Communication Station
Speech Therapy

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What's a Speech-Language Pathologist?
A Speech-Language Pathologist (SLP) is a professional who is highly-trained to work with individuals who have difficulty communicating, articulating or swallowing.  An SLP evaluates skills and develops treatment plans to address areas of difficulty. 

SLPs in Oklahoma must be licensed by the Oklahoma Board of Examiners for Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology ("OBESPA").  They also typically hold their Certificate of Clinical Competence from the American Speech-Language Hearing Association ("ASHA"). 
Why Speech Therapy?
Children need speech therapy for a variety of reasons.  Sometimes it is because they have a diagnosis such as autism, down syndrome or other known challenge.  Sometimes it is because of an incident such as a traumatic brain injury or illness.  Other times, there is no known or identifiable cause.  This is ok! Generally, no matter the cause of a speech or language difficulty, the treatment course doesn't change.  We treat the symptoms your child is experiencing such as difficulty following directions or using words to communicate. 

If your child has difficulty understanding directions, expressing themselves, speaking so everyone understands them or understanding/producing written language - we can help! We develop individualized treatment plans which address your child's communication difficulties. Check out these common communication difficulties SLPs help people overcome! 

Receptive Language

Receptive Language refers to what people understand. If your child has difficulty in receptive language, they may have difficulty following directions.  They may repeat what you have said to them but not be able to act on it.   Improving what a child understands is vital to improving what they can say!

Expressive Language

Expressive Language refers to what people say. Expressive language has multiple parts and can be quite complex.  If your child has difficulty here, they may not be able to answer questions, tell about their day, label common objects, combine multiple words, and use grammatically correct phrases.  Expressive language is a common area of difficulty for many children.

Pragmatics aka "Social Skills"

Pragmatic skills are basically social skills. They are especially important to communication.  These are the skills that we learn when we know how close we can stand to someone else, how to talk differently to a baby than an adult, taking turns, and how to act in certain situations. Pragmatics are verbal and non-verbal. Pragmatics are an area of difficulty often seen in children with autism, among other disorders.   

"Late Talkers"

Some children do not speak until they are 3 or older with no known cause of this delay. Well-meaning family members often tell worried parents this is OK because they didn't speak until they were older too. While this may be the case, current research does not support a wait-and-see approach. Research indicates if we intervene early with these children who are not hitting their milestones within the acceptable range of "normal" we can help them overcome this language delay.  Early intervention is vital to reducing later struggles in life.   

Pronunciation

Articulation and Phonological disorders make up what many refer to as "pronunciation."  Simply put, this means "how you say your sounds." This may be the area most are familiar with! Our speech sounds are developed within a range of "typical."  When a child is using a pattern of a younger child longer than they are supposed to, or deviates from the accepted pronunciations, they may need speech therapy. Therapy to address articulation and phonological disorders requires lots of practice, but we have fun doing so!

Written Language Difficulties

Written language refers to reading and writing.  Children with receptive and expressive language issues, often demonstrate difficulty as they get older with reading and writing skills.  This is another reason to address receptive and expressive language problems earlier!

Cognitive Communication

Cognitive communication is most often thought about in work with adults; however, it is just as important in work with children! This can refer to how we help your child solve problems they may encounter as well as other higher level brain activities and tasks.

Swallowing & Feeding Issues

Swallowing and feeding issues are another area addressed by many SLPs.  Some children may have difficulty using appropriate chew patterns.  Others may have suffered a brain injury and are no longer able to swallow appropriately. Specially trained SLPs are necessary to help these children.  

Oral Motor Skills

Speech is a very complex task! Our lips, teeth, alveolar ridge, hard and soft palate, vocal cords, jaw, tongue and even your nose work together to help us produce speech. This requires some complex movements by the muscles involved in these areas.  If a weakness is identified in oral motor skills we work to strength these muscles through oral motor activities.  This can often lead to an improvement in articulation and feeding skills!