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Speech therapy. I had avoided it for a while. I hoped that my child would grow out of his struggles with pronunciation.
But by his sixth birthday, it was obvious that he’d need a little extra help with his /r/, /l/, /s/ and /th/ sounds.
We discussed my concerns with our doctor and she recommended speech therapy. She gave us a list of options in our area and I started calling around.
Everywhere I called there was a six-month waiting list — or longer!
Frustrated, I started researching alternatives to traditional speech therapy.
That’s when I stumbled upon Great Speech, an online speech therapy service provided virtually through safe and secure video conferencing technology.
Intrigued, I set up a free consultation to learn more.
I spoke with the founder and clinical director of Great Speech, Avivit Ben-Aharon. Avivit is so kind and really took the time to listen to my concerns and answer all of my questions.
We decided to move forward with an evaluation and enroll my son in online speech therapy.
I’ll be honest, the first couple of times he met with his speech therapist, he was less than thrilled to have his playtime interrupted for “speech class” (as he calls it). I was so nervous that this wasn’t going to work.
BUT… His speech therapist is amazing (Shout out to Ms. Brooke!) and she quickly built a strong rapport with him. She learned about his love of animals and now almost all of his speech therapy sessions are centered around animals and endangered species.
He looks forward to his sessions every single week and has SO much fun.
I’m so impressed with how patient she is and how quickly she gained his trust. I wasn’t sure if he could build a bond with someone he only knew from video sessions, but he definitely has!
Does online speech therapy really work?
How effective is online speech therapy?
Telemedicine and Telehealth are becoming increasingly popular, and studies have shown that online speech therapy is just as effective as traditional, face-to-face therapy.
However, I was still skeptical.
But, in just a few months, my child has mastered his /l/ sound and is moving on to the /s/ sound! We’re thrilled with his progress and can really tell a difference in his articulation, too.
7 Benefits of Online Speech Therapy with GreatSpeech.com
1 – You don’t have to travel to an office
We live in a rural part of North Carolina. Virtually everything is a 30-45 minute drive for us. If we committed to in-person speech therapy, we’d be spending a minimum of 1-1.5 hours in the car per week traveling back and forth.
Online speech therapy with Great Speech saves us tons of money on gas and saves us the headache of getting stuck in traffic and spending tons of time in the car.
2 – Minimal distractions
At a traditional speech therapy center, there are so many distractions. There are people coming in and out, doors opening and closing, babies crying…the list goes on and on.
This can be especially difficult for a child who has a short attention span or who feels anxious in new environments.
With virtual speech therapy, kids are in their home — where they’re the most comfortable and can learn more easily.
3 – It’s easier when juggling multiple kids
As a mom of three, having to haul all three kids to a therapy office would be a huge ordeal. Not only is getting three kids dressed and in the car a huge undertaking, but I’d also then have to keep the other two entertained and occupied while we wait for their brother to have his appointment.
With Great Speech, I don’t have to disrupt my toddler’s naptime routine. My older child can be upstairs doing her homework while her brother is doing online speech therapy.
(And I can be in the next room cooking dinner! Win!)
4 – Better time flexibility
With traditional speech therapy, there’s often a waiting list and you generally have to take an appointment whenever you can get it…and usually during normal business hours.
One huge benefit of virtual speech therapy with Great Speech is that you can start right away AND you have the option of making appointments in the evening or on the weekends.
5 – You can do speech therapy anywhere
If you’re a family who travels frequently, online speech therapy with Great Speech is an amazing solution. Your kiddo will be able to do speech therapy anywhere there’s an internet connection and a webcam! (Grandparents house, hotel, etc.)
My kiddo spends a lot of time at my mom and dad’s, so it’s wonderful we don’t have to schedule his trips around his speech schedule. He just hops on my dad’s laptop to have his session from their house.
6 – It’s safe and effective
Great Speech uses Zoom, which is a safe and secure video-conferencing platform. No fancy equipment is needed, just an internet connection and a computer with any simple webcam, audio speakers, and microphone.
Great Speech is HIPPA compliant and keeps all personally identifiable information secure and encrypted environment.
7. It’s affordable
Our insurance doesn’t cover speech therapy and many people have insurance with a crazy-high deductible. The cost of online speech therapy is more affordable for us than paying out of pocket for an in-person speech therapist.
(Plus we’re saving money on gas since we don’t have to travel back and forth!)
Feel free to leave me a comment if you have any questions about our experience!
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Join pediatric speech-language pathologist Laura Mize of teachmetotalk.com as she demonstrates effective strategies for using books in speech therapy for toddlers with speech-language delays.
If you’ve picked up any parenting book or studied anything related to educating children for at least 5 minutes, you know that you should be reading to a young child pretty much from the time he exits the womb…
That’s fantastic advice for all parents and books are certainly a wonderful choice for speech-language pathologists who work with young children.
There’s no wrong way or right way to go about reading to a young child who is meeting all of her developmental milestones. You read. She listens. She understands. She talks. End of story. That’s typical development.
BUT using a few special strategies with toddlers with speech-language, cognitive, and other developmental delays can make books exponentially better teaching tools!
By changing HOW we read to a toddler who is having difficulty learning to understand and use words, we can help him link meaning to words and eventually begin to use those words to talk.
I’ve also had incredible success using books to teach young children to play with toys. Most toddlers, even some who aren’t yet talking, have no difficulty learning to play. However, many of our little friends with developmental delays don’t instinctively understand what to do with toys until we teach them. Young children who are on the autism spectrum or who are at risk for autism really struggle with developing and expanding their play skills. They may prefer to line up or spin a toy or hoard a group of toys rather than play. Toddlers with cognitive delays may chew, throw, or ignore a toy, much like a younger baby would, rather than play purposefully.
I hope you notice a predominant strategy is REPETITION! Toddlers need to hear things over and over and over in order to learn how to understand and then say a new word! I’ll include the other “themes” and special techniques in a follow up post…
Read more here:http://teachmetotalk.com/2014/12/16/using-books-teach-toddlers-language-play-video-teachmetotalk-com/
Audio/speech therapy (adults)
Adults with hearing loss who have improved their communication skills report additional benefits that include improved relationships with families and co-workers; better self-esteem; improved mental health, and greater independence and security.
The goal of an auditory-therapy program is for a hard or hearing or deaf adult to make the best use of whatever hearing they have, also known as their residual hearing. This individualized program may be recommended if:
- Your audiologist has told you that your word recognition skills are poorer than would be expected based on your audiogram.
- You have essentially good listening skills in quiet settings, but experience inordinate difficulty comprehending speech from a distance or in the presence of background noise.
- You are experiencing difficulty adjusting to the use of a hearing aid or cochlear implant.
Audio therapy helps the person with hearing loss to practice listening and repeating sentences, which are read aloud, without looking at the speaker. The speech-language pathologist, following an evaluation, makes treatment recommendations based on an individual’s specific needs. The ultimate goal is to maximize communication competence for everyday communication.
Speech and language evaluation/therapy
Individual speech and/or language therapy may be needed by those individuals who were born with a hearing loss or who have experienced long-standing early onset hearing loss. The focus of this program is to improve an individual’s oral language skills and may include:
- Vocabulary development and usage
- Voice production
- Articulation improvement.
English-as-a-second-language (ESL) therapy
ESL therapy uses a one-on-one approach incorporating vocabulary and grammar, with the goal that the individual produces English language sounds accurately enough to be understandable to others. ESL (English as a Second Language) therapy helps people with hearing loss build fundamental vocabulary, listening and speaking skills in English
CHC has one of the only programs in the United States that offer English as a Second Language (ESL) to individuals who are deaf and hard of hearing. The Center has provided ESL service to people who speak Russian, Chinese, and numerous other foreign languages.
ESL is offered to adults who have functional spoken language skills in their native language but minimal proficiency in English. People with hearing loss who experience significant difficulty hearing clearly and understanding in large classroom settings, at a distance from speakers, in groups and where there is interference of background noise have extreme difficulty in cannot benefit and learn in typical adult education settings. The program at CHC is offered individually or in small groups where there is the opportunity for slow presentation and repetition of language. An eclectic approach is used, and the program is designed with an individual’s specific needs or vocational goals in mind.
I’m no expert in speech therapy, but because of the work we do here at the Orange Effect Foundation, I often get asked a lot of questions that I honestly don’t know the answer to! So I took some of the top questions and posed them to the real experts… speech therapists! Their insight is so valuable and I can’t thank them enough for their time to help out!
Today’s question is how can you do speech therapy with a toddler who is delayed???
I get this question all the time! And LOVE to answer it. First, it is important to know that speech-language pathologists (SLPs) do not only address “speech” or pronunciation. We talk about “speech” as being how we say sounds and words (articulation, voice, fluency) and “language” as the words we use to share thoughts and ideas and get what we need (auditory comprehension and expressive communication). We are truly communication specialists. A toddler may show red flags for a developmental delay in the area of communication, and SLPs are trained to facilitate and enhance their learning of communication skills. Children naturally learn through play. Using a toddler’s natural environment, we can set up structured situations that lead to productions of the goals we are trying to address, whether it is speech or language. At the same time, having the parent involved in the therapy is critical. By educating the parent and providing them with information and resources to improve their child’s communication skills, we are empowering that parent to continue “speech therapy” throughout the day and week until their next appointment. By doing the natural things we do with toddlers; talking to them, playing simple games, reading books, we are encouraging and enhancing their speech and language abilities.
-Sarah Baker, MS CCC-SLP, owner and clinical director of Baker Speech Clinic in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
Use of child directed play based therapy is the key with a toddler, paired intensively with parent teaching within the session. The parent being in the session and learning from the therapy process is critical as it lays the foundation for the future of the child’s growth and development. My core technique of choice is Floortime/DIR (Stanley Greenspan, MD, Developmental Individual differences Relationship based model of therapy).
-Mary Padula, MA, CCC/SLP, TLP-C/BC-C, Neurodevelopment Program Consultant for Person Centered Therapies, Inc. in Stow, Ohio and author of Navigating the Therapy World.
For a toddler that has a language delay, I use play based therapy and Hanen Language Principles to teach parents how to model language and work with their child. The Cleveland Hearing & Speech Center (CHSC) runs two parent toddler groups to help toddlers who are delayed with their language (not talking yet or don’t have enough words for their age). For example, in the parent toddler groups we “allow the children to lead,” letting them pick toys they want to play with. By doing this, children are more motivated to talk and do what we ask them to do. While they play, we provide simple language models and use target vocabulary to help the children. It is also important to get down on the child’s level and stay face to face with him/her, so he/she can watch your mouth.
–Lauren Masuga, M.A. CCC-SLP Senior Speech-Language Pathologist for The Cleveland Hearing & Speech Center in Cleveland, Ohio.
SO, the answer is YES!!! The experts have spoken and even shared a few skills and strategies. As we know from research such as conducted by Autism Speaks, early intervention is effective. If you or someone you know isn’t sure if their child needs speech therapy maybe this post will help!
More to come from our speech experts in upcoming posts!