Speech Delay and Behaviors

As a speech pathologist, I have seen all kinds of behaviors in children (and adults).  Some behaviors can be as mild as a simple verbal “no” or as aggressive as a hit, punch, swing or spit. Some kids cry and fall like trees.  Some kids become “bulldozers” as they scoot across the treatment room.  In 1993, I had a kid “roll” down the hallway, past the administration office and end up in the PT gym.

While it’s no secret that children who have difficulty communicating can exhibit behaviors, we as parents and caregivers need to take certain steps so that the child understands their own expectations and boundaries.  Our ultimate goal is for our kids to become effective, functional communicators.

Here are some ways that I manage inappropriate behaviors in children with communication difficulties:

1. Verbally rewarding the GOOD behaviors:  Good behaviors such as sitting in the chair, completing a task, or using a good “inside voice” require immediate rewards.

2. Listening to the child:  Some children with severe speech deficits require more attention from the parent to understand ideas being communicated.   Try to pick out one or two words communicated and expand on this with the child.  This will allow the child to be “heard”.

3. Remain calm and be patient:  Kids feed off of adult reactions. Too often, I have seen parents “argue”  with their child when they become frustrated or upset.

4. Boundaries:  When you place a boundary upon a child, stick to it.  Kids know who’s buttons to push because the parents may allow it.

Don’t be afraid to tell your child, “no”.  Because when we do, it will give added value to your “yes”.

For more information about speech therapy services in Tucson, or if you would like to schedule a consultation, please contact me directly here.



It’s What We Hear That Helps Our Speech Change Quickly!

I’m about to share a secret with you all. It’s about speech – sound training, and it’s very important. When working with children who are a little older, around the ages of 6 to 12, I find that “ear training” can evidence more success in changing speech behaviors than addressing just individual sounds.

As we age, speech patterns and speech errors become more difficult to correct. In speech therapy, I start with making sure the child can produce the sound. Then, I drill it! You see, I was trained 20 years ago by experts in the field of speech therapy who always told us that in order to change behavior, you had to change motor planning, and that meant drilling speech sounds. But to make the sound “stick in the child’s head”, the child needed to recognize when it was being produced incorrectly. That’s why I use techniques like minimal pairs in my speech therapy activities. Also, I will repeat or record/playback the child’s speech productions using my secret weapon found on my iPhone. It’s not uncommon to find me working across various 2 and 3 syllable word combinations, while recording the child’s productions so that we can improve awareness to the overall speech intelligibility in phrases, sentences and conversation. It’s not uncommon for a child to look at me with a big smile and say, “I didn’t say that”!

At the Therapy Group of Tucson, people are talking! We strive to make speech therapy fun, effective and rewarding. If you have a question about speech therapy services in Tucson, or would like to schedule an appointment, please contact me here.

Child Speech Therapy Services: When To Start?

I wanted to briefly share on this topic, because it is very important, and parents ask this question all of the time, “How can you provide speech therapy services to an infant or young child”.

Speech therapy addresses sound and phonological development, but language treatments help children understand and express words and meaning, and that is what I work on with infants and small children.

Research tells us that children speak their first words by 12 months of age, but there are some very important developmental precursors to consider before a child says their first word.

Here are some developmental milestones that I look evaluate in young children:

3-6 Months: Young children should turn their heads towards the person talking and localize to the sound. Expressively, children this age should be laughing, and babbling and imitating “talking”.

6-9 Months: Children at this age should start recognizing their mommy or daddy’s name, attend to music, wave “bye-bye”, make 2 syllable combinations and attempt to sing and shout to gain attention.

9-12 Months: By this age, the child should attend to new words, give an object upon verbal request, understand a small,simple question, use a word to call a person and start speaking 1 to 2 words spontaneously.

These are just a few language milestones that I look for in small children. More information on developmental milestones can be found here, on the American Speech and Language Association website.

If you are concerned about your child’s speech or language development or would like to know more information about speech therapy services in Tucson, please don’t hesitate to contact me here. We take many insurance plans as payment for our services, so contact me today for Tucson speech therapy services.