early intervention speech therapy

“Late Talkers” Who Get Early Intervention Speech Therapy Have Better Long-Term Outcomes

As speech therapy providers, we’re well-acquainted with the fact that “late talkers” can benefit from early intervention. And while there is evidence those who “catch up” continue to be at moderate risk for further speech-language deficits as they get older, research shows those risks even out, ultimately equaling about the same as those who started off with no speech delays at all.

How Do We Define “Late Talker”? 

The American Speech Hearing Association refers to “late talking” as “late language emergence.” It is defined as a delay in language onset when there are no other diagnosed disabilities or other developmental cognitive/motor delays.

It’s estimated 10-20 % of 2-year-olds are late talkers, and it’s three times more common in boys than girls.

Toddlers with late language emergence might have only expressive language delays (the ability to express ones’ self to others). Alternatively, they might have mixed expressive & receptive delays (trouble both expressing one’s self and understanding what other people are expressing to them). Kids with expressive language delays have trouble with things like articulation (how to say words correctly) and sentence structure. A child with mixed expressive and receptive would have trouble with oral language production and language comprehension.

The National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders has a great Speech and Language Milestones Checklist to help you determine if your child’s speech-language is delayed. Our speech therapy clinic in Brecksville also offers free initial screenings, as well as comprehensive testing, as referred by a physician.

Children who are “late talkers” are going to be at risk for literacy troubles as well, and the condition can later show itself to be closely associated with other disabilities, such as social communication disorder, autism spectrum disorder, intellectual disability, learning disability, or attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

Although some kids with late language emergence later prove to be “late bloomers” (who ultimately catch up to their peers without intervention), the differentiation is really only made after the fact. That’s why we recommend all “late talkers” get early intervention speech therapy.

Early Intervention Speech Therapy Helps Late Talkers Catch Up

Speech therapy has been proven to help children with speech-language delays “catch up” to their peers.

One study published in the American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology revealed that kids who received early intervention speech therapy and caught up to their peers were no more likely than any other child to fall behind in language/literacy later in life.

The longitudinal (over time) analysis looked at nearly 3,600 pairs of twins who participated in an early development study. About 9 percent of the twin sets were language delayed at age 2. Of those, 60 percent had “recovered” or “caught up” by the time they reached four years. Those who “recovered” were matched with another 4-year-old participant who matched their same vocabulary, gender, and other characteristics – but who did not have a history of language delay.

What they found was that kids who appeared to have “recovered” by age 4 were at no higher risk than others for language outcomes as they got older.

Further, when a child’s language difficulties are largely resolved by age 5 or 6, their long-term outlook for language development is much better. We also know that early intervention speech therapy can be critical in helping children with late language emergence to “catch up” in the first place.

Therapy & Wellness Connection – your connection to a life without limitations – provides speech therapy to children in Akron, Cleveland, Brecksville-Broadview Heights and surrounding communities. We also offer summer camp, day programs, education services, vocational counseling and more. Call us at (330) 748-4807 or send us an email.

Additional Resources:

What is Early Intervention? ASHA

More Blog Entries:

Does Baby Talk Boost Speech-Language Development? Feb. 1, 2022, Northeast Ohio Speech Therapy Blog

ADHD occupational therapy

Can Occupational Therapy Help Kids With ADHD?

Historically, children with ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) have been treated with medications like Ritalin, Adderall, and Dexadrine. But while these medications can be effective for some kids, they can also have significant adverse side effects. For many kids, occupational therapy can be an effective, holistic alternative, if not a complement, to the use of medications for kids with ADHD. (As always, it’s important to talk to your child’s doctors before making any decisions pertaining to medication.) 

Specifically, research published in the American Journal of Occupational Therapy found that kids with ADHD who were treated with alternative interventions such as a method known as “Cog-Fun” were effective in helping them to lead functional lives in school, home, and other environments of daily living.

What is ADHD?

If you’re reading this, you’re likely aware that ADHD is a condition diagnosed when there is a persistent pattern of inattention and/or hyperactivity-impulsivity interfering with function or development. It’s generally considered a neurological disorder, impacting a person’s executive functions (cognitive skills), emotions, and behavior – impeding developmental progress, academic success, and relationship building.  People with ADHD struggle to remember, plan, and regulate their emotions.

It is often (but not always) diagnosed in childhood and lasts into adulthood. There’s no “cure,” but there are treatments – which will differ for children compared to adults

How is ADHD Treated With Occupational Therapy

Early intervention for kids with ADHD requires inter-disciplinary collaboration from parents and caregivers, teachers, and therapists. Cognitive behavioral interventions -treatment that involves efforts to change thinking patterns – is recommended, the earlier the better. That’s because children’s neuro pathways have yet to form and/or become rigid.

Cleveland speech therapists

Why Our Cleveland Speech Therapists LOVE Repetitive Picture Books for Kids

Any speech-language pathologist will tell you that pretty much all books are amazing tools for encouraging language development in your child. But when it comes to younger kids,  it’s the predictive, repetitive picture books that are best. This is especially true for kids who may be struggling with those speech and language skills. Why, though? As our Cleveland speech therapists can explain, the repetitive nature of these books helps reduce what we call the “cognitive load.” In other words, they don’t have to think so hard to figure out what’s being said and how to say it themselves.

With repetitive picture books, kids get the chance to engage by filling in the words, phrases, and character’s names as the content of the book becomes more familiar – which is easier when it’s simple and repetitive. Bonus points if it rhymes. Repetitive texts are predictable. Lots of kids enjoy predictability because knowing what to expect provides a sense of calm.

When we’re reading to children, it’s a form of engagement and they want to participate. Non-repetitive books can be great too, but studies have shown that with those, kids will try to participate by answering reader questions or imitating the reader’s words – skills that can be really tough for them early on, particularly if they have conditions like childhood apraxia of speech, autism spectrum disorder, or speech-language delays. Repetitive picture books decrease their frustrations, which can boost participation, turn-taking, comprehension – and fun!

Pictures are a necessary component for children’s books because they help introduce new vocabulary in context, aiding comprehension.

Our Cleveland speech therapists use these types of books to target all types of goals, including the skills needed for receptive language (understanding what’s being said), expressive language (using language to express yourself), articulation (proper pronunciation of the words), and fluency (the continuity, smoothness, rate and effort in speech production). If a child has trouble producing certain sounds, the frequent practice provided by repetitive picture books can do wonders.

speech therapists

Speech Therapists Encourage Parents to Read to Kids Early & Often

It’s International Read to Me Day! Our speech therapists know that reading to your kids early and often helps them make tremendous speech & language strides.

The Cuyahoga County Library has TONS of great recommendations for amazing children’s books. Repetitive picture books are great for young children. Find one that captures your child’s interest, settle in for a snuggle, and get reading!

ABA Therapy

ABA Therapy Explainer: What’s a Functional Behavior Assessment?

When your child starts ABA therapy, there are a lot of vocabulary words and acronyms that seem to get thrown around, and it can take some type to truly get a grasp on it all. Functional Behavior Assessment, or FBA, is the one we’re going to focus on here.

A Functional Behavior Assessment is one of the primary ways our behavior therapy team works to identify a certain problem behavior, and then we develop a plan to address them – ultimately eliminating them or at least reducing them to a point they aren’t so prevalent.

Going through the process step-by-step helps our Cleveland ABA therapy team to get to the source of the behaviors so that we can start introducing replacements. The problem with trying to tackle a problem behavior without an FBA is that then you lack the “why.” WHY were they engaging in that behavior in the first place? Every behavior has a function. Trying to effect the extinction of a behavior without first figuring out its function is going to create a gaping opportunity other difficult behaviors to take root in its place. An FBA helps us figure it out first.

FBAs can be used in IEPs or as part of an ABA program. We only initiate them when the behavior has become an impediment. We’ll be looking at it as a team – in collaboration with parents too – to assess whether it’s urgent (is there a risk of harm to self or others?), whether there’s an underlying medical reason, whether it’s cyclical, and if it appears to be new or if this is a long-standing issue that has maybe just gotten worse. Finally, we want to know if this is something that is happening on a consistent basis. If it was a random, one-off reaction to a substantial – and uncommon – change in the environment, we probably don’t need to develop a plan to treat that, though we may note it. In cases where there may be multiple unexpected and detrimental behaviors, we’re likely to target them one at a time, beginning with the one likely to have the most significant adverse outcomes.

Brecksville kids social group

Kids Ages 5-12 Social Group in Brecksville

Therapy & Wellness Connection is proud to offer Thrive Social Group sessions for school-age kids 5-12, every Wednesday from 3:30-4:30 p.m. We incorporate creative play, movement & music while teaching important social skills in this therapist-led group.

Our kids’ social group is offered in 6-week sessions for $180 total. The skills your child will learn and the fun they’ll have will be invaluable! Call today to reserve your child’s spot!

Therapy & Wellness Connection – your connection to a life without limitations – offers speech, occupational, physical & ABA therapy, as well as social groups, summer camp, day programs, homeschooling, alternative schooling, virtual therapy and education, vocational counseling and more. We’re headquartered in Brecksville, Ohio. Call us at (330) 748-4807 or send us an email.

Teen & Young Adult Social Group

Teen & Young Adult Social Group in Brecksville

Our teen & young adult social group at Therapy & Wellness Connection in Brecksville is available to teens and young adults to help with key social skills critical for navigating everyday interactions and making friends. A.I.M. is a therapist-led group that is all about accepting our differences and what makes us unique, identifying mindfulness strategies with behavior analysis, and moving forward with strategies of psychological flexibility and making new friends.

Social Group Every Wednesday

Teen and young adult social skills group is held every Wednesday from 4:30-6 p.m. Call or email Therapy & Wellness Connection in Brecksville to sign up today!

Therapy & Wellness Connection – your connection to a life without limitations – offers speech, occupational, physical & ABA therapy, as well as social groups, summer camp, day programs, homeschooling, alternative schooling, virtual therapy and education, vocational counseling and more. We’re headquartered in Brecksville, Ohio. Call us at (330) 748-4807 or send us an email.

Cleveland autism employment coaching

Study: Visual Training Helps Young Adults With Autism Land Employment

A recent analysis published in the journal Autism found that online, self-guided training may be able to help job-seeking adults with autism land employment. At Therapy & Wellness Connection, we’ve offered vocational services to young adults in Cleveland with autism and other conditions.

We have seen firsthand how a little preparation can go a long way when it comes to job interviews. We also know that many people with autism are visual learners; that’s why strategies like visual schedules are so highly effective when working with kids on the spectrum.

In this new study, researchers from the University of Michigan followed dozens of participants ages 16 yo 26 on the spectrum. About one-third received the standard, school-based, pre-employment vocational services. The rest were given those plus access to a virtual training program specifically designed for kids their age. The program requires those involved to fill out an online application and go through several practice interviews with computerized hiring managers. At the end, they receive feedback from a coach on-screen. This is very similar to the vocational services our occupational therapists provide to our teen and young adult clients – not just with autism, but other conditions.

Brecksville summer camp

Brecksville Summer Camp Full – Sign Up for Waitlist

Our Thrive Brecksville summer camp for kids of all ages & abilities is full for the 2021 season! However, we are still encouraging interested families to submit a registration form to be added to our waitlist. The reason is two-fold: If someone cancels, we’ll go down the waitlist to fill the spot. Secondly, if we get enough interest, we may open an additional section of our therapist-led camp services. Just fill out a regular registration form on our site, and we’ll add you to the waitlist. Feel free to follow up with a phone call to our office to check on the status.

summer camp

Thrive & TWC 2021 Summer Camp Registration Now Open

Registration for Thrive & TWC Summer Camp 2021 is now officially open! Our camp is therapist-led with a high staff-to-camper ratio, and kids of all ages & abilities are welcome! New themes and field trips are scheduled for each week, and families can choose to sign up for just one week, a few weeks or join us for the whole summer!

Weekly themes for 2021 are as follows:

  • Week 1 (June 7-11) Around the World
  • Week 2 (June 14-18) Glow
  • Week 3 (June 21-25) Grow
  • Week 4 (June 28-July 2) Fishing [lower levels] & Outer Space [upper levels]
  • Week 5 (July 5-9) Bill Nye
  • Week 6 (July 12-16) Nature & Me
  • Week 7 (July 19-23) Carnival
  • Week 8 (July 26-30) Under the Sea
  • Week 9 (Aug. 2-6) Habitats & Farm Life
  • Week 10 (Aug. 9-13) Water Week
  • Week 11 (Aug. 16-20) Water Week

To learn more, check out our new Thrive Summer Camp page. The online registration form is available for submission at the bottom of that page. You can also find it at the bottom of the New Patient Forms page.

If you have additional questions, feel free to contact us at thrivecentertwc@gmail.com or call us at (330) 748-4807.