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Speech/Language Therapy Treatment in Northern New Jersey

Parents of children who are suffering from speech and language delays often feel discouraged; however, there is hope. The professionals at Psycho-Educational Associates treat speech and language delays in children residing in Totowa, Little Falls Township, Woodland Park, and the surrounding areas of New Jersey.

What are Speech and Language Disorders?

A speech disorder refers to a problem with the actual production of sounds, whereas a language disorder refers to a difficulty understanding or putting words together to communicate ideas.

Speech disorders include:

  • Fluency disorders- Stuttering, one type of fluency disorder, involves interruption of speech by prolonged syllables and sounds, repetitions and abnormal stopping of speech
  • Dysphagia and other oral feeding disorders-Sufferers of these disorders may experience drooling along with problems eating and swallowing.
  • Articulation disorders-These are defined by problems making syllable sounds or pronouncing words properly to such a degree that speech cannot be understood by listeners.
  • Voice and resonance disorders-Sufferers may have problems with the volume, quality or pitch of their voice, resulting in listeners becoming distracted. In children with these disorders, speaking may result in discomfort or even pain.

Language disorders are categorized into expressive and receptive types:

  • Expressive disorders are problems assembling sentences, limitations of vocabulary or difficulties using language in a way that is socially acceptable
  • Receptive disorders involve problems processing or understanding language

Could your Child have a Problem? If so, what should you do?

Ideally, you should seek intervention for this issue as soon as possible. By undergoing an evaluation with a licensed speech-language pathologist, your child can receive a diagnosis so that appropriate treatment can begin. In most cases, children with these disorders benefit tremendously from speech-language therapy.

Warning Signs of a Speech-Language Delays

You should watch for certain signs if you suspect that your child is suffering from speech or language delays. One cause for concern is an infant who fails to vocalize or respond to sound.

For children between one and two years old, the following signs may signal a disorder of speech or language:

  • Preferring to communicate with gestures rather than speech at 18 months
  • Displaying problems comprehending basic verbal requests
  • Failing to use gestures, such as waving goodbye, at 12 months
  • Not easily imitating sounds at 18 months

After your child reaches two years old, you should schedule a speech-language evaluation if your child:

  • Only vocalizes some words or sounds in a repetitive fashion, and is unable to vocalize needs
  • Does not spontaneously vocalize words or phrases
  • Is unable to follow directions that are simple
  • Speaks with an abnormal voice tone, such as nasal or raspy
  • Cannot be understood to the degree that would be normal at his or her age.

At two years of age, parents should be able to understand about half of what a child says. At three years, parents should understand about three-quarters. Children aged four and older should be able to speak in a way that even strangers can understand most of the time.

Reasons for Speech and Language Delays

Speech and language can be delayed for a variety of reasons. For example, children with otherwise normal development may have speech delays due to an abnormal tongue or palate. The frenulum, the fold under the tongue, can also inhibit normal tongue movements if it is short.

Oral-motor problems are present in many children who have speech delays. In these cases, areas of the brain involved in speech may not operate efficiently. Children affected by this issue may have trouble using the tongue, lips and jaw in coordination to speak properly. While only speech is affected in some of these children, others may also experience feeding problems or other oral-motor issues. Some children may also have speech delays as part of global developmental delays that affect overall functioning.

Delayed speech is sometimes accompanied by hearing problems. For this reason, children with speech difficulties should undergo testing by an audiologist. Children who have hearing problems may display difficulty with articulation and imitation as well as using and understanding language.

Hearing can be damaged by ear infections, particularly when chronic. However, basic ear infections that have been treated successfully should not harm the speech. Furthermore, normal speech and language development should occur as long as at least one ear can hear normally.

Don’t let speech and language delays stop your child from developing socially or academically. Here at Psycho-Educational Associates, we have experienced, caring professionals standing by ready to provide you with speech and language treatment and a variety of other services. Contact us today to schedule your appointment!