Practical Parenting Ideas: Speech Therapy: Personal insight into language assessment and therapy resources

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Speech Therapy: Personal insight into language assessment and therapy resources

Speech Therapy is something that I've become more familiar over the last couple of years since my 5 year old has been in speech. I started to be concerned that her speech was behind when she was about 2.5. Although she was talking a lot and I could understand some of what she said, most other people struggled to tell what she was saying. I remembered my son being a lot more clear at her age. I figured he was either advanced or she was behind, and was interested to find out.

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Recognizing the Delay

Figuring out if your child has a delay in language development can be tricky because all kids develop at different rates. Learning to talk is a process that happens one sound and one word at a time. According to an article by the American Academy of Pediatrics, children typically learn one new word per week between age 1.5 and 2. They should be able to name a few common objects when asked. By age 2, kids should be able to say around 50-100 words. That said, language delays are the most common developmental delay with 1/5 children learning to talk later than children of their same age.

Speech Assessment

If your child's pediatrician is concerned about his speech he/she may order a hearing test and refer your child to be assessed by a developmental specialist or speech and language therapist. If your pediatrician says their speech is comparable to other kids their age, but you're still concerned it doesn't hurt to get him tested so he can start therapy if needed.

As far as age, if your child is under 3 years old a local federal/state funded Early Intervention Program can give an evaluation. 
For children over age 3 you're more likely to be referred to your elementary school or places with available services, such as, a Head Start preschool. The test will consist of activities to assess your child's articulation (ability to utter clear, distinct syllables in words) and vocabulary (understanding of the words of a language).

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Speech Therapy: School Setting

If your child is enough lower in language skills than other children their age, they can qualify for speech therapy through the program/district. If they're low in other developmental areas, they may be referred for more testing to see if they would benefit from special education. When my daughter was tested at age 3 the results put her an entire year behind in her articulation (15%), but at 85% in vocabulary. With limited space in their program my daughter didn't quite qualify for speech services, but they said we could retest her after 6 months. 

When we decided to have her retested at 3 years 8 months she hadn't made much progress and qualified for an IEP (Individual Education Plan), which focuses on providing school services for her. We were given the option to come in for speech therapy sessions twice a month through the school district or for her to attend Head Start and receive help once a week. She showed a lot of excitement in attending school so we went the Head Start route and haven't regretted it!

Speech Activities: Home Setting

After sitting in on her speech therapy a few times, I learned a lot about how to work with her to practice correct articulation. Being positive for her efforts and modeling correct pronunciation is key (instead of correcting her). We recently downloaded an app called Articulation Station By Little Bee Speech that I noticed her speech therapist used. The letter P is free, and it's $69.99 for the remaining letters or $3.99 to $7.99 for the each individual letter. We just bought the ones my daughter needs help with. It's been a great way for me and her older brother to help her with her speech through several interactive games.

Mommy Speech Therapy is my favorite resource for free speech therapy worksheets that target specific sounds and blends that kids may need help with. There are pages for words (with pictures), sentences, and stories. My daughter has a lisp with her S sound so we've been working on the s-blends (sp, st, and sk). She also needs help with L, R, and other blends like Th and Ch. Having fun colorful activities help keep her engaged in learning.


While some children outgrow speech delays with little help, others will need speech therapy for months or even years. When I think about my daughter's speech I can't help but get a little emotional. I was hoping she'd make progress faster than she has because it can be frustrating for her to repeat herself when we don't understand something she said. BUT it's a challenge she can learn from and be proud of her progress over time. I'm so happy for a support system in our community to get her the help she needs.

I hope that this post is helpful for those of you with kids that need help with their speech. Have additional ideas that have helped with your kids? Or an experience with your child's speech to share? We'd love to hear in the comments below.

Speech Therapy Helps

Articulation Station By Little Bee Speech App
Mommy Speech Therapy worksheets
5 Speech Therapy Apps
Speech Therapy Worksheets on TeachersPayTeachers
More Speech Therapy Activities on Pinterest

Disclosure: Please keep in mind that the information shared in this post is provided to give basic insight into speech delays and therapy resources available. There are many factors that go into a child's speech development, and I do not intend for this post to address them all or replace professional opinion. That said, I have a background in early childhood education and did my best to give accurate facts.

Follow Debi Walstad @ Practical Parenting's board Speech Therapy on Pinterest.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for sharing your insights, Debi. Having a good understanding about this matter is really helpful. It lets the parents know what their children need, and how to pick up on certain cues for feedback. Anyway, the progress could take time to show itself, so it’s important for the parents to have extra patience on teaching their kids. Cheers!

    Terry Robberson @ MedCare Pediatric