Category: Speech

aba-therapy-vs-speech-therapy

There are many different types of therapies available for children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Two of the most common therapies are ABA therapy vs. speech therapy. Both therapies have their own unique benefits, and it can be challenging to decide which one is right for your child. Fortunately, we’ve decided to take a closer look and help you make the right decision.

ABA Therapy

ABA therapy is the most researched-based treatment for children with ASD. It focuses on changing social and learning environments and encompasses communication and life skills acquisition. ABA therapy has been shown to be effective in improving communication, social skills, and behavior in children with ASD.

Speech Therapy

Speech therapy focuses on communication and feeding issues. Speech therapists work with children to improve their communication skills and help them to develop age-appropriate speech and language skills. Speech therapy can also help children with ASD to develop better feeding habits, and overcome any swallowing issues they may have.

What about Occupational Therapy?

Occupational therapy focuses on mastering activities of daily living. Occupational therapists work with children to improve their fine motor skills and help them to develop age-appropriate skills for daily living. Occupational therapy can also help children with ASD to improve their sensory processing and to develop better-coping skills for managing anxiety and stress.

What’s Next?

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to treatment for children with ASD. The type of therapy that is right for your child will depend on their individual needs. If you are unsure which type of therapy is right for your child, Blossom Children’s Center is here to help. We can assess your child’s needs and make recommendations based on what has proven effective for other children with ASD.

0 Comments/by
Speech Language Pathology

Many children with autism struggle with communication. Speech-language pathology, frequently referred to as speech therapy, helps improve speech, communication, and socialization. This quick guide will explain speech-language pathology and how it works.

Speech-Language Pathology

The ultimate goal of speech-language pathology is to improve overall communication. SLP includes verbal and nonverbal communication, as these two aspects go hand-in-hand. Speech-language pathology is wide-reaching and can assist with making correct sounds, speaking clearly, assisting with stutters. For nonverbal children, it also helps children and parents develop communication systems that work for them, whether through gestures, electronic devices, or a combination. 

Socialization

Speech-language pathology also helps improve social communication. This type of therapy helps children communicate clearly and understand language and social communication from others. A substantial part of this therapy is understanding body language. A speech-language pathologist can help children understand emotions conveyed through body language, which allows them to know communication and socialize easier. Practicing back-and-forth conversations with a trained therapist are the perfect environment for children with autism to develop their speech abilities. 

How It Works

Speech-language therapists provide personalized care for children. No two children are the same, and meeting their unique needs is crucial to effective therapy. One of the best aspects of speech therapy is children’s one-on-one care. Speech therapists create a welcoming environment where children can feel comfortable asking questions, learning new ways to communicate, and practicing new skills. It uses exercises, activities, and visual elements such as picture boards to help teach children communicative skills. 

Fun, Evidence-Based Therapy

We are here to help your child blossom in a fun, warm environment that they will love. Our speech therapists use evidence-based strategies and techniques to improve speech and language skills in children as young as 18 months old. Contact us today to learn more about our services! 

0 Comments/by
How We Work To Improve The Communication Skills Of Your Kiddos

Communication Skills

Children with autism often struggle with their communication skills. At Blossom Behavioral Wellness Center, our professionals use evidence-based therapy strategies and techniques to help your child communicate their thoughts and feelings more easily. Here is a quick guide that shows how we work to improve the communication skills of your kiddos.

Nonverbal C0mmunication Skills

First off, communication goes farther than simply speaking. Nonverbal communication is crucial as well. Areas such as gestures and eye contact are two of the main building blocks to improving the communication skills of your child.

Thoroughly Explain When Possible

Offering thorough explanations is another key to improving your child’s communication skills. One example of this is counting the toys they play with, talking about their differences, and using repetition to learn. Providing an explanation for each circumstance helps your child improve their communication skills by learning context.

Using Visuals

Using an image to associate with a word can help improve the communication skills of children as well. By having an image to associate with, they are able to better understand the real world as well. In this sense, memory goes hand in hand with communication.

Reading

Reading to children offers valuable, consistent exposure to structured communication. Listening to language on a frequent basis serves as a valuable building block for communication. By hearing how communicating sounds in a calm, controlled environment, they can better understand social and communication skills.

Follow At Their Pace

Finally, we make sure to help improve the communication skills of your child at a pace that works for them. They will let you know when they are comfortable with moving on to the next step of the process. Ultimately, trying to do too much too soon can cause problems. Instead, we make sure that they are ready to tackle more therapies before adding on to the pile.

The Best For Your Child

At Blossom, we highlight the potential in each and every child who walks through our doors. Everyone deserves the attention and respect they deserve, children and parents alike! We know you’ll love it here. Ready to learn more about how we can help your child blossom? Contact us today!

0 Comments/by
five-benefits-of-speech-and-language-pathology

Speech And Language Pathology

  At Blossom Children’s Center, we know the importance of communication. Speech and language therapies are used to assist with disorders and diagnoses related to speech, language, swallowing, and fluency. These activities can include talking, playing with others, using books and toys, and more ideas to help language development. And the evidence-based strategies are incredibly effective. Even more, they have a multitude of benefits for your child. Here are five benefits of speech and language pathology.

Improves Verbal Communication Skills

 The first and most obvious benefit is that speech and language pathology improves communication skills. Using communication skills is how we navigate our world. Speech therapy meets the child where they are in their journey to help them progress. By using sound repetition, imitation, and coordination activities your child will learn to express themselves more easily in a fun, effective way. 

Enhances Social Skills

By interacting with others during speech therapy, children can learn to more easily understand facial expressions, body language, maintain eye contact, and more. Moreover, working on these skills allows them to have a better, more fulfilling time in social interactions. Practicing with others will give your child experience communicating and socializing and help prepare them for practical, everyday situations.

Boosts Confidence And Helps Fight Anxiety

Speech problems, such as stuttering, can make a child feel alienated and alone. This can lead to self-esteem issues, lack of confidence, and trouble relating to others. By improving communication skills through speech therapy, your child will gain confidence and feel less anxious about expressing themselves.

Helps Identify Non-Verbal Cues

Communication is more than just speech. It also includes non-verbal cues. Body language and facial expressions can be especially difficult for children with speech and language disorders. Speech therapy works to help recognize these social cues and make them easier to understand. 

 Improved Swallowing

Finally, speech therapy also helps improve swallowing function to make it easier and safer. Exercises for oral muscles are especially effective in this area. This can also work for sensitivity to textures and taste. 

Your Kids & Our Staff Love It Here

 Blossom Children’s Center is here to help your children blossom and integrate them back into society in a fun, healthy, and effective way. When you walk through our doors you’ll see our gym with kids playing, socializing, and growing together. Our warm, welcoming environment is loved by kids and staff alike. Ready to help your child blossom? Contact us today!

0 Comments/by

Language development is vital for young children, so when these skills need extra honing, you may want to consider speech and language therapy. This therapy type can focus on many different language development issues like stutters, apraxia of speech, articulation disorders, or even autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Whatever the case may be, early intervention in the form of speech and language therapy is critical and can work to intercept and correct language development issues.

If your child shows signs of speech delays or disorders, you may consider enrolling them into a therapy program to work on their language development. A therapy setting with one-on-one attention and no distractions is undoubtedly a conducive learning environment, but it is not always reflective of the child’s real-life experience. Children will experience many different types of social and academic settings, along with the distractions that are inevitable in those settings.

Five benefits to group speech and language therapy:

  • Mimics real-world environment
  • Speech and language modeling and correction through recasting
  • Improved social communication
  • Alternative communication methods
  • Makes learning fun

 

While there are many benefits to one-on-one speech and language therapy, group therapy can offer a different set of advantages. In group therapy, children will be learning, practicing, and developing alongside one another. Let’s start by learning the benefits of the group speech therapy environment.

 

How Group Speech Therapy Mimics Real-World Environments

One of the most profound benefits of group speech therapy is how realistic the environment is. As your child grows, they will be immersed in group social settings, such as a classroom, a playdate with friends, or a birthday party. In group therapy, children will have several communication components in an environment that mimics the real world.

Some of these social communication components include the following:

  • Social interaction
  • Verbal communication
  • Nonverbal communication

These components are necessary for our child to learn effective communication at home, school, and other social settings. By immersing children in a group speech therapy setting, they can learn from the speech and language therapist and their peers. Children who participate in group speech therapy are likely to have more effective peer communication in school.

Group therapy provides your child with the right environment where they can grow and learn, but unlike one-on-one speech therapy, they are learning alongside not only their Speech-Language Pathologist but their peers, too. Allowing children to practice in a setting that mimics a natural world environment will make them feel more comfortable and confident when communicating in everyday life.

 

Speech and Language Modeling and Recasting

Modeling and recasting are common strategies used in group speech therapy. A speech and language pathologist will show correct speech and language models through every day, regular conversation. A speech pathologist may encourage modeling through self-talk, parallel talk, or expanding speech and language therapy.

Self-talk is when the child will narrate what they are doing. Conversely, parallel talk involves the pathologist in group speech therapy narrating the child’s actions. A pathologist can help a child with their self-talk by assisting them in filling in any words that the child may have missed.

Recasting is a correction method that is responsive and non-interruptive. For example, if a child is mispronouncing a word, a speech pathologist would let them finish, then reply to the statement using the same word but corrected. These speech and language therapy strategies can be reinforced at home by parents or caregivers.

 

Language Development for Social Communication

Developing speech and language are necessary milestones for children, especially before entering a consistent academic learning environment. The learning environments of daycare, school, and organized play dates inevitably push children to be more social. If children are experiencing speech and language development delays and cannot communicate and socialize, this can be very isolating.

Group speech therapy helps children to improve their social communication. Interacting with peers during play, participating in group activities, and communicating their feelings consistently exposes children to situations that allow them the opportunity to improve their social communication and speech and language development in group speech therapy.

 

Alternative Communication Methods

Group speech therapy can benefit your child more than just learning to articulate. This speech and language therapy focuses on a variety of development issues. There are multiple ways in which communication styles can compensate for any delays, impairments, or disorders. Group speech therapy can assist individuals with communication disorders by teaching augmentative and alternative communication (AAC).

Some examples of aided and unaided AAC communication include the following:

  • facial expressions
  • gestures
  • sign language
  • body posture
  • tablets
  • books

 

Since the speech and language development issues are more significant for those with severe communication disorders, AAC group speech therapy is structured differently from traditional group therapy sessions. There are three roles in AAC group therapy: a speech and language pathologist acting as group leader, facilitators, and the learners. The group leader is tasked with providing guided practice specific to the AAC devices.

 

Language Development Learning Made Fun

Dealing with speech and language development issues is no walk in the park, especially when a child has autism spectrum disorder. Inability to communicate effectively is not only frustrating for the child but parents, too. These stressors can be avoided with mindfulness techniques, and speech and language development can be improved with therapy; it can be fun, too.

Like in school, games and activities can make learning fun. The same is true for group speech therapy. In this type of therapy, your child will be surrounded by their peers, giving them a chance to interact, socialize, communicate, make friends, and have fun.

Here are a few different ways speech and language therapy can make learning more fun for children:

  • story time
  • games
  • structured activities
  • cooperative play

 

The students in speech and language group therapy are grouped by age and developmental abilities to benefit each child. Children need to be with others on their level so that none are left to struggle, feel intimidated, or be held back.

If you are considering what steps to take to help your child with their language development issues, learn more about when is the right time to seek speech therapy.

0 Comments/by

We all learn early in life that words matter.  As the parent of a child with autism, words can affect your child’s development.  Part of language development is to experience new places and to communicate thoughts and feelings about different environments.  Though not all destinations are autism-friendly, it is important to introduce your child to experiences that promote language development, learning, and emotion regulation.

Wherever you go, as you engage with your children in learning and speech therapy opportunities, there are a few helpful techniques to remember:

  • Engage your child in conversation as often as possible and with intention.
  • Utilize positive language more often than negative.
  • Respond to all your child’s attempts to communicate with full attention.

1.Animals as an Answer to Speech Delay

Animals are almost a natural connection for children.  Anyone who struggles to communicate can find comfort in the calm, impartial presence of an animal.  Although the presence of animals does not automatically guarantee a perfect experience, most children respond positively to them.  Forming sentences and practicing words related to animals while visiting the zoo is an organic opportunity for speech therapy.  A few opportunities for speech therapy related to a trip to the zoo may include:

  • Yes or No Questions related to zoo animals:  For those with speech delay, a “yes” or “no” answer may encourage language development.  Using flashcards of animals found at the zoo, ask yes or no questions.  As your child progresses, questions that include one-word answers can be included.
  • Felt stories:  Help language development using felt zoo animals and creating a story for your child to engage in.  Sensory stimulation from touching the felt animal can comfort and help a child with speech delay communicate an answer.
  • Following directions with animals:  Speech therapy allows your child to relate words to actions.  Using the example of animals that your child saw at the zoo may help language development.  Flashcards with zoo animals that say, “Clap your hands,” and other short phrases can help your child connect words to actions through play.
  • Tell stories with animals: Using plastic animals seen at the zoo, encourage your child to tell a story about the animal.  You can also tell your child a story about the animal to encourage language development and increase vocabulary.

Remember to offer rewards for desired behaviors.  Give positive reinforcement, praise, and other supportive gestures within your child’s comfort zone to show your pride in their efforts.

 

2. Speech Therapy During a Walk Around the Block

Walking is an activity that allows us to explore our environment and learn more about what is around us.  This can be overwhelming and full of sensory stimulation and undesirable encounters for a child who struggles with speech delay.  Because speech delay creates the inability to articulate the feeling of being overwhelmed, it can cause stressful moments for your child and you.  Pay attention to the time of day, traffic patterns, and the probability of encountering others on the walk to make your walk a successful experience.

A walk around the neighborhood can be an opportunity to organically introduce speech therapy into your child’s day and improve language development.  As you walk, ask “yes or no” questions about what your child sees or hears:

  • Do you hear the birds chirping?
  • Do you see the blue car?
  • Can you feel the warm sun?

As your child becomes more comfortable and expands their vocabulary, you can ask them questions using more words. Offering an answer to your own question can increase vocabulary and word usage and encourage language development and it is a common practice when working with speech delay.

 

3. Language Development at the Museum

A trip to the museum can be an introduction to many new words, experiences, and feelings.  A well-planned museum visit can provide language development opportunities through exhibits and activities of interest to your child.  Like most children, a child with autism can become focused on a specific interest – trains, dinosaurs, or space.  The museum offers multiple exhibits, including sensory exhibits, that your child can observe and even participate in.  Through lights, sounds, pictures, and tactile exhibits, your child can expand their vocabulary and communicate their interest in the topic on display, indicating language development through learning.

 

New Experiences Strengthen Abilities to Cope

Studies show that exposure to sensory experiences can strengthen an individual’s ability to cope with and respond to new situations.  Parents of a child with autism understand experiences can strengthen their child’s coping skills and that each activity requires planning but can also come with the possibility of an emotional meltdown.  Emotion regulation is an important skill to learn, as well, and is an indicator of future skill success.

Part of emotion regulation is the child’s ability to communicate, even with few words, their feelings and frustrations.  Speech delay can complicate your child’s ability to fully communicate their feelings, which may be experiencing complete overload due to the new environment.  Whether you plan a trip to the zoo, a walk around the neighborhood, or a visit to your local museum, planning is the key to a successful outing.  Planning may include:

  • Calling the location to determine if they offer sensory kits or alternative opening times for visitors with special needs.
  • Download a map of the venue.  Familiarize yourself with key amenities, including restrooms, quiet areas, and showtimes for topics of interest.
  • Determine if the venue can meet dietary restrictions.  Packing appropriate snacks and having a strategy for lunch will save time later.
  • Watch the weather!  Nothing can get you off the path to a successful outing like rain or extreme heat.

 

For a child with speech delay, the importance of language development through speech therapy is undeniable.  Often, increased vocabulary is best developed through organic speech therapy opportunities during new experiences.  Positively addressing speech delay and the most impactful speech therapy for your child should be done with the guidance of professionals.  Resources and support systems are the foundation of self-care for the parent of a child with autism.  If you have questions about how speech therapy can help you and your child, contact Blossom Children’s Center anytime.

0 Comments/by
How Imitation Helps Your Kids Learn to Speak

Whether it’s intentional or not, every way you interact with your child contributes to their overall speech and language development. Imitation influences how your child learns to communicate verbally will set them up to be strong communicators at a young age.

In this guide, we will discuss everything you need to know about imitation as a speech improvement technique, how you can use imitation in everyday communication and games at home, and when to seek speech therapy for any speech delays.

 

What is Imitation?

Imitation is a form of communication technique used to help children learn a language that mirrors and echoes their parents and caregivers. From early infancy, children pick up on the communication techniques that are used when interacting with them. Through imitation, children begin to mimic verbal language, a building block to further their communication and language development. Imitation is not only used for speech; it can include sounds, actions, and facial expressions.

 

How is Imitation Used to Improve Speech and Language? 

Imitation is used to promote expressive language skills by showing children how words connect to actions and behaviors. They begin to associate certain words with specific tasks or things. Imitating parents, caregivers, or anyone else the child may be around can help young children bridge the connection to verbal communication.

Every interaction you have with a child can be used as a lesson in improving speech and language, whether this is intended or not. Imitation is one of the primary ways that children begin their language development, which is why we often speak to children with annunciated, clear words and phrases.

 

When Does Language Development Begin?

Language development begins even before a child is born. During the third trimester of pregnancy, a fetus can begin to hear sounds and voices, most notably the mother’s voice which they come to recognize immediately after birth as a calming presence. The core years of intense language development occurs up until a child is five years old.

Before the age of one, a child will begin to imitate sounds and even attempt words, while in the toddler years, they begin to solidify their understanding of voice, speech, and language. You can follow and track language development milestones to know if your child is on track or experiencing any delays in speech.

 

How to Teach Verbal Imitation through Games

Children use mirroring to learn habits, behaviors, and language from their surroundings. When it comes to verbal imitation, you can help your child improve this area of language development through games.

 

These types of games focus on imitation:

Copycat: two or more people imitate one person.

Simon says: one person is the leader, Simon, and is responsible for prompting the audience to do whatever action Simon says

Follow the leader: a multiplayer game that has a leader, and each follower must do just as the leader does

Sing-alongs: action songs that include an action such as Itsy-Bitsy Spider

 

Use positive reinforcement when an action is copied correctly.

Children will often begin to imitate expressions, sounds, and words independently, but when prompted, children can learn more effectively and at a faster pace.

 

Improving Delay in Speech at Home

If you notice any delays in speech or language developmental issues, consider playing a more proactive role in helping your child improve their speech at home. Here are just a few ways to implement language training into your everyday routines:

 

Verbal routines – verbalizing a specific, repetitive action

Reading – associates pictures with words

Parallel talk – narrating your child’s actions, behaviors, or movements

Singing – improves vocabulary and memory

 

Incorporating these intentional language development practices into your daily routine can improve your child’s speech at home. In some cases, seeking professional assistance in the form of speech therapy may be an option worth exploring. Let’s learn more about knowing when to seek therapy for delays in speech.

 

How Speech Therapy Can Help

Speech therapy is sometimes a necessary intervention when a child experiences any delays in speech, language development, or a developmental disorder like autism. The primary years for language development begin in early childhood, and early intervention of speech delays is crucial in helping young children become better communicators.

 

Speech therapy can help to improve several language delays and disorders:

Pragmatic language disorders

Childhood fluency disorders

Speech sound disorders

Autism spectrum disorder

Receptive and expressive language delays/disorders

Therapy can also provide techniques to deal with the stress of developmental delays, such as delays in speech, and especially those stressors stemming from autism disorder. If your child is currently under the care of ABA, talk to your therapist about if speech therapy is right for them, too.

 

Finding the Right Speech Pathologist

Whether your child is experiencing issues with verbalizing their actions or an inability to speak full sentences, speech therapy can be an excellent tool to help them improve. When children can effectively communicate with their parents, teachers, and peers, they will have an easier time in academic and social settings.

If your child is experiencing delays in speech or other language development delays, it may be time to consider a speech pathologist’s assistance. At Blossom Children’s Center, we offer two speech therapy groups for toddlers and preschool-aged children to practice and improve their speech and language.

 

Tips for Toddler Parents

Being a proactive educator in the home all starts with researching and talking to a professional about delays in speech or other developmental delays your child may be experiencing. Learning how to talk doesn’t happen to a child overnight—be patient. Children are more likely to react to positive reinforcement than punishment, so make sure you are encouraging. Lastly, create a nourishing environment at home by openly communicating with and in front of your child, whether that be in the form of narrating, annunciating, and exaggerating your excitement when speaking.

As a parent, you can always learn new things to help your child’s development. Another great way to improve imitation is imitating the actions and sounds your child is doing and copy them. This teaches them to copy you. You can then copy and add- copy what they do and then add a sound or action to see if they copy back If you think speech and language therapy is a good step for your child, it doesn’t hurt to reach out and chat with a professional!

0 Comments/by

When you think of your young child, you probably think of them spending their time playing, giggling, and learning new things every day. These early childhood years can fly by too quickly, so it’s important to savor this time for both of you. Early childhood is a critical part of each individual’s development, especially in learning language and communication skills.

Language development delays and disorders represent a deficit in receptive language. These speech delays can hinder the communication path necessary for a child to flourish in academic, social, and other settings. In this guide, we will teach you how verbal routines can help children increase their language development and skills so you know when to intervene with speech therapy.

 

What Are Verbal Routines?

Infant children are learning the foundation of language from their parents and caregivers, and as they develop their language skills more, the child will begin to direct their own speech. Verbal routines are not only a way to improve language but an introduction to speaking. These routines are defined by verbalizing ordinary actions to your child. This will help them connect those words and actions.

Verbal routine practice can start during early infancy and continue through the toddler years or more as the child’s language development matures. This speech therapy technique is an excellent way to introduce language and repetition in the home.

 

How to Incorporate Verbal Routines for Improved Speech Therapy

The goal of creating a verbal routine is to help children connect the verbal to visual through vocalization as a way to improve their understanding of language. You can start with a slow introduction or dive right in, but these verbal routines will eventually become a part of your child’s daily routine.

Here are some everyday examples of verbal routines for language development that you can begin to introduce at home:

  • Waking up: “Good morning” or “Rise and shine.”
  • Playtime: “Let’s go play.”
  • Bedtime: “It’s time for bed, goodnight.”
  • Meals: “It’s time for lunch.”

It won’t take long for your child to connect the words with the action that comes next, which can cause them to run and hide during bedtime or show excitement during playtime. Through consistency, repetition, and practice, your child will increase their language development skills. Check out more ways to help your child learn to talk and include language into your child’s daily routines.

 

The Importance of Repetition and Consistency in Verbal Routines

Verbal repetition will help children to remember language better. Just like when reading or singing along to a nursery rhyme, children will eventually catch on because of the constant exposure.

By staying consistent and actively using verbal routines, your child will have greater exposure to vocalized communication and begin to form the correlation between words and their meanings or actions. Consider adding the speech therapy technique of verbal routine into your everyday communication with your child and watch how quickly they pick up on your vocal cues.

 

Spotting Signs of Speech Delays and Disorders

Introducing verbal routines into a child’s everyday life is just one way to improve language development, but the foundation of language can be harder for children to learn based on their own speech delays or even disorders. Spotting the signs of these delays can be hard, especially during infancy.

Some ways to spot speech delays is to look out for these signs:

  • The child is missing developmental milestones.
  • Mispronouncing certain sounds.
  • Lack of vocalization, fallback to non-verbal communication
  • Stuttering

When in doubt, talk to your child’s pediatrician about your concerns. With all developmental delays, including speech delays, early intervention is the key to counteracting these issues and other developmental delays. Learn how to spot the red flags for common childhood developmental delays.

 

Tips for Parents to Introduce Verbal Routines

Narrating your child’s everyday tasks may take some time to get used to. The best way to get in the habit of exclaiming specific phrases is to start with your own routines as well, even if it’s just thinking of the phrase internally to start.

Assign concise, short phrases to each daily task. Before you know it, exclaiming these phrases before a routine will become second nature to you and, eventually, your child too.

 

When to Seek Speech Therapy

Verbal routines and other language development exercises are an excellent way to begin training your child at home. Still, they can learn new, more focused language development skills in speech therapy. Speech delays could be preventing your child from developing their language and communication skills or be the sign of a more serious underlying issue such as an impairment or disorder. If you have any concerns about your child’s speech, talk to your doctor about intervening with speech therapy.

If you are concerned that your child may have any speech delays or disorders, it may be time to seek a speech therapist’s expertise. In speech therapy, your child will have access to professionals that can assess, diagnose, and treat delays and disorders related to speech, language, or other forms of communication.

Sometimes, speech delays and language development issues can correct themselves over time, but developmental delays should not be taken lightly. Early speech therapy intervention can be the breakthrough your child needs to be a better communicator at home and when socializing with other children, especially as they move into an academic classroom setting.

 

Autism Disorder and Developmental Delays

Speech delays or disorders can be a symptom of an underlying disorder. If you have a child with autism disorder, a doctor or therapist can also recommend Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapy to make sure other areas of necessary child development are treated as well. In some instances, ABA therapy may be combined with speech therapy and/or occupational therapy, depending on each patient’s individual needs.

An ABA therapist can help get your child on a program that is catered to them. They will also help those children and their families by understanding the connection between this disorder and stress and how to manage these stressors effectively.

 

Speech Therapy Near You

The speech-language pathologists at Blossom Children’s Center are state-licensed and board-certified to assist your child with any speech delays or language development issues they may encounter. Our office is centrally located in Novi to serve Southeast Michigan families with a variety of service offerings.

Whether its questions about introducing verbal routines, concerns over your child’s speech development, or anything in between, we are just a call away!

0 Comments/by
Child in speech therapy virtually.

Although language is a natural part of our communication skills, it doesn’t always come easy. Speech therapy can play an influential role in helping individuals with pragmatics, which are necessary skills to have for person-to-person communication. Let’s take a deep dive into what pragmatic language skills are and how you can use services like speech therapy and ABA therapy to improve your skills.

 

What Are Pragmatic Language Skills?

Pragmatics is the rules that govern our language system and explain the relationship between words and word use. Language is essential to effectively communicate, especially with children working to develop their language and speech skills. Speaking and understanding is a huge part of how we effectively communicate with one another.

Pragmatics is the way we use language to connect with others. This can include verbal and non-verbal language such as body language, eye-contact, using or understanding jokes, asking and answering questions, repairing communication breakdowns, or getting the attention of others.

Some examples of pragmatics include the following:

  • Verbal communication
  • Reciprocal play
  • Social behavior necessary for communication
  • Imitation
  • Joint attention
  • Turn-taking

 

Though the definition of pragmatics can seem complicated, the idea is more simplistic in practice. A lack of pragmatic language skills can be found when the speaker cannot effectively communicate what they say to what they mean. Learning pragmatics can be challenging on your own – we recommend seeking assistance from a therapist specializing in speech or ABA therapy to get started.

Mother and child on computer in virtual speech therapy.

How Speech Therapy Helps with Pragmatics

Language rules and functions are essential in childhood development and learning, but sometimes, children need additional help through speech therapy to help with pragmatic language skills. A speech-language pathologist works towards addressing the various challenges a child may have with language and communication, including pragmatics.

With the assistance and support of a speech therapist, individuals can use these techniques to strengthen and learn pragmatics:

  • Reciprocal play
  • Peer to peer interactions
  • Conversational turn-taking
  • The body orientation and proximity
  • Theory of mind
  • Understanding non-verbal language and body language of others

 

There are so many benefits that speech-language pathologists can help provide in teaching pragmatics and strengthening other areas of this discipline. Without intervention, these language issues can persist, making classroom learning and interaction extremely difficult. When your child learns the skills to strengthen their language and communication, you will see their confidence soar.

If issues with pragmatics are just one bump in the road of autism disorder, see how ABA therapy can help.

 

Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) Therapy

Pragmatic language impairment or pragmatic language issues can be a common issue in children with autism. ABA therapy can help children and individuals learn pragmatics with a variety of language stimulation strategies. A therapist’s skills can help alleviate several issues beyond language, such as understanding the link between mindfulness and autism. Early intervention is critical when it comes to language issues in children with autism.

0 Comments/by
Mother and child on a walk.

Every moment after a child’s birth is a critical point in time for their always-learning, always-growing selves. While children are consistently taking in their surroundings and learning from their interactions, there are age-specific milestones that they should be close in line to hit. If you are worried that your child may be falling behind and not developing at the correct pace, this may be a sign that your child is experiencing a developmental delay.

Paying close attention to critical aspects of your children’s interactions such as emotional responses or childhood speech can be telling and allow you to step in early and seek childhood speech therapy or Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) therapy when necessary.

We will take a deep dive into these four main categories of childhood development:

  • Speech and language delays
  • Motor skills
  • Social development
  • Cognitive skills

 

This guide will provide a comprehensive summary of these various childhood developmental categories, why they are essential, and how you can spot early signs of delays. If any of these childhood speech delays or other developments resonate with your child, we will guide you on when to seek the counsel of speech therapy. Childhood development delays can seem mild, but it’s essential to be mindful and aware of critical developmental milestones to spot any hindrances early on.

 

What Are Childhood Speech and Language Delays?

Childhood speech and language are a crucial part of a child’s development and growth, interacting with other aspects of life. The presence of childhood speech and language delays could stem from several reasons, including development disorders or hearing impairment. Speech therapy can help to identify and distinguish hearing issues against childhood speech and language delays. Language delays can inhibit a child’s social interactions, cause undesirable behavior, and low academic skills.

 

Below are a few common types of childhood speech and language delays and disorders:

  • Childhood apraxia of speech – a childhood speech disorder relating to the inability or difficulty of executing speech movements in sequence.
  • Expressive language delays – difficulty using words to communicate.
  • Late talkers – Used to describe a limited spoken vocabulary in comparison to peers.
  • Learning disabilities – difficulty with reading, writing, and spelling.
  • Dysarthria – a motor speech disorder caused by weakened vocal muscles.

 

If your child is not exhibiting any signs of developmental delays, you will still benefit from learning how to spot red flags in their development. By understanding the development of childhood speech and language skills, you can better recognize and support your child’s speech and language needs and, most importantly, know when to seek a speech therapist’s intervention.

 

Spotting Early Signs of Language Delays

Childhood speech and language delays can come in many different forms. By being an observant and active caregiver, you can spot early indications of any issues. We often speak in exaggerated expressions when communicating with children, and for a good reason. Children are always learning and absorbing from their surroundings. These exaggerated expressions help promote imitation to children, which is a critical factor in early childhood speech and language development. You can spot signs of language delays as early as two months old and possibly even earlier.

 

You can spot signs of language delays by a lack of imitation, lack of eye contact, or even non-responsiveness, though non-responsiveness could also be a sign of hearing issues. These communication avenues can be observed as early as infancy. The earliest signs of speaking from an infant are in the form of cooing or babbling. If your baby is not babbling, not making gestures, or not engaging with you via eye contact during play, this could be a sign of a speech or language delay.

Grandson lying down with his grandma in the grass.

Late Talkers

Toddlers aged 18-30 months will begin speaking in small, shorter sentences – this is not abnormal and not a late talker sign. The late talker language delay is defined by limited childhood speech after the age of 30 months. You can begin to watch for signs of a late talker speech delay at whatever age your child may start wanting to speak and trying to form sentences. Though it is common for children sometimes to confuse their words or meanings, a consistent presence of this issue could be a sign of a late talker. Late talkers often experience word mix-up or confusion. Without a resolution of late talkers, this confusion can carry on into preschool-ages and have a long-term effect on a child’s academics, social interaction, and overall confidence speaking.

Childhood speech issues can manifest into a late talker child based on these risk factors: comprehension issues, limited gesture use, and family history. If you notice any of these signs, it is time to seek the intervention of speech therapy. Childhood Speech and language delays can cause significant issues if left untreated, and therefore early intervention in the form of speech therapy is critical. A late talker’s language delays may or may not be corrected after social interaction and social exposure, so it’s best to seek speech therapy at the first sign of late talkers.

 

When to Seek Speech Therapy for Language Delays

If you begin to notice signs of childhood speech issues, it is best to reach out to a speech therapist’s professional counsel as early as possible. A rapid and timely intervention can make an impactful difference in getting your child’s speech and language delays back on track. In the case of late talkers, progress can be made relatively quickly under a speech therapist’s guidance. You can learn more about helping late talkers with alternate communication strategies, such as American Sign Language (ASL), from a speech therapist.

For other childhood speech and language delays, a speech therapist can work with both children and parents to develop a care plan that is individualized for each child’s needs. Factors like environment and other interactions can be critical in their growth and development. A speech therapist will guide parents on altering a child’s environment and interactions for optimal childhood speech and language development and benefits.

Whether your child is a late talker or a troubled speller, speech therapy can support a child to manage their disorders or issues early on. A speech therapist can also reveal if childhood speech and language delays are signs of a neurological disorder, such as autism disorder. In this case, a speech therapist may recommend ABA therapy, which we will get into later on.

 

Delayed Motor Skills

There are two categories of motor skills that we look at when it comes to childhood development: gross motor skills and fine motor skills. Gross motor skills involve using the main, more massive muscle groups to move about. Some examples of gross motor skills include sitting, walking, and balancing. Fine motor skills refer to a more robust set of skills needed for more complex tasks such as eating, writing, and playing.

Children work on gross motor skills in early infancy and advance into more refined motor skills later on in early childhood. Gross motor skills serve as the framework for more advanced fine motor skills, making them an essential part of a child’s development.

Delayed motor skills can surface in a few different ways:

  • Delayed maturation
  • Disbalance
  • Discoordination

Delayed maturation refers to the ability to use gross motor skills, but within an appropriate range of the specific milestones, they should. Disbalance refers to a child’s inability to balance – this can manifest in both sitting and standing. Balance is necessary for a child to sit upright, stand, walk, and so much more. An uncoordinated child is not able to move all or parts of their body well. Most children, especially when learning to walk, will seem a little clumsy and off-kilter as they find their balance. The lack of coordination manifests into an underperformance of gross motor skills.

 

How to Improve Your Child’s Motor Skills

You can help your infant refine their gross and fine motor skills with activities such as playtime, tummy time, encouraging crawling, and sensory activities. Infants are also working on their gross motor skills during feedings. Reaching for a bottle or feeding themselves with utensils or fingers is an excellent activity for young children to practice their gross motor skills.

 

As children develop their gross motor skills, they will begin to define their fine motor skills even further. There are several playtime activities and games that can help toddlers practice their fine motor skills, such as arts and crafts, playing sports, and playing with interactive toys.

 

Social and Emotional Development and Impacts of Delays

Children are continually learning and developing different communication skills. Their social development and skills are mostly learned in settings involving interaction with new people, such as a playdate or starting school or daycare. Emotional skills factor into how a child communicates, especially in these social situations.

A child will learn social and emotional skills when dealing with unfavorable interactions, such as playing with another child that refuses to share. The social and emotional skills learned at a young age teach children how to respond to a situation effectively.

Social and emotional development delays can surface these types of behaviors:

  • Social awkwardness
  • Inability or difficulty initiating conversation
  • Difficulty coping
  • Prolonged temper tantrums or outbursts

These behaviors can signal to parents that a child is experiencing social or emotional developmental delays. In this case, children will require additional support and guidance to manage these behaviors. A therapist will teach children how to modify their response in dealing with new social and emotional challenges.

Without the proper social and emotional skills, communicating and interacting with others can become very difficult. ABA therapy can help children with autism work on their communication skills and further develop their social skills.

Little boy throwing a tantrum.

Red Flags for Cognitive Development

Cognitive development delays are arguably the most critical part of childhood development. Cognitive delays affect all other areas of a child’s development, including childhood speech, language skills, and social and emotional development. Cognitive delays can be found in infancy.

To spot early signs of cognitive development delays, look for these signs:

  • Lack of interest in playtime
  • Disinterest in the environment
  • Slow to respond
  • Lack of curiosity

 

If your child is experiencing any signs of cognitive issues or other developmental delays, a speech therapist can work with you and the child to get back on track. Cognitive development can also be a sign of a disorder, such as autism disorder. In this case, a therapist may recommend ABA therapy. Seek the professional counsel of a trusted and licensed speech therapist before assuming any disorders resulting from a childhood speech and language delay.

 

ABA Therapy for Autism Disorder

In some cases, childhood development delays can be the sign of a more significant issue or a disorder that would benefit from ABA therapy services. While speech therapy focuses on expressing both verbal and non-verbal language, ABA therapy focuses on the various behaviors that may affect children’s environment with an autism diagnosis. If you are working to better support your child with autism, ABA therapists seek to do just that with both parents and children with autism.

ABA therapy is a specialized and flexible treatment created to suit the individual needs of your child. ABA therapy uses the concept of significant generalization, which allows the child to use the new skills learned in ABA therapy and apply them to different settings with different people. In ABA therapy, you will have the support of a professional therapist to explain the many ways in which you can support your child, such as the benefits of routines for children with autism and understanding the impact of mindfulness on this disorder.

The ABA therapy program at Blossom Children’s Center includes learnings from these successful models:

  • Early Start Denver Model (ESDM)
  • Pivotal Response Training (PRT)
  • Natural Environment Teaching (NET)
  • DI (Direct Instruction)

 

When it comes to childhood developmental delays, time is of the essence. With early intervention in speech therapy and ABA therapy, these developmental delays can go from off-track to in order. Through modeling, repetition, and positive reinforcements, your child can overcome developmental delays with ABA therapy.

 

Red Flags for Common Childhood Developmental Delays

0 Comments/by