Speech difficulties are becoming more common and prevalent now that there is a lot more research and awareness of it. During the first moments of life, are the moments where communication is established between an child and their parent. Infants start to communicate and affect adults by cries, gaze, movements and facial expressions (Faith, 2012).Their social interaction with their parents and those around them becomes structured around what they are capable of doing (Faith, 2012). According to Faith (2012), “these early interactions can be said to contribute to later speech difficulties; however there is no certainty that the absence of early experiences would prevent the later development of speech difficulties.” As each child develops differently and at different paces, this growth and any problems therefore may go unnoticed. Similarly, the differences between cases of those who encounter speech difficulties could be temporary or permanent and the cause varies substantially (Faith, 2012).
In childhood, where they progress from babbling all the way to more difficult grammatical speech as they enter school, some children’s process requires a lot more effort and specialized help (Faith, 2012). Speech difficulties can occur in both acquiring language and using the language system to communicate (Faith, 2012). According to Faith (2012), “speech difficulties are identified when a child has problems in the acquisition and development of oral language.” These speech difficulties can occur for a variety of reasons, such as physical disabilities like hearing loss, early language experiences, or as part of general difficulty in learning and cognitive functions (Faith, 2012)
A very important part of speech difficulty is its identification, as this paves the way straight to any treatment or intervention. A lot of cases of speech difficulties often go unnoticed and it becomes less obvious to take action unless the parent notices something unusual or a professional expresses a concern. It has been said that the identification of speech difficulties is problematic, however, according to Faith (2012) ”all the tests focus on the three main issues which include, performance on language test below the child chronological, discrepancy between a child’s language skills and their non-verbal abilities and also the language abilities that cannot be attributed to any other causes.”
Some of the difficulties that could be among some of the children that have speech difficulties may include some of the following:
- Delayed Speech: some children may have a delayed speech which does eventually get to the same level of their peers without problems, however, other children speech difficulties are a much bigger problem that needs some intervention (Faith, 2012).
- Auditory Processing Problems: According to Faith (2012), “To learn a language a child must be able to detect when sounds occur and also discriminate between and categorize sounds. Problems with early stages of auditory processing are particularly significant for language acquisition.”
- Vocabulary Problems: Speech difficulties can be related to difficulties in learning new words and producing known words (Faith, 2012). That word is in heir vocabulary, but the problem comes from where they are trying to retrieve that word to use.
- Grammatical Problems: Speech Difficulties can manifest themselves in a number of ways including output, omissions of function of words and short utterances (Faith, 2012). According to Faith (2012), “the explanations given for these difficulties include perception deficits, inability to compute syntactic relations and failure of innate syntactic abilities to mature.’
From the above work, the importance of intervention for speech difficulties is especially emphasised for younger children when it is just noticed either by the parent of other member of society.
Luckily, Catch Up Kids has a team of highly-skilled and trained instructors who can work with your child to remediate all of the above-mentioned difficulties using a variety of research-based methods.
Faith, K. (2012). Speech and Language Difficulties: An assessment of the parents experiences who have children with speech. Retrieved January 29, 2019, from https://www.theseus.fi/bitstream/handle/10024/48473/Faith%20Kilpelainen%202012%20Kemi%20Thesis.pdf?sequence=1
Speech difficulty is defined as an impairment or disruption of speech. This can occur from birth, during childhood or adulthood and can be the result of an accident or injury. Speech difficulty comes in many forms. It ranges from difficulty with pronouncing/producing certain sounds, words or phrases, to learning to adjust to a new language. Children develop differently and in some cases, some children develop slower than their peers. It is not only the words or phrase but also the tone and prosody
Speech difficulty can be a distraction to a child while growing up, especially if they are the only ones with the speech difficulty in the class or in their group of friends. Most children will experience it at school. At school it can also interfere with building friendships and learning as they will shy away from responding in the classroom due to it.
At Catch Up Kids, we have instructors who have undergone PROMPT training which is aimed at working on and overcoming the speech difficulty. A tactile-kinesthetic approach system is used. What this simply means is that the instructor is applying pressure to the facial muscle groups so the child knows and can feel where the sounds are and then how to use these muscles. The instructor will target the speech difficulty that is effecting the child the most and will then move onto the other speech difficulties if more than one is present.
We focus on working on all areas that is effected by the speech difficulty; namely the social-emotional domain, the sensory-motor domain, and the cognitive-linguistic domain. Each program is designed specifically for the child and no two programs are alike. The speech difficulty is targeted in a fun and functional manner with activities that are motivating for the child and are age appropriate. The program allows for the instructor and child to interact throughout, helping the child learn through play. This allows the child and instructor to have many opportunities to practice in their session. By targeting it in a fun manner, it allows the child to practice and learn without feeling like they are doing work. This is also helps create repetition.
Some kids struggle with pronouncing the sounds and words while others struggle with producing everyday phrases that children their age are using. Unlike traditional speech therapist, Catch Up Kids instructors will let the child lead the session and incorporate the speech difficulty targets into their play activity. The use of turn taking allows the instructor to model the right way of saying something and the wrong way. This also the child to feel comfortable that their speech difficulty can be overcome and make the learning process fun.
Speech problems in kids
Speech problems in kids can be characterised as either a speech delay or a language delay. Speech and language delays are different in terms of where the difficulty lie:
Speech delays: This describes the vocal expression of language and refers to specific articulation errors. Thus, difficulty forming sounds and words correctly.
Language delays: This describes impairments in the processing of linguistic information. This may include difficulty with grammar (syntax and/or morphology), semantics (the meaning of language) or other aspects of language. These impairments could refer to receptive language (difficulty with language comprehension), expressive language (difficulty with language production) or a combination of both.
The following are common signs of speech problems in kids:
- Difficulty interacting socially- this could be due to a child’s inability to communicate effectively with peers.
- Struggling to understand and follow instructions. Some children with speech difficulties might have trouble processing what they hear.
- Delays in expressive and receptive language
- His/her words are not easily understood by others.
- Not connecting words to form age appropriate sentences and/or not structuring sentences appropriately.
- Pronounces certain sounds incorrectly in words (that is not age appropriate).
How speech problems in kids effect over all wellbeing:
Speech problems in kids does not only affect their ability to communicate successfully, but also effects their self-esteem and self-confidence. This in turn will influence how they interact with the world around them; it has an impact on their behaviour, relationships with others, ability to learn. These kids might become reclusive due to the impact that speech problems have on their quality of life. Therefore, kids with speech problems benefit from multi-dimensional approach to target not only the speech impairment, but also the difficulties that exist with, and because of speech problems.
Intervention for speech problems in kids:
At Catch Up Kids, our approach to therapy emphasises the importance of addressing all the difficulties coupled with speech problems in kids. A tailormade program is designed based on the child’s specific strengths and weaknesses. Therapy includes goals to assist with language development (expressive as well as receptive), emotional coping, academic support and the planning and organisation of speech. In addition to this, all therapists at Catch UP Kids are also fully trained in PROMPT (Prompts for Restructuring Oral Motor Phonetic Targets) to assist with articulation errors. PROMPT is the use of tactile-kinaesthetic cues, on the facial area: This includes the jaw, tongue (under the chin) and other facial areas such as the lips, cheeks and smile lines. Further cues are given by applying pressure on the chest and larynx. This help to develop or restructure speech production output. However, and more importantly, PROMPT is about the dynamic way a child is viewed and treated. Depending on the nature of the delay or disorder this perspective may derive from normal child acquisition models of development or from models that stress maximising the child’s potential in spite of disordered or damaged systems. In its truest sense PROMPT is about developing appropriate, interactive oral communication for use in relationships and learning. Furthermore, receptive and expressive language development are addressed by creating an individualized program based on the child’s specific needs.
Children with speech problems
Speech is the verbal expression of language and includes the articulation of sound and words and how they are formed. Therefore it is important to focus on your child’s speech and help them where possible.
There are five common speech disorders in children. Articulation disorder is one where your child has difficulty with pronouncing words and sounds and also struggle to pronounce certain words and sounds correctly. When children struggle with the articulation of some sounds they tend to use substitutes for specific sounds, a well-known articulation disorder is a ‘lisp’. Secondly is apraxia of speech, which is where the child knows exactly what he/she wants to say but there is an interference in the part of the brain that is responsible for sending signals to the muscles that are required to produce the specific sounds. Apraxia causes problems for children to articulate their words but it also has an effect on the way they speak, the rhythm of their speech, and also the movement of their speech.
Fragile X Syndrome is the third speech disorder in children that can be inherited and is the most common cause of intellectual disability in boys. Girls can also inherit Fragile X Syndrome but they don’t experience the same symptoms as boys. Fragile X syndrome causes different developmental problems and can also cause behavioural and cognitive impairment. However there is treatment that can help minimize the symptoms of the condition and can help children develop skills through one on one speech counselling. A lot of children diagnosed with Fragile X Syndrome can also experience social anxiety and will most likely avoid making eye contact especially when interacting with unfamiliar individuals as they then experience more social anxiety because of their speech impairment.
Stuttering is also a form of speech problem that includes the repetition and prolonging of sound and therefore children who stutter hesitate more during speech. Stuttering causes children to repeat specific phrases and words, they also tend to get more frustrated when speaking. Stuttering can thus be developmental and are more commonly found in children who have congenital disorders. Children who have family members who stutter are also three times more likely to stutter. Children with a stutter usually does not struggle with the production of sounds but because of stress and nervousness this triggers them to stutter while speaking.
The last speech disorder that is commonly found is language disorder and there is also three different ways that language disorder can be identified. The first one is expressive language disorder and has an impact on how children formulate their sentences and they tend to struggle more with choosing the correct words to formulate their sentences.
A second form of language disorder is receptive language disorder where children tend to struggle more with comprehending spoken and written language. Lastly is expressive receptive language disorder which include symptoms form both of the above speech problem. Expressive receptive language disorder influence how children understand grammar, prepositions, and plurals within speech. It may also seem that they don’t always listen when spoken to they will repeat what they hear. When children repeat noises, words and phrases that they have heard.
Even though there are a few different types of speech problems, all children are unique and signs and symptoms can vary between children. It is important to consider options for your child to support them with their speech problems and to give them the best possible skills, support and resources for their speech problem.
Prompt is a very effective therapy that applies input to the tactile kinaesthetic cues that are used to pronounce sounds and words. The input is given to the lips, tongue and jaw which help children by supporting and shaping their movement and articulation.
PROMPT stands for Prompts for Restructuring Oral Muscular Phonetic Targets and is effective to help people with speech problems develop the correct motor control and movement to develop clear words, sentences and phrases.
The team at Catch Up Kids is trained in this method of speech intervention and can help resolve your child’s speech problems.
Speech therapist for child
What is speech therapy?
Speech therapist for child is an intervention that focuses on improving a child’s speech and ability to understand language, this includes non-verbal language. Speech therapy includes two components one, coordinating the mouth to produce sounds to form words and sentences, two: Understanding and expressing language.
My Child and speech therapy
Speech therapist for child: Although some children may have excellent pronunciation and may even be early readers, they may need speech therapy to improve Pragmatic language, or the process of using verbal and body language appropriately in social situations. Speech Therapist may also improve the child’s quality of life by teaching children how make requests using language, having conversations and making friends.
Speech disorders and language disorders
Speech disorders include; Articulation (difficulty producing sound) Fluency (problems such as stuttering) resonance (problems with voice pitch and quality) disorders.
Language Disorders include; Receptive (difficulties understanding) Expressive (difficulties putting words together) disorders and cognitive communication which is the difficulty with communication skills.
How we work on language and speech?
At Catch Up Kids each child’s program is developed to cater to their individual needs. One of the major curriculums in which we put much emphasis and great importance is language, whether a child is vocal or non-vocal language particularly speech and ways of communicating for the child is focused on.
One of the methods we use to improve child’s speech includes the incorporation of prompt in the child program. PROMPT ( Prompts for Restructuring Oral Muscular Phonetic Targets) is a tactile-kinesthetic approach to speech therapy which means that we use touch cues on child’s face (jaws, lips and tongue) to support and shape correct movements. Through the specialized physical cues provided by our highly trained therapist we are able to guide the child through syllables and words. The hands-on approach assists the child to plan, coordinate and produce speech sounds. This is then faded as the child’s speech productions develops.
There have been many cases at Catch Up Kids where children enter our program with impaired speech; this could range from a child only having one sound and no other speech abilities to a child who has excellent speech but poor pronunciation but through the use of prompt we see a child fully develop to a level of other children in the same age.
Other methods in which we encourage communication include manding and tacting. This is a language skill we focus on to improve child’s ability to communicate their needs. Studies have shown that typically developing children ask no less than 300 questions a day, we always strive to have any child who comes into our program on the same level as peers in the same age group thus we put much emphasis on children being able to ask and have their needs met. Tacting is where we work on conversational skills and this is important in school so that they are able to communicate with educators, peers and be able to maintain their friendships.
Speech therapist for children
A lot of school-going children have difficulty with speech, ranging from pronouncing words, sounds or phrases to adjusting their tone and prosody (volume, rate, pitch, and intonation). Most speech difficulties are overcome through time while others will result in most children needing to see a speech therapist in their lifetime. However, many of these children are not only impacted by speech difficulties, and carting them from one therapist to another can be overwhelming for parents and children alike. Catch Up Kids has trained behaviour analysts who can offer a comprehensive alterative to speech therapists for children. Our instructors are energetic, playful, and consistent in helping your child overcome their speech and other difficulties
Catch Up Kids’ instructors are trained in a method called PROMPT (Prompts for Restructuring Oral Muscular Phonetic Targets) – a research-based method shown to create substantial gains in speech clarity and production.They offer one-on-one sessions that focus on the speech difficulty and any other difficulties your child may be having. Catch Up Kids instructors are different from the traditional speech therapists for children in the sense that they follow a tactile-kinesthetic treatment approach, which means they will touch the child’s neck, face, chest, and back to add pressure to the muscles for certain sounds. They work on the facial muscles and allow the child to feel where these muscles are and understand how the different muscles work together to form words and phrases.
When choosing a speech therapist for children, one should look for a therapist that is playful and one that will focus on activities that will motivate and stimulate the child. The instructors at Catch Up Kids will work on establishing a comfortable and trusting relationship with the children. This is important as the instructor will be touching the child’s face a lot, so the child has to be comfortable with the instructor. The instructor will always have activities and games to choose for their sessions and each activity has to be functional to the child. These activities and games also offer routine (so the child knows what is next) and multiple opportunities to practice the sound / word/ phrase. The activities should allow the child to learn through play.
At Catch Up Kids, each child receives a tailor-made programme design that is age appropriate and caters for the child’s preference of activities/games, and specific skills set. The instructor will create multiple opportunities to target the sounds/ words/ phrases through turn-taking. This allows the child the opportunity to take part in the session in the instructor’s role. Also giving the child the opportunity to not only teach the instructor but to know and feel the different uses of each facial muscles on the instructor’s face. A lot of children respond better to turn taking activities compared to sitting back and only being on the receiving end of the PROMPT input. So, when looking for a speech therapist for children, consider the valuable alternative of Catch Up Kids.
Speech therapist for kids
by Daniella Ferreira
‘Speech therapist for kids’ is a phrase that is commonly used these days amongst parents. Over the past few years, parents have become much more concerned with their children regarding their speech. Which is why many will jump onto Google and type in ‘Speech therapist for kids’. Some are concerned that their children are not talking and others are concerned that their children are not saying the words correctly. And this is understandable as to why many parents want to seek speech therapist for kids.
The first thing to consider is “what is a speech therapist for kids?” Speech therapists often work to prevent, assess, diagnose and help treat speech and language problems that individuals may face. Therefore, speech therapist for kids, do the above-mentioned role with kids. Secondly, when should parents seek speech therapist for kids? A parent should seek a speech therapist for kids when there is some sort of delay with speech or difficulty with speech, especially between 18 months and 3 years.
However, the problem which many parents face these days are financial, time constraints and even having other children. The current financial economy has many people tightening their belts. In some cases, medical aid or medical insurance will not cover an extra such as a speech therapist for kids. In some families, both parents might be working full days and have little time to drive their children to therapy and then come home to still do homework. This all becomes even more difficult when one has more than one child. This can lead to some parents having some sort of problem when it comes to finding a speech therapist for kids.
With that being said, it would be great if there was a program that incorporates speech therapy help, homework assistance and even confidence building all at the same time and at one cost… This is where the Catch Up Kids group comes in. Catch up Kids is an incredible program used to help learner with all their aspects of their schooling career. The best thing is that this is an afterschool program, so the child will receive help after they have attended their usual school program. Which means the goal is keep the child in mainstream schooling! The question may come in now with how can Catch Up Kids help with speech. The instructors who work with the children are PROMPT trained which is a speech therapy technique used to make the muscles aware of how they should move when it comes to saying certain sounds.
Another great aspect where they help children is with confidence building and their self-esteem. Unfortunately we live in a world where bullying comes naturally to some children. It has been seen that many children who have a speech problem, are often bullied because they speak differently or pronounce things different too. They often develop low self-esteem because of the bullying. Catch Up Kids assists to help kids rebuild their self-esteem and helping them to gain confidence. As a parent, the one thing you should remember is that “Behind every young child who believes in themselves, is a parent who believed in them first.”
Speech therapy for children
Most people know that speech therapy helps children who stutter or who struggle to pronounce certain sounds. Some people are aware that speech therapy for children helps develop vocabulary, make sentences and use age appropriate grammar. Few people realise that Speech therapy does a lot more than that.
speech therapy for children can also assist with swallowing and feeding disorders. The movement involved in feeding is a necessary precursor to learning to make the movements for speech sounds.
speech therapy for children can assist children in learning to listen. Listening is necessary to develop comprehension and it is essential for being able to follow instructions and process important information in class. Children with listening difficulties or Auditory processing difficulties often have difficulty perceiving the difference between similar sounding words [Auditory Discrimination] and this may cause them to spell words incorrectly. They may have difficulty hearing in noisy environments or may have difficulty processing auditory information quickly.
speech therapy for children can also assist children with Phonological awareness skills. Phonological awareness refers to the child’s ability to be that words are made of sounds and being aware of the patterns in words. This includes skills such as being able to identify and produce rhyming words, blending sounds to form words, segment words into syllables and sounds, isolate sounds in words, delete and substitute sounds to form other words. These skills are very import foundation skills for reading and spelling.
Speech therapy can also assist those children who have difficulty with language use also referred to as the pragmatics of language. This refers to the ability to engage appropriately in conversation and this includes skills such as appropriate eye contact, turn taking, topic maintenance and greeting.
Speech therapy is also able to assist in helping children who are not able to learn oral communication. Speech therapists can assist a child in learning and using an Alternative and Augmentative Communication system. This may include using a sophisticated device that talks for the child or teaching the child to use sign language or use a symbol system to engage in interaction. Children who struggle to express themselves often become frustrated which may lead to aggressive behaviour or a passivity and withdrawal.
In addition to Speech therapy, behavioural therapies can positively influence a child’s linguistic development. At Catch Up Kids programs are specifically crafted depending on each individual’s capacities, challenges, and goals whether it be speech orientated or otherwise.
Although majority of progress happens in the office caregivers need to be participant in their child’s development. In order for optimum progress to be facilitated, therapy sessions need to be attended regularly and parents need to be trained to facilitate speech and language development at home during everyday interaction with the child.
Struggling in school
If you feel that this phrase applies to you, you are most certainly not alone. Hundreds of parents all over the world, with children of different ages, may certainly be able to relate to your situation.
Your world may have started to look a little bit like the following; the teachers have called you in and/ or you yourself have noticed some changes in your child. They show slight or more extreme behavioural changes, and appear restless or less interested in learning.
You may find that a cycle has emerged with your child struggling in school; your child appears to be struggling with academic tasks, their marks are dropping, they are struggling to retain concepts… and the cycle continues. This cycle can be tough to break, but with the right knowledge and tools it is most certainly possible.
Your child is struggling in school and falling behind academically and socially compared to their friends – you are at a point where you want to help your child, but you are unsure of how to.
“Struggling in school” is a broad term, but can include one or more of the following reported behaviours:
- Changes in behaviour at home and at school
- Changes in sibling/ peer relationships
- Difficulties studying and/ or retaining learnt concepts
- Decreased performance in academic subjects
- Low self-esteem
- Difficulty making friends and/or maintaining friendships
- Decreased interest in going to school
- Loss of motivation
- Difficulties with sustaining attention to tasks
- Difficulty in persisting with tasks
Difficulties at school may include 1 or more of the above, or have a completely different appearance in your child. It is the uniqueness of every case that demands an individualised approach.
There is unfortunately no perfect “one-size-fits-all” plan or procedure – children all have unique skills and personality traits, which means they approach and deal with challenges differently.
Catch Up Kids has embraced this uniqueness and therefore believe in and deliver programs to help your child struggling in school to catch up (and sometimes even overtake!) their peers on an academic level. The program can also address confidence building, self-esteem issues, as well as help your child find the techniques with which they learn the best.
Catch Up Kids considers hundreds of factors before setting up an individualised programme, they: establish gaps in learning; consider parent as well as school priorities; consider your child’s emotional and academic challenges and how these challenges may reinforce each other; and take into account how your child learns best, to only name a few!
Individualised programs for children struggling in school are important, because it ensures that the approach to education is relevant to your child’s abilities, your time constraints and the resources available to your child. Catch Up Kids deliver these individualised programs through one-on-one sessions. The programs are monitored and adjusted as need be on an ongoing basis.