Free Consultation & Evaluation Process
First and most importantly, call us for a free initial consultation! During this complimentary, 30-minute consult, dedicated to you, your family, and your concerns, we will listen and advise you on your needs and next steps. If recommended, an evaluation can be scheduled. After it's completion, the evaluator will create your report and plan of care. The Speech Academy uses a medical documentation program that is compliant with all insurance plans. Then, our office will email your reports to you, call and schedule a phone consultation with your evaluator. This therapist will review, explain and answer questions about your complete report. If Uttering Joy is part of your child's recommended program, it's video series will be emailed to you prior to your child's first therapy session. Finally, a dedicated schedule is decided on and therapy begins!
Early Intervention & Preschool
Our early intervention and preschool options differ from a home based or school based model. Our intake process allows for immediate evaluations and then a dedicated therapy schedule in our office. As the parent and caregiver, you are present for all therapy sessions. We understand that parent education is an important component of your child's program. Our therapists will provide valuable education, guiding you as we work together to help your child reach their speech and language milestones. This model also allows for a seamless continuation of services once your child reaches age 3 or age 5. We are a private service that works with your individual insurance policies. Many families also like to combine an early intervention home based approach or a preschool disabled preschool class with in-office, private therapy.
Language Growth Through Family Dynamics
A unique addition to the early stages of speech and language therapy goals is our hallmark approach to language growth through family dynamics, "Uttering Joy." An additional "in-office bonus" includes an initial video training program in family dynamics created by Beth Ann Shanks M.S. –CCC/SLP, Founder of the Speech Academy. In 10-minute video clips, viewed 4 days/week for 4 weeks, you and all of your child's extended caregivers can learn the techniques used in Uttering Joy that can be integrated into your family's everyday life. Your dedicated therapist will be using these same techniques in therapy, modelling and explaining the best ways to personalize it's use with your individual child.
Oral Function/Feeding Therapy
Oral function therapy encompasses many oral motor planning behaviors. A disturbance in one system, such as mechanical correctness of speech sound productions, can be interrelated to other oral behaviors. Disorganization of eating/swallowing strategies, tone of oral structures and sensory integration of food choices and postural placement of oral structures are all reviewed and evaluated. Many families and adult clients have shared that this interconnection of therapy plans has been the missing component in traditional speech therapy programs. Apraxia is an absence of proper motor planning of these functional oral skills. Dysarthria is a condition resulting from the impact of low tone on appropriate motor planning. Lasting success is dependent on viewing these behaviors as part of a complete treatment plan. This therapy can be provided at any age.
Articulation therapy is a process of training to improve speech sound production. It involves also organizing oral function concerns. At our free consultation, our therapist will discuss the concerns that you have and inform you about the need for a possible evaluation and treatment plan. An evaluation will identify the exact sounds or sound systems that need improvement and a plan for therapy will be developed. Therapy for articulation can begin at any age. Young children will work on improvements through motivating iPad activities and games and sometimes even play activities. Older children can also benefit, especially when a school-based program has not shown the desired improvements. Adults will also seek out articulation therapy to help improve overall speech intelligibility.
Language processing therapy is a body of training strategies introduced at key stages of need identified during the evaluation process. How we process language on a mental landscape is then translated into our verbal communication style. Language processes progress through labeling, describing functions and descriptions, organizing like labels into categories, associating like labels, describing similarities and differences of labels, understanding analogies, problem solving, figurative language and social language. This is a large body of knowledge that our therapists present systematically to ensure success.
Auditory processing therapy is often precipitated by a Central Auditory Processing Diagnosis (CAPD) by a Doctor of Audiology. With the use of sophisticated instrumentation, brain interpretation of orally presented material is evaluated. Frequently, a recommendation is made to present these findings to a Speech Pathologist. Our role is to evaluate the functional manifestations of the CAPD diagnosis. Our evaluation becomes a blueprint for auditory processing therapy. Disturbances can be found in sound interpretation, memory retention of auditory messages and auditory cohesion of comprehension and reasoning. Other times, this evaluation can be used to correspond with language processing concerns. In this instance, a dual program is provided.
Autism is a medical diagnosis that covers a wide array of learning and social behaviors. Relational communication skills are a powerful component of need. Traditional evaluations are performed to determine speech, language and auditory processing needs. All of these results help to create a plan for intervention. As children on the autism spectrum can need therapy for accomplishing early language milestones at any age, our hallmark program, "Uttering Joy" can be integrated into their speech and language therapy. Again, it is individualized to improve not just family dynamics, but also important social language skills as well.
Stuttering intervention is a complex process of many approaches. Our evaluation process examines the physiological disturbance of coordination between breath support and speech production, the identification of individual behaviors perceived as stuttering, the disruption in processing of intended messages and emotional overlays experienced in relational communication scenarios. Many families and adults embrace our multifaceted approach and find a feeling of success in better controlling this fluency disorder.
Voice disorders are often identified through medical examinations that can include instrumentation to determine the condition of vocal fold function and tissue. An evaluation of functional, physiological behaviors that have contributed to vocal fold pathologies is performed at our office. Voice therapy includes an identification of dysfunctional vocal behaviors and strategies to normalize physiological behaviors that can result in vocal health.
Deaf/Hard of Hearing/Cochlear Implants
Therapy for hearing impairments encompasses varied approaches and specializations. In addition to main streamed strategies for sound awareness/production and language/auditory processing, our office includes a Speech Pathologist with training in American Sign language (ASL) and Visual Phonics as well as extensive training through the Professional Preparation in Cochlear Implants (PPCI) Program at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP).
Social Skill Training
Social skill training is often imbedded into our language and auditory processing programs. Social language is a higher functioning behavior of these trainable skills. Strategies include presenting teachable moments of social interactions and using problem solving skills to act upon appropriate choices. Role playing and relational communication experiences through our Uttering Joy system are also included as possible therapeutic strategies.
The interpretation of sounds by an individual translates into the ability to recognize spoken sounds as well as the ability to manipulate them in spoken and written form. Awareness of sound/letter connections, placement of sounds in words and decoding a series of sounds to represent a word are all part of this body of knowledge. Improvement in reading and spelling skills have been noted when phonological processing skill training becomes part of a therapeutic plan.
Programs for Academic Success
Often times, a family may come to our free consultation session with a sense of "not knowing where to turn" for the help their child needs. Discussions of poor academic grades, not testing into school based speech and language programs, or just knowing as a parent, "something isn't right." all become part of the screening process. Our seasoned therapists know the right questions to ask and the right suggestions to make as a plan for success is developed in a way that benefits your child best. We can evaluate your child's areas of speech and language weaknesses that prevent academic success and develop a proven program that works. Grades change, listening, reading and writing skills improve and anxious frowns turn into constant smiles.
My major gain has been with eating, my son had a lot of texture issues and now he eats so comfortably. He will pick up the food and go through the steps he learned in therapy. Thank you so much for everything. - Lakshmi S.
I would recommend Speech Academy to anyone whose child struggles with any sort of speech challenge, your child will be met at their level and guided compassionately to wherever they can go. - Jessica F.