Village Pediatric Speech Assoc. provides Speech-Language therapy for children birth to 21 years old. Below are listed some of the more common disorders we specialize in. Please call if you have questions regarding therapy, diagnosis, treatment, or referrals.
Autism Spectrum Disorder
Autism statistics from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) identify around 1 in 88 American children as on the autism spectrum- a huge increase in numbers in the last four decades. Research shows this increase is only partly explained by improved diagnosis and greater awareness. Studies also show that autism is four to five times more common with boys than girls. An estimated 1 out of every 54 boys and 1 in 252 girls are diagnosed with autism in the U.S.
Autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) are a group of developmental disabilities caused by a problem with the brain. Scientists do not know yet exactly what causes this problem. ASDs can impact a person’s functioning at different levels, from very mildly to severely. There is usually nothing about how a person with an ASD looks that sets them apart from other people, but they may communicate, interact, behave, and learn in ways that are different from most people. The thinking and learning abilities of people with ASDs can vary – from gifted to severely-challenged. Autistic disorder is the most commonly known type of ASD, but there are others, including “pervasive developmental disorder-not otherwise specified” (PDD-NOS) and Asperger Syndrome.
Each individual with autism is unique. Many of those on the autism spectrum have exceptional abilities in visual skills, music and academic skills. About 40 percent have average to above average intellectual abilities. Indeed, many persons on the spectrum take deserved pride in their distinctive abilities and “atypical” ways of viewing the world. Others with autism have significant disabilities and are unable to live independently. About 25 percent of individuals with ASD are nonverbal but can learn to communicate using other means.
People with ASDs may have problems with social, emotional, and communication skills. They might repeat certain behaviors and might not want change in their daily activities. Many people with ASDs also have different ways of learning, paying attention, or reacting to things. ASDs begin during early childhood and last throughout a person’s life.
A child or adult with an ASD might:
■ not play “pretend” games (pretend to “feed” a doll)
■ not point at objects to show interest (point at an airplane flying over)
■ not look at objects when another person points at them
■ have trouble relating to others or not have an interest in other people at all
■ avoid eye contact and want to be alone
■ have trouble understanding other people’s feelings or talking about their own feelings
■ prefer not to be held or cuddled or might cuddle only when they want to
■ appear to be unaware when other people talk to them but respond to other sounds
■ be very interested in people, but not know how to talk, play, or relate to them
■ repeat or echo words or phrases said to them, or repeat words or phrases in place of normal language (echolalia)
■ have trouble expressing their needs using typical words or motions
■ repeat actions over and over again
■ have trouble adapting when a routine changes
■ have unusual reactions to the way things smell, taste, look, feel, or sound
■ lose skills they once had (for instance, stop saying words they were using)
Talk with your child’s doctor or nurse. It’s ok to ask questions, discuss your concerns and obtain feedback. Be pro-active, early intervention is the greatest key to success. If you or your doctor think there could be a problem, ask for a referral to see a developmental pediatrician or other specialist. Our Speech-Language Pathologists are trained and experienced in working with children with ASD and would love to offer assistance.
Receptive Expressive Language Disorders
Language disorder in children refers to problems with either:
- Getting their meaning or message across to others (expressive language disorder), or
- Understanding the message coming from others (receptive language disorder)
Some children only have an expressive language disorder. Others have a mixed receptive-expressive language disorder, meaning that they have symptoms of both conditions.
Children with language disorders are able to produce sounds, and their speech can be understood.
For most infants and children, language develops naturally beginning at birth. To develop language, a child must be able to hear, see, understand, and remember. Children must also have the physical ability to form speech.
Up to 1 out of every 20 children has symptoms of a language disorder. When the cause is unknown, it is called a developmental language disorder.
Problems with receptive language skills usually begin before age 4. Some mixed language disorders are caused by a brain injury, and these are sometimes misdiagnosed as developmental disorders.
Language disorders may occur in children with other developmental problems, autistic spectrum disorders, hearing loss, and learning disabilities. A language disorder may also be caused by damage to the central nervous system, which is called aphasia.
Language disorders are rarely caused by a lack of intelligence.
Language disorders are different than delayed language. With delayed language, the child develops speech and language in the same way as other children, but later. In language disorders, speech and language do not develop normally. The child may have some language skills, but not others. Or, the way in which these skills develop will be different than usual.
Many young children have difficulty with communication at some time in their lives. Most will eventually catch up. However, some will continue to have problems. Communication disorders include speech disorders and language disorders. Speech disorders are discussed in this article. Some general guidelines are also given. This will help you decide if your child needs to be tested by a speech-language pathologist.
A child with a speech disorder may have difficulty with articulation, voice, fluency or any combination of these.
Articulation disorders are indicated when a child’s speech at age 3 cannot be understood by an unfamiliar adult, and additionally, at age 8, when errors in articulation are still evident In some instances, articulation problems may simply represent a delay in muscle development or coordination needed for articulating specific sounds. Articulation problems can also result from a child’s chronic ear infections. Because the child could not clearly hear the speech sounds during the time in which the specific sounds were acquired, he may not have learned how to produce the specific sounds correctly. If this is the case, the Speech-Language Pathologist may request a hearing test.
In other instances, articulation problems may reflect specific physical impairment, such as cleft lip, cleft palate, or tongue-tie, which is known as restrictive lingual frenulum.
Voice – Fluency Disorders
A voice-fluency disorder is a type of speech problem, the primary type being stuttering. Stuttering is characterized by disruptions in the smoothness of speech and most commonly occurs in very young children. Cluttering is another type of voice-fluency disorder, a much less common condition involving speech that is too rapid, has odd pauses and is generally inarticulate.