Laura Biegner, M.A. CCC-SLP and Associates have been providing comprehensive, pediatric speech-language services in the Arvada area or northwest Denver area for over 26 years. She specializes and is Board Certified in Fluency (Stuttering) Disorders. Laura and her team also treat Childhood Apraxia of Speech Disorders, Articulation Disorders, and Language Disorders. Additionally, Laura holds a professional license to teach from the Colorado Department of Education. She provides Evaluation, Diagnosis and Treatment for a range of communication disorders.
As a parent or family member, you may be the first to notice differences in your child’s speech development. They may be more difficult to understand and pronounce sounds incorrectly, or substitute sounds for an incorrect sound or omit sounds completely when they speak. Articulation skills involve accurate speed and control in the movements of the jaw, lips and tongue. A child with a great deal of difficulty in planning these movements is at risk for apraxia of speech. A child exhibiting difficulty with the rhythm of speech may demonstrate repetitions, prolongations or hesitations, and is at risk for a stuttering disorder.
To determine if your child is at risk for a language delay two areas are of concern. First, how well does your child understand language? This is referred to as receptive language. Does he remember what is heard and can he follow a set of directions? Does he understand vocabulary and words that refer to concepts? Is your child communicating easily when expressing thoughts and relating events and answering questions? If the answer to these questions is no, your child may be experiencing a receptive and/or an expressive language delay.
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Language based learning disabilities are characterized by difficulty in the areas of reading, spelling and or writing. It is important to remember most children with learning disabilities have average to above average intelligence. The SLP’s role evaluates speaking, listening, reading and writing to help teachers and parents determine if a disability exists. Many children with reading problems present with spoken language problems as well.
The student who presents with dyslexia has difficulties almost exclusively with the written word, impacting their reading and writing. The student with dyslexia as part of a larger language learning disability has difficulty with the spoken and written word.
The diagnosis of APD must be made by an audiologist. It is necessary to determine the type of auditory deficit to accurately treat the specific areas of difficulty. Following the diagnosis, an SLP determines the best course of treatment and may address three areas of focus. Treatment may target changing the learning environment; teaching the student how to compensate for the disorder and remediating the auditory deficit.
A team of healthcare professionals is involved in determining this disability. It is a multi-step process that relies on observations from a developmental pediatrician or neurologist, a psychologist and a speech-language pathologist and typically an occupational therapist. The professionals as well as the information you the parent provide, regarding your child’s development and behavior, determine the diagnosis. It is a lifelong disability that impacts communication and behavior. Research has shown the best chances for significant progress is with early intervention.