Speech development begins with babies as they begin to interact with their environment and expands in a systematic progression throughout childhood.
At ACCESS, speech and language therapy focuses on helping children express their wants and needs as they learn to interact with others by communicating more effectively and understanding spoken language. It is important to provide early intervention for speech and language delays. Babies begin to interact with others and communicate long before true words are formed. It is not uncommon to begin providing services in infancy, even before the formation of first words, if a delay in development is determined. Simple games such as “peek-a-boo” are not just fun, but are early forms of interaction. With infants, we address early communication intents such as imitating sounds and interacting with others, as well as feeding and other issues related to the oral musculature.
Research clearly identifies a correlation between the vocabulary of a 3-year-old and early academic success. By providing assistance early, a child makes gains toward functional communication; and frustration is reduced. For the older child, language difficulties or lack of speech clarity can result in personal and academic challenges, reduced confidence and independence and less effective interaction with others.
As children age, the impact that solid speech and language skills have on all aspects of life become more obvious.
Speech and Language Foundation
A solid foundation of speech and language skills is vital for future academic development because it is the first building block to reading. ACCESS directly targets reading skill development as young children master phonological awareness, expressing ideas clearly, learning and using new vocabulary, understanding oral and written directions, understanding and retaining details of a story, comprehending oral and written material, recognizing and spelling words, and memory for speech and written text. These are complicated skills for any child to learn.
When children have a delayed or weak speech and language system, reading is a very difficult and complex expectation. Children with, or who have a history of, speech and language delays, often need specialized instruction to master reading and written expression.
- Beckman approach for oral-motor therapy
- Childhood apraxia of speech (CAS)
- Alternative and Augmentative Communication (AAC)
- Aided language stimulation
- Feeding, food chaining
- Sensory/motor feeding techniques
- Auditory processing
- Oral motor impairments
- Social skills (pragmatic disorders)
- Therapeutic use of iPad apps and other technology
- Visual supports
- Social stories
- Written expression
- Reading, spelling and comprehension
Speech and Language Development Checklist
By 6 months
- Reacts to sound and respond to speaker
- Turns head to a sound
- Produces a variety of distinguishable cries
- Mouths objects
- Vocalizes when talked to
Between 1 to 2
- Recognizes name
- Says two to three words other than “Mama” and “Dada”
- Imitates familiar words
- Uses two objects together in play
- Understands simple instructions
- Recognizes words and points to objects like a ball, car, shoe, cup, spoon, etc….
- Participates and initiates simple games like peak-a-boo, pat-a-cake, tickle games, etc….
- Responds to “no”
- Waves bye-bye
- Makes sounds of familiar animals
- Points to toes, eyes, nose, foot, mouth, etc….
- Understands words like “more”
Between 2 and 3
- Identifies most body parts
- Asks “what’s that” and “where’s my”
- Uses combinations of words, at least three words together
- Has a vocabulary of at least 450 words
- Uses simple descriptive words; “big,” “little,” “wet,” “dry,” etc….
- Understands the use of objects
- Gets attention of adults; “watch me”
- Holds up fingers to tell age
- Combines nouns and verbs
- Uses “me” instead of name to refer to themselves
Between 3 and 4
- Can tell a story
- Has a sentence length of at least five words
- Has a vocabulary of at least 1,000 words
- Uses and understands words like “more,” “most,” “one” and “some”
- Knows colors
- Knows categories such as “all the animals” or “all the foods”
Between 4 and 5
- Uses past tense correctly
- Uses the concept of “where” and “why”
- Begins to understand time concepts like “in the morning,” “next,” and “last night”
- Asks many questions such as “who,” “where,” and “why”
- Uses imaginary conditions such as “I hope…” or “what if…”
- Knows shapes
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