve direct teaching where we will show your child how to make a target sound or word with accuracy. We use varying levels of cues, models and prompts to support and challenge your child, based on their zone of proximal development.
We use play-based and functional activities. We aim to use activities that involve your child's personal interests and enjoyment because children learn best when they are engaged. We also structure our activities so that your child will be naturally motivated to use their clear speech or target words. This helps your child carry over what they practice in the speech session into their day-to-day conversations.
We keep the sessions fun because communicating and interacting with people should be motivating!
Home Practice & Parent-Coaching
Sessions will include teaching and showing parents how to directly support their child. We will provide home practice activities for you to complete with your child to carry over the learning we have done in the session. We will also support you in creating opportunities at home for your child to practice their speech skills. Opportunities are everywhere and often there are easy activities or slight modifications you can apply to what you are already doing to encourage more speech clarity The more exposure, repetitions and opportunities we can provide, the better!
We are passionate about parent education and empowerment because parent involvement leads to the greatest improvements. We also want to show you all the great things you are already doing, so that you can be confident in building upon your existing skills!