Child Language Development

Child Language DevelopmentAs a McLean speech-language therapist, I often speak with parents about child language development.  Specifically, my discussions with parents often center on a comparison of typical child language development with early childhood language delays.

Child Language Development

Typical child language development

Language skills develop during infancy, prior to a child being able to say their first words.  Specifically, language includes both receptive (i.e., understanding) and expressive (i.e., production) components.  Receptive language abilities that often develop between birth and age one include a child recognizing their parents’ voices and responding to simple requests.  Expressive language skills that typically develop during this time include a child making babbling sounds and producing their first words at approximately one year of age.  While all children progress through communication stages (i.e., single words, two-word phrases) in a predictable, sequential manner, not all children develop language skills at the same age.  The following link presents typical language development at specific ages, as well as activities that can used by parents to further develop their child’s language skills from birth to age five:

Developmental Milestones – Expressive and Receptive Language

Why is child language development important?

Child language development plays an important role in a child’s overall well-being.  Aspects of a child’s life that rely heavily on language skills include having their needs met, behavior, academic success, and social interactions with others.  Early speech-language intervention is critical for those children suspected of having a language delay or disorder between the ages of birth to age five.  At this young age, children have the greatest opportunity to make improvements in their language skills, due to rapid development of their brain during this time period.  The following link presents “warning signs” of delayed child language development from birth to age four:

Warning Signs – Delayed Child Language Development

What strategies are useful in developing a child’s language skills?

A Step Above Speech Language Pathology utilizes evidence-based early intervention language strategies developed by the Hanen Centre as part of the It Takes Two to Talk® – The Hanen Program® for Parents of Children with Language Delays.  Strategies routinely incorporated into speech-language sessions include the following:

– Observe, wait, listen

– Let your child’s lead/Follow your child’s lead

– Take turns to keep the interaction going

– Add language to the interaction

A Step Above Speech Language Pathology understands the importance of involving family members as part of a child’s continued language development.  Practical communication strategies are introduced to parents, and suggestions as to how these strategies can be used on a daily basis during everyday routines are discussed.

To learn more about The Hanen Centre and the It Takes Two to Talk® – The Hanen Program® for Parents of Children with Language Delays, please visit the following:

It Takes Two to Talk® — The Hanen Program® for Parents of Children with Language Delays

Child Language Therapy in Northern Virginia

If you are interested in learning about A Step Above Speech Language Pathology and the speech and language services that we provide, please contact us for more information.  We cater to clients in Northern Virginia, specifically in Falls Church, Arlington, Vienna, Mclean, Annandale, Fairfax, Merrifield, and also in Washington, D.C.

References

American Speech-Language -Hearing Association. (1997-2013).  How Does Your Child Hear and Talk? Retrieved   from http://www.asha.org/public/speech/development/chart/

Conklin, C., Pepper, J., Weitzman, E., & McDade, A. (2007). Making Hanen Happen Leaders Guide for It Takes Two to Talk® – The Hanen Program® for Parents.  Ontario: The Hanen Centre.

The Hanen Centre. (2011).  Communication Development in Preschool Children with Language Delays.  Retrieved from http://www.hanen.org/Programs/For-Parents/It-Takes-Two-to-Talk.aspx

 

 

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Geoffrey Greenman, M.A., CCC-SLP is a Northern Virginia speech therapist.  He is the owner of “A Step Above Speech-Language Pathology.” We are a Herndon, Virginia speech private practice that provides child language therapy.

R Sound Speech Therapy

R Sound Speech TherapyI frequently provide r sound speech therapy to children and young adults who have difficulty producing this sound.  As a Falls Church speech therapist, I explain to parents and clients why this sound is often so difficult to produce and what strategies and techniques can be used to improve production.

R Sound Speech Therapy

By what age should an individual be able to accurately produce the “r” sound?

While some children may accurately produce the “r” sound by age 5, other children may not develop this sound until approximately age 7.

Why is the “r” sound so difficult to produce?

There are several reasons why the “r” sound is so difficult to produce.  First, there are twenty-one different contexts in which the “r” sound can be produced, which are determined both by word position and surrounding vowels that occur in specific words.  For example, in the word “Ring,” the “r” sound is considered pre-vocalic as it occurs before a vowel.  In words such as “army,” “barn,” and “star,” the “r” sound is considered post-vocalic as it follows a vowel.  Different “r” sound contexts often present unique challenges to children and adults, meaning that not all contexts are equal in level of complexity.  Second, as the “r” sound is less visual (i.e., difficult to see correct tongue placement during production) than other sounds, it is often more difficult to explain to children and adults how to correctly produce this sound.

What strategies can help with “r” sound production?

If you or someone you know has difficulty producing the “r” sound, a certified and licensed speech-language pathologist should be consulted for advice and guidance.  Specific strategies typically aim to improve both auditory (i.e., improving one’s ability to hear a correct sound production) and production (i.e., correct placement of articulators – tongue, jaw, and lips).

The following link provides helpful suggestions for eliciting correct “r” sound productions:

Eliciting an accurate “r” sound

R Sound Speech Therapy in Northern Virginia

If you are interested in learning about A Step Above Speech Language Pathology and the speech and language services that we provide, please contact us for more information.  We cater to clients in Northern Virginia, specifically in Herndon, Arlington, Vienna, Reston, Annandale, Fairfax, Merrifield, and also in Washington, D.C.

References

Gilbert, D., Ristuccia, J., & Ristuccia, C. (2005). The Entire World of R Book of Elicitation Techniques.  Georgia: Say it Right.

Bedsole, K. F., & Johnson, C. M. (2006). Why is “R” So Hard to Say? Answers to Questions Parents Ask About the “R” Sound. Retrieved from http://www.superduperinc.com/handouts

Rogers, G. (2013). Tips, Tricks, and a Handy Tool for Teaching the R Sound. Retrieved from http://www.mommyspeechtherapy.com

 

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Geoffrey Greenman, M.A., CCC-SLP is a Northern Virginia speech therapist.  He is the owner of “A Step Above Speech-Language Pathology.” We are a Reston, Virginia speech private practice that provides r sound speech therapy.

Accent Modification Therapy

Falls Church Speech TherapistAs a Northern Virginia speech therapist, I am frequently contacted by professionals who are interested in accent modification therapy and would like to improve their production of Standard American English.  The reasons for individuals wanting to minimize their accent are varied, but often relate to the following:

–   Others they communication with (i.e., colleagues, etc.) have difficulty understanding them and they are frequently asked to repeat themselves

–   Individual forsees the importance of improving their English communication skills for a potential job promotion

–   Individual may be transitioning into a new phase of their life (e.g., transitioning from school to workplace)

–  Individual may have been referred by a workplace supervisor

Accent Modification Therapy in Northern Virginia

Often the first question that I am asked is whether I will be able to eliminate an individual’s native accent.  In my opinion, it is not a realistic goal for a person to expect that their accent will be eliminated completely through accent modification therapy.  Instead, I point out that I believe that an individual’s accent plays a large role in their cultural identity and uniqueness and that I view my role as helping clients to improve their overall intelligibility when communicating in English.

Initially, a complete accent modification assessment is conducted in order to assess how the client’s accent differs from Standard American English to identify specific areas of difficulty, and to design an individualized training program.  Based on the results of the assessment, training sessions will focus on specific areas of standard American English, including:

  • Articulation (i.e., production of specific speech sounds)
  • Stress/Intonation (i.e., the rhythm and melody of language)
  • Grammar
  • Rate of Speech
  • Naturalness Factors (e.g., word linking/reduction, thought groups and focus words)

Clients should also expect their individualized training program to target those aspects of English communication that they perceive as most important to their success in the workplace and/or social situations.

Modifying an accent requires hard work and practice.  In addition to weekly accent modification therapy sessions, clients will be provided with homework assignments to reinforce the concepts that have been covered during their sessions.

To learn more about accent modification therapy, please visit the following:

http://www.asha.org/public/speech/development/accent-modification/

If you are interested in learning more about accent modification services provided by A Step Above Speech Language Pathology, please contact us for more information.  We cater to clients in Northern Virginia, specifically in Herndon, Reston, Arlington, Vienna, Mclean, Annandale, Fairfax, Merrifield, and Washington, D.C.

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Accent Modification TherapyGeoffrey Greenman, M.A., CCC-SLP is a Northern Virginia speech therapist.  He is the owner of “A Step Above Speech-Language Pathology.” We are a McLean speech private practice that provides accent modification therapy.