Speech Therapy

What is an SLP?

SLP stands for Speech-Language Pathologist. SLPs are trained to evaluate and implement treatment
across the lifespan for individuals who have difficulty with a variety of speech, language, and
feeding/swallowing concerns. SLPs have a master’s degree, state licensure, and maintain a national
certification through the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA).

How do I know if my child would benefit from speech therapy?

The best way to determine if your child would benefit from speech therapy is to have them evaluated by a speech-language pathologist. If you have any concerns about your child’s speech and language development, do not hesitate to call PAAC; we would be happy to discuss current milestones and develop an appropriate plan for your child.

What age range does PAAC treat?

Pennsylvania Autism Action Center specializes in pediatric therapy, from about 24 months to 21 years of age. Autism Spectrum Disorder is our specialty, however, it is not a requirement for services.

What does an evaluation consist of and how long will it take?

A comprehensive speech and language evaluation typically lasts about 60 minutes and consists of
standardized assessments and informal evaluation tasks that assess your child’s current, overall speech and language skills (including: articulation, expressive/receptive language, voice, and fluency). Standardized assessments compare your child’s skills to the skills of his/her same-aged peers. This information allows the clinician to develop an individualized treatment plan based on your child’s strengths and areas of concern.

At PAAC, we understand that traditional, structured evaluation methods may not always be the best
way to evaluate the skills of your child. A comprehensive case history, clinical observations, play-based tasks, and a parent interview are always conducted to assist with painting a true picture of your child’s speech and language skills.

What does a typical speech therapy session look like?

Therapy sessions typically range from 30-60 minutes and are individually planned to target your child’s specific speech and language goals. You may see us doing a craft, digging in a sensory bin, or even completing an obstacle course. Therapists often utilize play within therapy sessions because play is an essential part of every child’s daily life and it is how children learn best. We assure you that interactive, language-based activities are motivating, engaging, and promote meaningful speech and language progress. We like to use your child’s interests to our advantage, because play and having fun is linked to learning in children.

What is the difference between speech and language?

Speech is the coordination of muscles and movements needed to produce individual speech sounds and words. Speech includes the areas of articulation, phonology, apraxia, fluency, and voice.
Language is the way that we process and combine words to convey meaningful messages. Language
includes the ability to comprehend, understand, and process verbal or written language (receptive
language) and the organization and production of the words we use to convey meaningful messages
that others can understand (expressive language).

Why can’t we start working on saying words yet?

There are many developmental language skills that children need to learn before they begin
using words. These skills are important and are the foundation for language learning. Any gaps
in these early-language skills can make it difficult for children to learn and use language
appropriately. So, even though your child may not be using any/many words yet, we need to
first target the foundational language skills to set them up for language success. Some of these
early language skills include: reciprocal play, engaging in joint attention, increasing attention
span, appropriate toy play, understanding of early words and directions, imitating actions,
sounds, and words, and initiating interactions with others.

Should I be able to understand everything my child says?

Toddlers are just learning language, which means their communication may not always be easy
to understand. Based on developmental norms, we should be able to understand about 25%-
50% of what an 18-month old says, 50%-75% of what a 24-month old says, and 75%-100% of
what a 36-month old says.

Where can my child receive PAAC’s Speech and Language Therapy?

Speech and language therapy is available at Pennsylvania Autism Action Centers in
Brodheadsville and Jim Thorpe.

Contact Us About Speech and Language Therapy