1) My two year old has a few words. Should I have him evaluated?
Yes! Most children say their first "true" words between 12-15 months. On average, a two year old has a large enough single word vocabulary to combine two words together (i.e., want more, mommy go).
2) If my child receives speech services in the school system, then can we also work with a private therapist?
Yes! Many insurance plans will reimburse for private speech therapy. This is a great option to support generalization of communication skills across different settings. Most families also like having continued services through the summer months when school services are often not an option.
3) My child was not found eligible for school speech and language services. Does that mean we cannot see a private therapist?
No! Clinical therapists are not obligated to determine eligibility based on standardized scores. Rather, we can use our "clinical judgment" if we feel that a child may benefit from some supports.
4) My child was found eligible for speech and language services. How long will she need therapy?
Every child presents with different abilities and needs, so it is not possible to determine how long speech therapy services will be required. We want to write treatment goals that can be measured and achieved within one year. If goals are accomplished sooner, then they can be edited or increased in complexity.
5) What is PROMPT? Does my child need a diagnosis of apraxia in order to participate in this approach?
Please follow the link below to the PROMPT Institute website for a detailed description and short video explanation. In short, PROMPT is an evidenced-based approach with proven benefits for children with motor speech disorders such as apraxia or articulation challenges. It also can benefit children who are non-verbal and have significant difficulty imitating speech sounds independently. PROMPT is just one strategy that may be utilized in a treatment session.
6) What is PECS?
PECS stands for: Picture Exchange Communication System
According to their website, "The primary goal of PECS is to teach functional communication. Research has shown that some learners using PECS also develop speech. Others may transition to a speech generating device (SGD). The body of research supporting the effectiveness of PECS as an evidence-based practice is substantial and continues to expand."
PECS supports teaching clients to initiate/begin communication through actions/sounds/words. It is essential that a therapist attend rigorous training in this approach in order to implement it effectively.
7) What does AAC mean?
AAC stands for: alternative/augmentative communication
These supports range from "low tech" options such as using pictures to communicate to "high tech" electronic supports like speech generating devices.