Frequently Asked Questions


Q: Should I worry if my child stutters?

A:   Many children go through what is considered normal dysfluency when they are experiencing growth in expressive language of speech.  Children often repeat words or phrases as they learn to talk or when they are excited or tired.  Normal dysfluency is most commonly found between the ages of 2 and 6, because this is when sentence length and complexity are increasing.  If your child is experiencing dysfluency for more than six months, then consultation with a speech/language pathologist is warranted.


Q: How can I help my child learn to talk and expand their vocabulary?

A:  A language disorder involved many different facets that can be identified through an evaluation. Depending on a child’s specific areas of weakness, a language disorder generally has an adverse effect on nearly every school subject.


Q: How can a language disorder impact academic achievement?

(1) Early/Elementary Years
In the early grades, children are learning to read and depend on picture clues to decode words. When a seemingly common word (i.e. fence) is hard for a child to identify or name, picture clues are not an effective means for decoding. As a result, identifying the unknown word becomes a series of guesses. By the time the child is able to pronounce and read the word, he/she no longer recalls the other details in a sentence. Ultimately, these deficits can lead to poor reading comprehension.


(2) Middle School/High School Years
In the older years, when children are no longer learning to read but reading to learn, social studies and science are even further affected. Children are often tested on their ability to understand terms by a true/false, fill-in-the-blank or matching format. As they become overwhelmed, test performance is generally poor. Language Arts may also be an area of concern, as children with language disorders do not understand more abstract concepts. Specifically, terms such as “to,” “two” and “too” are difficult to distinguish in meaning, and idioms (i.e. window shopping) are interpreted literally.

If you are concerned about your child’s academic achievement, discuss the specifics with the classroom teacher and try to develop a plan to prevent frustration. Further, if your child continues to struggle, and has not been diagnosed with a learning difference/language delay, you may request an academic evaluation from the school district. The earlier intervention, the better the chance your child will have to be successful, socially and academically.


Q: How will my child’s articulation errors affect their academics?

A:  As children enter kindergarten, there are three primary objectives which a teacher would like to see accomplished.  In order to be successful, kindergarten students must learn how to socialize with peers and develop pre-reading and pre-writing skills.  A foundation must be in place for each successive grade.

Aspects of pre-reading and pre-writing skills include learning letter-sound association.  Children must be able to state the sound each letter makes.  Children with articulation errors often struggle to make the correct sound.

If a child substitutes a "T" for the "S" sound in conversational speech, the same may hold true when trying to decode unknown words.  When presented with "sell," the child may interpret it as "tell."  Peers may also have difficulty understanding those with articulation errors; therefore, socialization may also be affected.  It is important for others to pay attention to the message rather than to how it may be misarticulated.


Q: What does "oral-motor" mean?

A: The term oral-motor refers to evaluating the structure and function of the face, mouth and underlying musculature.  For example: What does your child's face and mouth look like?  How does your child move their face and mouth?  How well can your child imitate facial movement?  If your child is not talking (or drinking or eating) at an age when they should be able to, and area your therapists should assess is "oral-motor."


Q: What does developmental delay mean?

A: Developmental delay means development that lags behind established developmental milestones/sequences.  Development is influenced by environmental factors as well as the child's genetic make-up.  Skills are generally acquired in a sequence that is predictable; however, each child's development is unique.  Each new skill lays the foundation for the next more complex and sophisticated skill or series of skills.  A delay occurs when developmental skills are not acquired within normal and expected age ranges.


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