Tag: Reading and Language Development

SLP’s Toddler Has Imperfect Speech

By Pam Marshalla

Q: I am an SLP who works with preschoolers, and my own daughter has a slight problem at age 18 months. I am getting frantic about this and need advice. She uses more than 50 words, is beginning to put two-word combinations together, and she has consonant phonemes from each manner group (a few stops, glides, nasals, and fricated sounds). She has all her vowels except those that require lip rounding, and I cannot seem to get her to round…

Vowels and Intelligibility with Apraxia

By Pam Marshalla

Q: My son is 2.5 years old. He can say 6 words: Mom (ma), ball, up (uh), gone, please (pease), and truck. I am feeling overwhelmed with how to incorporate the 3 tracks of your “Vowel Tracks” material. Can I start with one track? He gets really frustrated with wanting stuff. I am getting worried he won’t talk. The purpose of Vowel Tracks is to show how to focus on vowels as new words are being added to a child’s…

Stimulating 2-Word Combinations

By Pam Marshalla

Q: Do you have any advice for helping preschoolers begin to use two-word combinations? The best way I ever have found to stimulate two-word combinations is to model them melodically following the basic research done on Melodic Intonation Therapy (see resources below) — this research was done with adults, but people have applied it to kids ever since it first came out. I use a two-tone high-low melodic pattern. Model the first word on the high tone, and the second…

Overgeneralization When Learning Speech

By Pam Marshalla

Q: I have a 3-year-old male client with apraxia. We are working on initial F. After two unsuccessful sessions where he completely shut down and did not want to speak, I took the pressure off, bombarded him with the sound, and rewarded him for placement. He ended up with a few good productions of the sound by the end of the session. The problem is that he came back to therapy today overgeneralizing the F. I was wondering if this…

Babbling and Toddler Jargon – Phonological Development

By Pam Marshalla

Q: My preschool client says words, but they only occur at the end of long jargoned gibberish. How do I get rid of that unintelligible part? I would not take the jargon away because jargon is a natural part of speech development. Van Riper called it pretend speech. I call the type you described Word Jargon.  It is jargon embedded with real words. Kids without speech-language impairment do this all the time, as they are moving toward 2-3 word phrases….

You Never Know What Will Work

By Pam Marshalla

I was recently reminded of a client I worked with decades ago who taught me a very important lesson about therapy when I was a young therapist. I wanted to share his story. David David was 6;0 and non-verbal.  He was a big clunky kid with fine and gross motor problems who was basically untestable, and everyone thought he had very low IQ. I was using Bliss Symbols with him (it was 1976) to develop a home-made communication board (before…

Articulation Problems? Get Thee to a Professional

By Pam Marshalla

Q: My son just turned 5. He has been having difficulties with his articulation for several years especially with D, T, TH, S, Z, N and H. also he has difficulties in putting letters together such as D-O-G. He is able say things correctly only when we go really slow and draw out each sound. He also sucks in when trying to make the S sound. How can my husband and I help him with this? The severity of what…

Diagnosing Apraxia in Toddlers

By Pam Marshalla

Q: I received a referral for a 15-month-old diagnosed by a private SLP with apraxia. The child has excellent receptive language and produces 10-15 words. I was told that the child was an “automatic qualifier” coming in with the diagnosis of apraxia. I have huge reservations with this and do not feel as if the diagnosis was made appropriately in just in one session and not over time. There are no indications of motor difficulties elsewhere. Am I out in…

Muscle Problem vs. Cognition Level

By Pam Marshalla

Q: My 5-year-old daughter has below average intelligence and she can say Bah, Mah, S, Da, and Nnn, but no real words. She has had speech therapy for two years. Could you suggest an oral appliance that can help her to improve oral muscles and tongue movement awareness? I am going to be very blunt here, and probably more straight forward than I would in a real therapy session in which I would gently lead you toward this idea over…

Low Cognition and SLP: Therapy vs. Babysitting and School Culture

By Shanti McGinley

Q: I am very frustrated working in the public school. I am forced to see very low functioning children 2-4 times per week, and even with this much therapy they are not progressing in vocabulary, phonemes, nothing. Am I doing something wrong? Let me be very blunt here. Warning! Those of you who don’t know me need to be warned that I do not speak with political correctness. I find it to be an imposition on our freedom of speech…