Questions Concerning Speech

How do I know my child needs speech therapy?


What is a Speech Therapist?
People ask me this question all the time. Often, people think a speech therapist just helps a kid with his r sound. Although articulation is one area SLPs (Speech-Language Pathologists) work with, it is only one skill needed for communication. An SLP works with individuals who have difficulty communicating. This could mean trouble with producing individual sounds, such as a Speech Sound Disorder. Speech sound disorders include articulation disorders and phonological disorders. A speech therapist also treat individuals who stutter and individuals who have trouble with expressive or receptive language.  Childhood Apraxia of Speech (CAS) is another disorder a speech therapist can diagnosis and treat.

SLP = Speech Language Pathologist.
A speech language pathologist is the title given to a person who typically has a Masters degree in Communication disorders and is licensed by the state to evaluate a persons speech and language skills and provide speech therapy.

SLPA = Speech Language Pathologist Assistant
This is a title given to a person who typically has a Bachelor’s degree in Speech Language Pathology and is licensed by the state to practice and provide speech therapy with supervision.

What is a Language Disorder?
Language is a big part of communication. Understanding what someone says to you as well as being able to express yourself are important parts of everyday life. A speech therapist works with different areas of language. Does your child have difficulty following simple directions, or you know they have something to say but just can’t? These issues could be due to a Language Disorder.

What is a Speech Sound Disorder?
A Speech Sound Disorder is when someone has difficulty making age appropriate sounds needed for speech. This could mean an articulation disorder or a phonological process disorder. For example, a two year old who cannot say her /r/ sound yet, is not something you should be worried about. However, a third grader should be able to produce this sound. An articulation disorder would mean someone has difficulty producing a few sounds, such as /ch/ or /f/. A phonological process disorder would mean a person had difficulty with needed patterns of speech. A child might not say the end consonant of words, such as /t/ for cat and /g/ for dog. The child struggles with a pattern, rather than just the /t/ sound or /g/ sound.

What is Apraxia?
Apraxia is a disorder in which the child has motor planning difficulties. Therapy for Apraxia is different from therapy for other disorders due to the unique nature of Apraxia, or Childhood Apraxia of Speech (CAS). Therapy tends to be more frequent.

What is Stuttering?
Stuttering, or a fluency disorder, is when a person has interruptions during connected speech, or dysfluencies. We all “stutter” from time to time, but for some people, repetitions of syllables or blocks happen all the time. Sometimes you can hear someone talk and here they have difficulty with the fluency of their speech, but other times, you need a professional who can recognize more that just repetitions of syllables.

What do all those initials at the end of my name mean?
M. S. stands for Master’s of Science
CCC means Certificate of Clinical Competence
SLP stands for Speech Language Pathologist


Some red flags in your child’s speech may indicate it’s time to look for a professional who may be able to help.

Has your child suffered from frequent reoccurring ear infections?

Does your child become frustrated when he or she is not understood by others?

Does your child stop talking when his or her words “get stuck?”

Do you feel your child’s inability to follow spoken directions isn’t a just behavior problem?

Can your child say single words fine, but the more words they try to say, it’s harder to understand them?

Does your child seem to not be able to come up with the words needed to tell you something?

Do you have trouble identifying the point of story when your child is trying to tell you what happened at school?

Does your child laugh at age appropriate jokes?

Does your child tend to “stand on the sidelines” when playing with groups of children?

Does Your Child Need Speech Therapy?

Red Flags and Definitions of Speech Therapy

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