Brecksville speech therapy

Brecksville Speech Therapy Team on Social Pragmatic Communication Disorder

Our Brecksville speech therapy team have successfully treated many kids with social pragmatic communication disorder. It’s a condition characterized by significant challenges with both verbal and nonverbal communication used regularly in social settings.

Social-communication trouble can be associated with other communication disorders, but social pragmatic communication disorder has been considered its own thing since 2013, when it was defined under the Diagnostic and Statistical Manuel of Mental Disorders, fifth edition (DSM-5). It’s also separate from neurodevelopmental disorders that are often associated with social communication skills (namely autism). As the Brecksville speech therapy team at Therapy & Wellness Connection can explain, that means someone with autism may have social pragmatic communication disorders, but not all do and not everyone with a social pragmatic communication disorder is on the autism spectrum. Someone on the autism spectrum with this condition would receive different supports and treatment compared to someone solely with one or the other.

As defined in the new DSM-5 (specifically DSM5 315.39 (F80.89) ), social pragmatic communication disorder involves persistent difficulties in the social use of verbal and nonverbal communication, as manifested by all of the following:

  • Deficits in communicating for social purposes (greeting someone, sharing information, saying goodbye, etc.).
  • Difficulty changing one’s communication style to match the context or needs of the listener. For example, a child would need to communicate differently in a classroom with a teacher than they would on the playground with a friend. They wouldn’t use formal language playing on a jungle gym, etc.
  • Trouble following the rules for conversations and storytelling. Some examples our Brecksville speech therapy team can note off the top of our heads would be things like turn-taking in conversations, rephrasing something that’s misunderstood, or knowing how to use a nonverbal signal to regulate an interaction.
  • Excessive talking or interfering with others’ conversations.
  • Trouble understanding things that aren’t stated explicitly or difficulty with ambiguous, nonliteral language (humor, idioms, multiple meanings, etc.).

Although the onset of these symptoms are likely to surface in the early developmental period, they may not fully manifest until social communication demands exceed their capacities. Ultimately, we may see this impact their ability to make and maintain friendships, participate in teach sports, and excel in academics.

The most common areas of difficulty are those pertaining to social interactions, understanding others, nonverbal communication, and language processing. A person with this condition might have trouble understanding certain tones of voice, effectively sharing their own ideas or thoughts, or interpreting what someone else is saying not only based on their words but body language, etc. They may not use nonverbal gestures like pointing or waiving. They might have trouble keeping track of the topic that’s being discussed or finding ways to use the appropriate words in a conversation.

The main difference between social pragmatic communication disorder and autism is that ASD involves specific characteristic behaviors (i.e., intense/obsessive focus on a certain topic, frequent repetitive behaviors, disruptive behaviors, sensory issues, etc.).

A child who is diagnosed with ASD but doesn’t have some of those restrictive, repetitive, disruptive behaviors may need to be reevaluated for social pragmatic communication disorder. It’s a condition most commonly diagnosed in children, but can be diagnosed in adulthood as well.

Brecksville Speech Therapy Treatment for Social Pragmatic Communication Disorder

Treatment for this condition focuses on improving functional communication that’s need to effectively navigate social settings.

Our speech therapists at TWC work to identify the issues that are most challenging for the child, discover their interests, and then find ways to utilize those interests to engage them in mastering these skills to overcome social obstacles.

We first work on practicing those skills in a clinical setting – maybe even engaging other kids and therapists to participate – and then working to help kids generalize those skills as they progress.

Therapy & Wellness Connection – your connection to a life without limitations – provides ABA 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:

Diagnostic Criteria for Social (Pragmatic) Communication Disorder, Indiana Resource Center for Autism

More Blog Entries:

How Akron Speech Therapy Can Help With Auditory Processing Disorder, Oct. 27, 2022, Brecksville Speech Therapy Blog

Akron speech therapist

Akron Speech Therapist Tips for That Tricky “R” Sound

“Arrgh, matey!” Did you know the R sound has as many as 32 sound type variations in the English North American accent. As any Akron speech therapists can tell you, R is one of the most commonly used sounds in the English language – but it’s also one of the trickiest.

The R sound is one of the last to be mastered by kids. It starts around age 3, but it often only matures by age 6 or 7. There is actually a scientific and medical term associated with the difficulty in pronouncing the R sound. Rhotacism is difficulty or inability to produce the /r/ sound. It usually ends up sounding more like a W sound. (Longtime media maven Barbara Walters is a good example.)

There are eight phonetic combinations (consonant + vowel sound) that include the letter R. These include:

  • AIR as in warehouse
  • ER as in Weather
  • IRE as in Tire
  • AR as in Car
  • EAR as in Beer
  • OR as in More
  • RL as in Twirl
  • Prevocalic (beginning of the word) as in Red

Akron Speech Therapist on Why R is So Hard

Some factors that make the R sound so hard to acquire:

  • The variations of sound. As mentioned before, R has lots of them. And learning to pronounce the R in “red” isn’t the same as learning to correctly pronounce the R in “her” – and visa versa.
  • There’s no easy “landmark” to help pronounce it. An Akron speech therapist can demonstrate, but essentially, sounds like the hard “T” are fairly easy to produce because we can teach the child to touch their tongue to the roof of their mouth behind their teeth. If you’re trying to produce the “P” sound, we can practice putting the lips together before pushing out the air/sound. “R” is more difficult because there isn’t any clear position for one’s tongue or teeth or lips in order to accurately make the sound.
  • There’s more than one correct way to pronounce “R” sounds. When everyone’s “P’s” and “T’s” probably sound almost exactly the same, the “R’s” are tougher.

When your child is first learning to talk, it sounds cute to hear them pronounce Rs as Ws, but if you don’t correct it, it can become a problem as they get older.

Practicing Those Tricky R Sounds

Practice makes perfect. If your child needs to exercise those R sound muscles, try the following activities:

  • Pretend to be animals. practice roaring like a lion or growling like a bear.
  • Play pirates and have them practice that R sound while wearing an eye patch.
  • Connect it to a vowel sound. R sounds (and consonants in general) are often easier to produce this way. Have them start with a vowel sound like “eeeee,” hold it for a few seconds, and then teach them slowly to combine it with that R sound.
  • Find opportunities in everyday tasks. For instance, at the grocery store or in a restaurant, look for chances to have them say R sound words (Sprite, grapes, grilled, corn, etc.).
  • Use the TV or technology as a tool. When your child is watching a show or playing a game, listen to the names of the characters or certain tasks and have them repeat certain R word phrases back to you.
  • Incorporate a reward. Your child may be more inclined to participate in these activities if they know there is a reward afterward – or if the activity itself is a type of reward (such as screen time).

If you have questions about R sound difficulties or ways to practice, an Akron speech therapist can help!

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:

Speech Sound Disorders-Articulation and Phonology, American Speech-Language Hearing Association (ASHA)

More Blog Entries:

Cleveland Speech Therapy: School vs. Private Services, Sept. 1, 2022, Akron Speech Therapist Blog

Cleveland speech therapists

Cleveland Speech Therapists Offer Activities to Encourage Kids’ Language

Cleveland speech therapists

May is Better Speech & Hearing Month, and the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders reports 1 in 12 kids age 3-17 in the U.S. has a disorder related to voice, speech, language or swallowing. Our Cleveland speech therapists recognize that speech problems (difficulty being understood by others) are the most common among kids ages 3-10. Language problems (difficulty understanding others) ranked No. 2. More than one-third of kids with communication disorders has more than one.

As Cleveland speech therapists, we have decades of combined experience in engaging with children with speech-language disorders and delays, and helping to encourage their development on these fronts. But we also recognize that speech therapy is only part of the puzzle! The more consistent practice and carryover a child has across environments, the better these new skills are going to “stick,” and the faster kids will reach their speech therapy goals!

So what’s the best way to practice these skills with your kids? Play!

“Your child’s most important job is to play. It’s through play that young kids learn and grow. So playing with your child is really the best way to help them sharpen those speech & language skills.”

Jaclyn McClymont, speech-language pathologist, owner and founder of Therapy & Wellness Connection.

Any play that engages your child is generally going to be good for encouraging speech and language (as well as positive mental health and interpersonal connection). That said, there may be some activities/games that are more beneficial than others.

Here, our Cleveland speech therapists offer a few of our simple favorites!

Pretend Talk on the Phone

Pretending to talk on the phone is great for teaching kids important words, family member names, and social skills like turn-taking. If they’re very young, you can work on the basics, “Hi!” “Ok!” “Yes.” “No.” “Momma.” “Grama.” “Bye!” Modeling speech & language doesn’t need to be super complicated for it to be effective. The key is to keep it fun!

Cleveland speech therapy kids

“Who’s on the phone? Is it Daddy? No, Ok. Is it Momma?”

“Did you tell Momma hi? Hi, Momma! Ok, bye!”

Sing Songs in Motion

The list here is endless, but to name a few:

  • Wheels on the Bus
  • Itsy Bitsy Spider
  • Old Macdonald
  • Five Little Ducks
  • Head, Shoulders, Knees & Toes
  • Baby Shark (if it doesn’t drive you crazy!)
  • Hokey Pokey

Often, kids will copy the motions first. Eventually, they’ll wade in with a few of the words. Before you know it, they’ll have it all down to a T!

YouTube has some engaging videos to go along with these, and the extra visual may help too.

Look Through/Read Books

You don’t have to read a 40-page book. Most kids won’t sit through that anyway. But start with picture books. Think small – 3-5 pages. And you don’t necessarily have to “read” them all either. Look through the pictures. Point to various objects or people in the story. Label them. Talk about what might be happening.

speech therapist Cleveland kids

It will take time, but eventually you’ll be able to get through the whole book. Then you can start reading it. Rhyming or sing-songy books are often best for memorization.

Play Ball!

Kids love balls. They’re great not only for gross motor skills, but also for development of joint attention, turn-taking, and other key social skills.

You can work on words like roll, throw, bounce, catch, down, up, around, over, your turn, my turn, etc.

If you’re trying to encourage requesting, wait a few beats after you’ve gotten the ball for them to motion or ask for it returned.

“You want the ball? Say, ‘Ball!” or “Ball please!”

Narrate everything you’re doing.

“The ball went over the chair!”

Once they master some of the basics, you can start adding other adjectives.

“You’re playing with the big, blue ball!”

Play With Bubbles

Bubbles are so easy and simple, they’re sometimes overlooked – but they can be a source of ENDLESS fun and enjoyment for kids.

Help your child work on requesting the bubbles, model for them “more bubbles” and say words like, “up, down, pop, jump, catch, circle, over, under,” etc.

Speech therapy games

Bubbles are great at bath time year-round, but spring & summer are perfect for taking it outside, and giving them a chance to get some fresh air & soak up some Vitamin D!

Play With Pretend Food

Kids are crazy about pretend food. They love to play as if they are planning, preparing, and eating it. It’s been our Cleveland speech therapists’ experience that even when kids don’t have utensils or plates or cups or play-food, they’ll get imaginative and make do with what they have. So if you have pretend food – cool. If you don’t – no sweat. Kids’ imaginations are a wonder. You can use a block, a box, or even empty boxes or cans, cartons, etc.

You can model pouring food, cooking food, drinking, and eating. You can model words like, “Yummy! Great job! Hot! Cold! Yucky! cup, plate, fork, all done, mine, yours, good,” etc. You can also label different food items, and even put them into categories. “Apple is a fruit.” “Chicken is meat.”

Cleveland Speech Therapists Encourage Parent Involvement!

At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter what you play – but that you’re engaged. The best thing parents can do for their kids day in and out is talk to them. Narrate what you’re doing. Narrate what others are doing. Talk about colors, shapes, animals, weather, foods, people, cars – anything that captures their interest and imagination.

If you have questions about how you can engage your child during playtime, our speech therapy team can help!

Therapy & Wellness Connection – your connection to a life without limitations – provides speech therapy to children in Cleveland, Brecksville-Broadview Heights, Akron 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:

The Importance of Play: How Kids Learn by Having Fun, Sept. 28, 2020, Healthline.com

More Blog Entries:

Why Our Cleveland Speech Therapists LOVE Repetitive Picture Books for Kids, March 19, 2022, Cleveland Pediatric Speech Therapy Blog

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

Kids social communication Brecksville speech therapists

How Our Brecksville Speech Therapists Help Boost Kids’ Social Communication

Social communication is the way we use language in social contexts, encompassing social interaction, social cognition, pragmatics and language processing. Our Brecksville speech therapists recognize that while many of us take the “rules” of these exchanges for granted, they can be tough for children with developmental delays, disabilities, and other challenges.

Most language is social. Social communication skills include the ability to:

  • Vary one’s speech style.
  • Recognize the perspective of others.
  • Understand – and appropriately use – rules for verbal/non-verbal communication.
  • Use the structural elements of language.

There is a fairly broad range of norms accepted across cultures, families and between individuals for social communication, but these skills are critical for effective back-and-forth conversations in a social situation. When a child struggles with verbal and non-verbal communication for social purposes, this may be diagnosed as social communication disorder.

Brecksville speech therapist

Signs Your Child Should See a Speech Therapist in Brecksville

Kids will soon be back in school, and that means homework, class projects and tests. As the school year gains momentum, some parents may begin to notice their child is lagging a bit behind developmentally in terms of their speech, language comprehension, and overall communication. As a speech therapist in Brecksville can explain, every child develops at a different pace. That said, you don’t want to wait too long to address a speech-language delay or problem. Early intervention can help your child catch up to where they need to be, so they don’t lose too much ground academically.

Many kids who receive our speech therapy services start before they are school-age. That’s because their speech-language delays were evident before they turned 4 or 5. However, sometimes there are issues that don’t become evident until a child becomes a bit older.

Some examples of struggles with which a speech therapist may be able to help:

  • Stuttering. This occurs when speech flow is interrupted by unintended repetitions, pauses, words or phrases. Speech therapy helps your child learn to limit speech interruptions and boost their confidence. A pediatric speech therapist can also help your child learn to control patterns of speech by monitoring their speech rate and breath support.
  • Dyslexia/delayed phonological awareness. Phonological awareness refers to a broad set of skills kids typically develop in preschool as they are being prepared to learn how to read and write. It’s the ability to focus on and manipulate individual sounds in spoken words, and it’s one of the most accurate predictors of how well a child will learn to read in their first few years of school. Kids at risk of reading difficulty struggle with phonological awareness, but there are a number of ways a speech therapist can help. A child who struggles with phonological awareness might have dyslexia. This is when a child struggles with reversing words and letters, decoding, and spelling. The problem is often the phonological language component. An experienced pediatric speech therapist can help identify the issue and also help treat it
  • Reading comprehension problems. Reading comprehension refers to one’s ability to successfully process words, understand their meaning, and integrate them with existing knowledge. Speech therapy can help your child improve their ability to comprehend what they are grappling with things like understanding the meaning of words, connecting ideas in a passage, glossing over or omitting details or difficulty concentrating while reading. A speech therapist can work with your child to help them improve these skills. Not only do we want to help them with reading comprehension (an important life skill), we want to see them actually like reading!
  • Inaccurate use of vocabulary. Let’s face it: English is a confusing language. But some kids have a harder time grasping it than others. For instance, if a kid uses the words “on” and “in” interchangeably or in place of the word, “under,” they might be struggling with accurate vocabulary. As longtime pediatric speech therapists in Brecksville, we work with them to help them understand the correct way to use these words and improve their confidence/reading abilities.
  • Difficulty with reading fluency. As a Brecksville speech therapist can explain, fluency refers to one’s ability to read with speed, accuracy, and expression. If you or your child’s teacher notices he/she needs more time to complete reading assignments than other kids or that they read each word by itself instead of grouping them together to form phrases with meaning (past the age when they should be more fluent in their reading), speech therapy could be an excellent resource.

Even if you don’t have major concerns, the start of the school year is a good time to revisit the American Speech Hearing Association’s speech-language development chart to make sure your child is on-pace for their age group.

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:

Typical Speech and Language Development, ASHA

More Blog Entries:

Akron Speech Therapists Use Sign Language For Kids With Communication Difficulties, June 9, 2021, Brecksville Speech Therapist Blog

 

Brecksville speech therapists

Why Our Pediatric Brecksville Speech Therapists Use Crafts in Sessions

Our pediatric Brecksville speech therapists LOVE using crafts in sessions with kids. Our tables and desks are often packed with stickers and glitter and papery and clay and cotton balls. There’s a good reason for this: Crafts are an excellent communication temptation. What that means is that it motivates kids to engage – to express themselves and to understand what is being expressed to them. These are referred to as expressive and receptive language skills.

Kids enjoy crafting because it’s fun. Go to any preschool or child education center, and you will spot the crafts within two seconds. That’s because teachers have long recognized that arts and crafts activities are not just key to development of visual motor processing and fine motor skills. They compel kids to talk and help the lessons “stick” like glitter glue.

Our Brecksville speech therapists recognize that crafts are incredibly effective at language development because they necessitate a basic understanding of concepts and helps with practicing of:

  • Answering/asking “wh” questions
  • Sequencing
  • Vocabulary (nouns, verbs and basic concepts)
  • Articulation skills
  • Voice/fluency skills
  • Following directions
  • Social/pragmatic skills (taking turns, eye contact, requesting, etc.)

Crafts are also a great way for parents to practice with their child on certain speech therapy goals. Doing this just takes incorporating a few speech therapy strategies into your crafting time.

Akron speech therapists

Akron Speech Therapists Use Sign Language For Kids With Communication Difficulties

Sign language isn’t just for the hearing impaired. Many children with speech and language disorders who struggle to express themselves can be taught non-verbal forms of communication. As our Akron speech therapists can explain, this can help kickstart the development of verbal language and help ease their frustrations. For some kids, we’ll use sign language alone, but it can also be used in conjunction with tools like picture cards or electronic devices to further encourage engagement.

Recently, a new study published in the journal Developmental Science revealed that babies as young as 5-months0old can be influenced by sign language. Researchers used a gaze-tracking technology on two groups of infants between the ages of 5 and 14 months and children between the ages of 2 and 8 years. All were confirmed to have normal hearing. About half had parents who used American Sign Language at home and the other half had no exposure to it.

Infants who came from homes where ASL was used looked mostly at the adult’s face, barely registering the hand movements. Kids who were newly exposed to sign language still preferred the face, but watched the hand movements as well.

Akron speech therapy

How We Modify Akron Speech Therapy for Kids With Multiple Disabilities

When it comes to speech therapy, our team carefully maps out a plan of care that is specific to each individual. Kids with multiple disabilities are going to need extra consideration and planning. Many of our patients not only struggle to communicate, but they also have:

  • Visual impairments.
  • Hearing impairments.
  • Intellectual impairments.
  • Mobility impairments.

Speech therapy alone can put a lot of goals on a child’s plate. But many of these kids are also recommended for/receive all or some combination of occupational therapy, ABA therapy and physical therapy.

Working With a Collaborative Team

One of the ways Therapy & Wellness Connection is unique in the Northeast Ohio region is that we offer all of these services in one location – and we also offer in-home care, educational services, therapy groups and camps. We understand that parents of children with multiple disabilities are dealing with enough each day as it is. They want the best care for their child, but they are also just trying to get by with day-to-day life. Our goal is to make it as easy as possible on them, while also providing top quality services. The benefit of having a multi-disciplinary team is that we’re all on the same page, working together, collaborating – so parents and caregivers aren’t having to explain the same thing to five different therapists in multiple disciplines.

Our ability to collaborate and get on the same page as providers can influence how successful we are in our strategies for working with children who have numerous disabilities. Because a child isn’t just a mouth or ears or eyes. It is a whole person. We recognize that – and work to address challenges from a holistic perspective.

Modifying Akron Speech Therapy to Meet the Child’s Needs

Our speech therapy team is always looking at ways we can be the most effective. That means we’re never going to use the exact same approach for two different children. (We don’t even always use the same approach for the same child, particularly as they make progress!)

We look carefully at each patient’s level of communication as well as their comorbidities. When we’re preparing our speech therapy sessions, we look at ways we can modify our approach so that we can keep it fun and engaging, but also allow them to actively participate and reach their target goals – even if that is inch-by-inch.

For example:

  • For a child with visual impairments, we would incorporate lots of tactile and auditory input as well as possibly sign language.
  • For a child with auditory impairments, we would incorporate large visual aids and clear signs.
  • For a child with behavioral challenges, we set clear rules and expectations and collaborate with their behavior therapist on the strategies they are using so we can stay consistent across the board.

One thing that doesn’t change is that our efforts are always based on what is going to create the best outcomes for the child.

We invite parents and caregivers of children with multiple disabilities to call us, meet with us, tour our facilities and talk with other parents of patients about their challenges and successes and why they have chosen us to help their child communicate and thrive.

Therapy & Wellness Connection – your connection to a life without limitations – provides speech therapy to children in Akron, Brecksville-Broadview Heights and Cleveland. 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:

Multiple Disabilities, April 19, 2019, Center for Parent Information and Resources

More Blog Entries:

Top Five Speech Teletherapy Myths, Jan. 10, 2021, Akron Speech Therapy Blog

speech teletherapy

Top Five Speech Teletherapy Myths

Speech teletherapy continues to be an important way we deliver speech and language services to clients in Akron, Cleveland, Brecksville and throughout Northeast Ohio. We launched teletherapy services for speech, occupational, ABA and physical therapy in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic. Although government agencies are now beginning to distribute the vaccine, officials stress it’s not over yet and the U.S. is still breaking records for cases and deaths. We have resumed in-person therapies and school courses, but continue to offer teletherapy services as well.

In recent weeks, we’ve encountered some families who are curious about speech teletherapy, especially because they recognize it’s not only convenient and safe. However, they do have some concerns, most based on misconceptions about how it works. Can speech therapy, occupational therapy, physical therapy and ABA therapy really be effective over a screen? We can honestly answer: Yes. 

Numerous studies observing telehealth interventions for kids with autism and other conditions found that speech teletherapy, occupational teletherapy and ABA teletherapy were equally as effective as those provided face-to-face. Recipients of both traditional, in-person therapy and telehealth make significant and similar improvements in their development goals.

As an added bonus, studies of families of young kids with autism found that parent competence and confidence rose significantly, thanks to teletherapy. Of course, we’ve always prioritized parent education and empowerment, but teletherapy offers a unique “window” into our techniques as therapists. This can translate to better carryover across various environments, which can mean faster progress for kids.

Top 5 Teletherapy Misconceptions

  1. My Child is Too Young. Some parents of young kids may understandably be reticent to allow their young child on a laptop or other screen for extended period of time. However, teletherapy isn’t really typical screen time. Teletherapy is all about the interaction. Even if we’re playing a virtual game, the therapist is in control and the goal is to get the child engaged, communicating, conversing. For younger kids especially, we focus a great deal on coaching parents on specialized techniques and activities designed to improve their kids’ skills.
  2. My child doesn’t have a long enough attention span. The reality is teletherapy isn’t all staring at a screen. We design our speech teletherapy sessions for multiple movement breaks and sensory input activities – just like we would an in-person session. We also have so many activities that can be selected just for your child to match his/her learning style and interests to keep them engaged – just as we would in an in-person session.
  3. Teletherapy is not as effective as in-person therapy. This just isn’t true. As we mentioned before, numerous large-sample, longitudinal studies have found occupational, ABA and speech teletherapy can be just as effective as in-person therapy. Kids make the same level of progress. Some kids even make more progress in teletherapy because their parent may be more involved, leading to more consistent carryover. Beyond that, teletherapy gives kids who might not otherwise be able to receive therapy (due to scheduling concerns, distance from clinic or compromised immune systems) access to services they might otherwise forego.
  4. Virtual therapy is too much screen time. Limiting screen time for kids is an admirable and worthwhile goal in this digital age. We applaud it. But again, virtual therapy is not the same as just watching a show or playing a video game. Kids who are participating in speech teletherapy are actively engaging their brains, practicing their social skills and learning new techniques. This is not the kind of static, unhealthy screen time from which you’d want to definitely limit for your kids.
  5. There’s no way to form a truly personal connection over a screen. Parents whose kids have been in therapy will know that it is essential for a child to build a rapport with their therapist. A connection keeps kids engaged, cooperative and learning. This can happen through a screen because we’re still essentially conversing “face-to-face,” and doing so on a regular basis. Sometimes kids feel even more at ease conversing over a screen than in-person, so that can lead to more progress for some.

If you have questions or concerns about speech teletherapy, our team at Therapy & Wellness Connection can help!

Therapy & Wellness Connection – your connection to a life without limitations – provides speech therapy to children in Akron, Brecksville-Broadview Heights and Cleveland. 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:

The Efficacy of Telehealth-Delivered Speech and Language Intervention for Primary School-Age Children: A Systematic Review, Spring 2017, International Journal of Telerehabilitation

More Blog Entries:
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