What to expect when you visit the lab: Speech Treatment

Once your child has completed our initial speech and language evaluation and we have determined that he/she would be a good candidate for our speech treatment program, we would start that as soon as possible. We prefer that your child not receive speech treatment from other service providers (e.g., schools or hospitals) during the duration of his/her participation in our research program. This additional treatment can negatively impact the efficacy of our research program.

We provide free one-on-one speech treatment to children primarily between the ages of 3 and 7. Children typically attend our speech treatment program twice a week for an hour each session. Each of our treatment programs lasts 10-15 weeks. It is possible that your child can participate in more than one of our treatment programs, with participation lasting up to two years.

We believe that the sound targets and words chosen for speech treatment can greatly impact how successful a speech treatment program is. As such, we follow the Complexity approach to speech treatment target selection, meaning that we prefer to target complex, late-acquired sounds (e.g., “r” or “th”) when possible with our clients.

Our treatment speech treatment program is literacy based, meaning that the words we use in intervention are first taught to your child in a storybook context.

We are currently examining the treatment efficacy of using Tier Two, academic vocabulary words, which many young children do not know or produce. The lack of exposure to these words is seen as a benefit since children will not have any associated "bad practice". This means that instead of having to first address incorrect production patterns associated with common and familiar words, speech treatment can immediately focus on the production of the target sound.

Here is an example of a child using the word consume in treatment.

Here is an example of a child using the word threaten in treatment.

Our treatment activities are based on your child’s interests. We have a wide array of board/card games, crafts, gross motor activities, and iPad apps that we can use in treatment. Our goal is to keep your child happy and engaged, as progress often comes faster and easier when children are willing and motivated participants in treatment.

We use a variety of tools to help children achieve maximal results in treatment. While every child is different, a variety of tongue-placement tools, such as Speech Buddies, have been somewhat useful in helping children learn where to place their tongue in their mouth.

We also believe that the ability to perceive speech sounds can impact how well children can produce speech sounds. As a result, we are incorporating an auditory perception feedback device, Forbrain, in our treatment.

Here is an example of a child using Forbrain on the first day of treatment. Note that this child was working on nonsense “r” words.

Here is the same child about one month into speech treatment with Forbrain.

Here is the same child at the end of a three-month speech treatment program with Forbrain.