Communication Assessment and Intervention
The Speech Pathology team are dedicated to ensuring they have the most up-to-date knowledge and often participate in pre-release testing for new tests. We have been involved in the CELF-5, CLEF-P3 and Bayley-4 standardisation projects and will participate in the CELF-P3 standardisation test in the coming months. Our comprehensive assessments will analyse your child’s receptive (comprehension) and expressive language skills, including vocabulary, sentence structure and discourse; articulation of sounds; oral function; feeding; voice; reading and written language or pre-literacy skills and social interaction ability. These findings are presented in a comprehensive report with specific recommendations.
The Beautiful Spectrum of Language Development
Language development, an intriguing and unique journey for each child, typically begins in infancy. Children naturally explore and absorb the world of words, sounds, and gestures around them. This journey is not a straight path; it comes with its curves and bends, reflecting the individuality of each child.
Receptive language skills involve understanding and interpreting language. From recognising simple labels and functions of objects to discerning associations between them, children gradually build on their comprehension. As they mature, they learn to understand multiple meanings, interpret information from conversations and stories, and draw inferences and predictions.
However, not all children follow the same pace or pattern in their receptive language development. Some may struggle to comprehend instructions or answer questions, often misinterpreted as attention or behavioural problems. Recognising these unique learning paths is crucial, as it allows for early support, preventing the child from feeling overwhelmed or isolated.
Expressive Language: Individual Styles and Challenges
Expressive language, the ability to articulate thoughts, feelings, and information, is another aspect of communication that varies among children. It’s a part of self-expression and allows children to communicate their understanding of the world.
Children with expressive language differences may take longer to say their first words or form sentences, find it challenging to use the correct grammar or find the ‘right’ word, or struggle with storytelling and writing tasks. Their way of expressing themselves might involve non-specific language, simpler sentences, or an unconventional use of descriptive words in their stories.
Developmental Language Disorder (DLD)
When children experience significant differences in their language development that are not associated with any known biomedical condition, they may be described as having Developmental Language Disorder (DLD). DLD is amongst the most prevalent developmental variations, impacting 1 in 14 children. DLD can be considered an invisible lifelong disability, characterised by a person’s unique ways of understanding and/or expressing language. Although DLD seems to have biological and genetic roots, its precise cause remains undetermined. Children with DLD often demonstrate diverse learning styles. They are statistically more likely to experience challenges with mathematical concepts and with. It’s also not uncommon for these children to have concurrent conditions such as learning difficulties, ADHD, dyslexia, or mental health issues. With appropriate support that recognises and celebrates their unique strengths and addresses their specific needs, individuals with DLD can thrive in all aspects of life.
At Capable Kids, we believe that every child’s communication style is unique and valuable. We offer supportive strategies and tools to help children with language differences navigate their communication journey and achieve their goals. Our approach Speech Pathologists develop individualised support plans based on the child’s unique strengths, interests and preferences. In some cases, we may introduce alternative communication methods, such as sign language or speech-generating devices, depending on the child’s preference and comfort. We also engage parents and caregivers, offering them strategies to support their child’s language journey at home. Early recognition and support for children with language differences and DLD are essential.
Speech and Articulation Therapy
Children with speech delay or disorder have difficulty articulating the sounds required to form words and sentences. These children may not have babbled as infants, and may drop sounds off words, leave whole parts out of words or substitute sounds in words. This makes it difficult for others to understand them, leading to frustration and possible social isolation. Speech sound delays and disorders should be treated as early as possible, as there is a great deal of research to suggest that children with speech sound difficulties are at a significantly higher risk of having literacy and reading difficulties once they start school.
Capable Kids can provide therapy using the following techniques:
- Phonological therapy approaches
- Articulation therapy approaches
- Cued articulation
- Nuffield Centre Dyspraxia Programme
Stuttering is also characterised by prolongations of sounds (I took too long) or blocking, where the person speaking can’t get anything out. Research suggests the when treated early before a child goes to school, stuttering can be completely or significantly remediated. However, as a child gets older, it becomes significantly more difficult to treat. Some children will grow out of stuttering; however, the likelihood of this decreases if your child has been stuttering for more than 6 months, or if there is a family history of stuttering. We currently use a number of treatment protocols which are selected for each individual child based on their needs, family situation, length and type of stuttering. These include the Lidcombe Program, the Westmead Program, self-imposed time out and prolonged speech techniques.
Reading and literacy difficulties impact on all areas of a child’s academic progress as well as their confidence in social situations. Literacy difficulties are extremely treatable and should be addressed as soon as possible.
Capable Kids uses the following techniques to develop your child’s literacy skills:
• Phonological Awareness Therapy
• Reading comprehension therapy including Cars and Stars.
• Lindamood Bell LiPS program
• Spelling instruction
This can cause challenges in one-on-one, group play and learning situations. These difficulties may include difficulties with turn-taking, impulsivity, perspective taking and relating to other people. Capable Kids use various social skills programs and techniques, including the Secret Agent Society and PEERS program. At Capable Kids, we respect that different neurotypes have different communication styles, which are equally valid. For many of our older clients, we describe these differences as similar to that of an X-Box and Play Station; both are excellent systems but operate on slightly different codes. When developing social communication goals, we do so with the family and young person, with the understanding that learning social skills outside of your natural communication style is like learning a new language. It can be a valuable skill when needed, but it does not always have to be used and can be exhausting.
Therefore, a lot of what we do in social skills interventions is educating and advocating for understanding different ways to interact socially and recognising that these are equally valid.
There are many other voice disorders that may rise in children as well and with consultation from your ENT and potential subsequent voice therapy we aim to alleviate or remove the vocal pathology and the qualities of the voice that impact on a child’s development and wellbeing. Qualities in a child’s voice that may indicate a voice disorder include, hoarseness, breathiness, strain, and a loss of voice. Voice therapy includes a range of indirect therapies such as assessing a child’s vocal hygiene (i.e. vocal habits) and direct therapies such as vocal exercises to promote safe and efficient usage of your child’s vocal cords.