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Is a Lisp Normal in Preschool?

As children begin to develop their speech and language skills, it is important to remember that speech sounds are acquired in specific patterns around approximate age ranges. Therefore, most Blog-Lisp-Main-Landscapechildren go through periods of development where their overall speech intelligibility is reduced.

In order to understand if a lisp is considered normal, one must first understand what a lisp actually is. Lisps can present themselves in a different manner, primarily as lateral and interdental, with misarticulations primarily on /s/ and /z/, though productions of “sh,” “ch,” and “j” are typically impacted as well. In order to accurately produce these speech sounds, airflow needs to be channeled down the middle of the tongue.

A lateral lisp occurs when the airflow passes over the sides of the tongue, which causes significantly distorted production of the targeted speech sounds. The manner of the production will have a “slushy” quality, and lateralized productions of speech sounds can be difficult to correct.

Another common lisp is the interdental lisp, in which the tongue protrudes between the upper and lower teeth distorting the airflow that is forced through the space during speech production. This type of lisp is often heard as a substituted “th” rather than an accurate /s/ or /z/.

In the preschool years, children are expected to have mastery of early speech sounds, and errors on later-developing speech sounds are considered typical. Therefore, distortions of /s/ and /z/ that present themselves as a lisp are often seen in children this age. However, around the age of five when children enter kindergarten, they should be more accurate with their speech sound production skills.

If a child continues to present with difficulty on particular sounds, further assessment may be beneficial. This is particularly true if the child presents with a lateralized lisp, as speech-language therapy is warranted to help re-mediate the place and manner of the errors. Evaluation is also recommended if the child presents with either inconsistent productions of speech sounds, or is significantly difficult to understand, regardless of age.

Read our blog on what to expect in a pediatric speech and language evaluation.

NSPT offers services in Bucktown, Evanston, Highland Park, Lincolnwood, Glenview, Lake Bluff, Des Plaines, Hinsdale and Milwaukee. If you have questions or concerns about your child, we would love to help! Give us a call at (877) 486-4140 and speak to one of our Family Child Advocates!

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Understanding Your Child’s Speech and Language Assessment

Taking your child to a speech evaluation may seem intimidating. Below are some tips to help you navigate the results of your child’s speech and language assessment.Blog-Speech-Evaluation-Main-Landscape

Speech Intelligibility by Age: These percentages are an estimate of how much of your child’s speech should be understood by various listeners across a range of environments at a certain age.

  • 19-24 months of age: 25-50%
  • 2-3 years of age: 50-75%
  • 4-5 years of age: 75-90%
  • 5+ years of age: 90-100%

If you think an unfamiliar listener would estimate your child’s intelligibility percentage to be lower than what is listed above, they will most likely qualify for speech therapy. However, qualifying for speech therapy also depends on additional factors.

Phoneme Development: Listed below are specific speech sounds your child should have acquired by a certain age. They are listed in a range as children acquire different sounds at different ages.

  • 1-3 years of age: p, m, h, n, w, b
  • 2-4 years of age: k, g, d, f, t, ng, y
  • 3-6 years of age: r, l, s
  • 4-7 or 8 years of age: ch, sh, z, j, v
  • 5-8 years of age: voiced /th/ and voiceless /th/

When your child attends a speech and language evaluation for articulation concerns, the speech-language pathologist will conduct a formal assessment that will allow them to determine if your child has all of the age-appropriate sounds in their repertoire. The SLP may also try some exercises with your child during the assessment to see if your child is stimulable for these sounds. In other words, they may check to see if your child can produce these sounds with some modeling or if the sounds are extremely difficult for your child to produce.  If your child can produce these sounds without difficulty, the SLP may recommend monitoring your child and conducting a re-evaluation in the future as the sounds may develop on their own.  If your child cannot produce the sounds easily, the SLP will most likely recommend weekly speech therapy.

How long will my child need speech therapy?

This is a question we are frequently asked by parents and unfortunately, there is no definite answer.  Each child progresses at their own rate and some children may acquire sounds more easily than others.  The length of therapy will also depend on the severity of your child’s articulation delay.

What can I do to help?

Your child’s SLP will most likely send home weekly “homework” that will include articulation exercises you can do with your child.  The more practice, the better!

NSPT offers services in BucktownEvanstonHighland ParkLincolnwoodGlenview, Lake Bluff and Des Plaines. If you have questions or concerns about your child, we would love to help! Give us a call at (877) 486-4140 and speak to one of our Family Child Advocates today!

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What to Expect in a Pediatric Speech and Language Evaluation

The purpose of a speech and language evaluation is to determine your child’s strengths and challenges related to a variety of areas and conclude if therapy would be beneficial in further developing skills and aiding his/her ability to communicate effectively with SLPmainothers. Parents may request an evaluation if they have concerns, or children may be referred by a pediatrician, teacher, or after a developmental screening. While it may vary across settings, the following is a general outline of what you can expect from a formal speech and language evaluation.

  • Background and Developmental Information: Upon beginning the process, most facilities will request information regarding your child’s early developmental history. This will include things such as birth history, age milestones were met, and significant medical history. If your child has previously participated in therapy or related developmental/educational evaluations, providing copies of these reports to your therapist will be extremely beneficial in helping develop the whole picture of your child. In some settings, the therapist will obtain information from your child’s teacher regarding challenges specifically related to classroom learning and peer relationships.
  • Caregiver Interview: An essential portion of the evaluation will be information provided by the child’s family. The therapist will guide a discussion regarding your major concerns, what you would like to achieve by participating in the evaluation, and goals you might have for your child. The therapist may ask for specific examples of times you’ve noticed these challenges, thoughts about your child’s awareness toward the issue, and other questions to develop an overall understanding of how your child is communicating. Depending on the age of the child, he/she may participate in the interview portion to share feelings and thoughts on the area of difficulty, and what he/she would like to accomplish. Based on the background information provided and the caregiver interview, the therapist will choose assessment tool(s) to evaluate the area(s) of concern.
  • Assessment and Observation of the Child: Initially the therapist will spend time talking and/or playing with your child to develop rapport and make observations based on how he/she interacts and communicates in an unstructured setting. Then, your child will participate in assessments that may include:
    • Oral motor assessment to observe the structures of the face and mouth at rest and while speaking, as well as oral musculature and motor planning of oral movements.
    • Standardized assessment of the area(s) of concern (not an exhaustive list)
      • Expressive (what he/she produces) language and/or Receptive (what he/she understands) language
      • Speech production and fluency of speech
      • Pragmatic or social language
      • Feeding and Swallowing
      • Reading/Writing skills
  • Evaluation Report: The therapist will then compile all of the information gathered from the family, observations, and assessments and summarize it in a formal report. It will include a description of each area of assessment and its findings. Based on the results, the therapist will determine if therapy is necessary and if so, develop a plan for treatment. Specific goals to target the areas of need and a time frame for doing so will be included in the report.

Meet-With-A-Speech-Pathologist
NSPT offers services in BucktownEvanstonHighland ParkLincolnwoodGlenview, Lake Bluff and Des Plaines. If you have questions or concerns about your child, we would love to help! Give us a call at (877) 486-4140 and speak to one of our Family Child Advocates today!

speech language evaluation

What to Expect at a Speech-Language Screening

 

 

 

When parents first become concerned with their child’s speech or language development, a screening can be a good step to determine if a child will warrant a full speech-language evaluation.  Speech screenings can be informal or formal.  Here is what to expect at  each type of speech-language evaluation.

Speech-Language screenings can take on two forms-formal or informal:

Informal Screening:

• Lasts approximately 15 minutes
• Can take the form of a conversation with a licensed speech-language
Pathologist (SLP)
• May involve some play-based activities
• Often involves observation during peer interactions
• SLP may ask child age-appropriate questions to determine abilities for
answering questions, forming sentences, and articulation
• There is no formal protocol to follow
• There is always a parent meeting with the therapist after the screening to make recommendations

Formal Screening:

• Lasts approximately 15 minutes
• Often has a criterion check list of skills
• Will look at speech and language production
• May have images for child to name or fill-in-the-blank sentences
• Usually has questions for child to answer
• There is always a parent meeting with the therapist after the screening to make recommendations

Screenings can be a great tool to determine if a child warrants a full speech-language evaluation. A screening alone is not diagnostically reliable and should only be used as a tool to decide if an evaluation is necessary. A licensed speech-language pathologist will not make goals about ongoing therapy until an evaluation is completed, however, after both formal and informal screenings, an SLP will meet with parents to create a plan for the next step: either conduct an evaluation or decide that the child is on track with speech and language and wait 3-6 months before screening again!

Click here to view our Speech and Language Milestones Infographic!