Speech Therapy

Overview

Speech Therapy focuses on preventing, assessing, diagnosing and treating speech, communication and feeding disorders. In Olive Tree, your Speech Therapist will work closely with the whole family to ensure that a child will be able to express himself and connect with others through language in the best way he/she can. We also work with children with difficulties in feeding and swallowing.

Your child will benefit from Speech Therapy if he/she:
  • Does not babble as an infant
  • Does not seem to react or respond when others talk to him or call his name
  • Says only a few words by 2 years of age
  • Does not seem to understand instructions
  • Does not use simple sentences by 3 years of age
  • Has trouble playing with other children
  • Has speech that is difficult to understand by 3 years of age
  • Does not eat age-appropriate food (e.g. bottled milk and spooned purees during infancy, drinking cups and finger food during toddlerhood)

Speech Therapy is the standard treatment for children and adolescents diagnosed with:

Language Disorder

A Language Disorder is diagnosed when language development does not follow the typical progression. It is commonly associated with Global Developmental Delay, Autism Spectrum Disorder, Down Syndrome, hearing impairment, early developmental impairment, and other problems in neurological or cognitive functioning.

Speech Sound Disorder

Children develop the ability to produce speech sounds at different rates. By 2-3 years old, a child’s speech is 50-75% intelligible, while by 3-4 years old, 75-80% of the speech is intelligible. As children grow older, they learn to use more and more speech sounds that may have been difficult to pronounce in the past. A Speech Sound Disorder is diagnosed when a child has difficulty developing these appropriate speech patterns, hindering spoken language productive speech and making communication more frustrating for him/her.

Social Communication Disorder (SCD)

Social Communication Disorder implies a difficulty in using verbal and non-verbal communication for social purposes. Individuals affected may have trouble understanding subtle social cues and contexts necessary for positive experiences with others.

Childhood - Onset Fluency Disorder (Stuttering)

Stuttering/stammering is a form of speech disorder where the flow of speech is disrupted by involuntary repetition and prolongation of sounds, syllables, words or phrases, as well as unintentional blocks. Our speech-language therapists use formal assessment tools and clinical observations to determine severity of stuttering/stammering. Based on these results, the therapists would then be able to make individualised intervention goals for the child.

Assessment

The Speech Therapist will conduct an assessment during the first session. A number of procedures will be carried out to elicit and observe your child’s strengths and challenges in communication.

Standardised assessment tools available include:
  • Clinical Evaluation of Language Fundamentals - Fourth Edition (CELF-4)
  • Preschool Language Scale - Fifth Edition (PLS-5)
  • Westby Symbolic Play Scale (WSPS)
  • Goldman-Fristoe Test of Articulation (GFTA)

Intervention

Our Speech Therapists use both evidence-based treatment protocols, all tailored to your child’s individual needs. The therapy sessions are carried out in an engaging and meaningful manner, and treatment programmes are designed to involve the entire family.

Our Speech Therapists are trained in various evidence-based approaches, such as:

"It Takes Two to Talk" Hanen Parent Training Program

It Takes Two to Talk™ is a well-known model of family-focused early language intervention for young children with expressive and/or receptive language difficulties. The goal of this workshop is to empower parents to become their child’s primary verbal behaviour facilitator, thereby maximising the child’s opportunities for communication development in everyday situations. “It Takes Two to Talk” is best suited to treating late-talking toddlers and preschool-age children with specific language impairment and children with cognitive and developmental delays under the age of five.

“More Than Words” Hanen Parent Training Program

More Than Words™, is a family-focused program that equips parents of children under the autism spectrum. Here, parents learn to help their children connect and communicate meaningfully with the world around him.

Oral - Placement Therapy

Oral Placement Therapy targets specific movements needed for improving speech clarity and feeding. Therapists may use tools (e.g. chewy tubes, straws, horns) to facilitate development of oral motor skills. It is one aspect of an oral motor therapy program that works on the motor components used in feeding and speech.

Note: Oral Placement Therapy is always used together with traditional speech therapy methods so that a child's oral-motor skills may be functionally applied to different settings.

Alternative and Augmentative Communication (AAC)

Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) is a range of training protocols that can be used for individuals who struggle with verbal expressive communication.

AAC devices may be used to facilitate communication and language development. Devices range from “no-tech” options (e.g. a communication board printed on paper) to “low-tech” (e.g. a little Mack) to “high-tech” devices (e.g. Proloquo2go on the iPad or tablets). The Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS) is one of the most widely-accepted AAC protocols.

Prompts for Restructuring Oral Muscular Phonetic Targets (PROMPT)

PROMPT is an acronym for Prompts for Restructuring Oral Muscular Phonetic Targets. The technique is an approach that uses touch cues to a child’s articulators (jaw, tongue, lips) to manually guide them through a targeted word, phrase or sentence. The technique develops motor control and the development of proper oral muscular movements, while eliminating unnecessary muscle movements, such as jaw sliding and inadequate lip rounding.