Friday Faves: 8/30/13

friday favs

Have a great weekend!

1)  Founds this great post on how to organize speech centers to manage large groups.

2)  SLP 123 has posted 6 very helpful Back to School forms.  And they’re FREE!

3)  Speech 2 U wrote a great post with some helpful hints on how to teach eye contact.  We all know how tricky that skill can be!

4)  Liz has a fun FREEBIE: custom chipper chat boards with kids’ favorite characters.  How fun!

5)  Communication Station wrote a great post with tips for speech therapy for preschoolers.  Check it out here!

6)  Speech Chick shared some tips for teaching /k/, and teaching body language.

7)  Quart Size Communicators has some darling forms to help you stay organized during the school year!  And it’s FREE!

Until next time,


Phonological Awareness Activity for Moderate to Severe Speech Sound Disorders Part 1: Consonant Chart

phono awareness

I recently completed a webinar series (gotta get in those CEUs…) about speech therapy for moderate to severe Speech Sound Disorders (SSD) in young children, and the presenters talked A LOT about phonological awareness.  I know phonological awareness is critical for future reading ability, but I didn’t realize how teaching phonological awareness can actually help drastically improve articulation and sound production!  I’ve been using two of the activities that the presenters shared, and I’m LOVING them!  I’ve been using them for about 2 weeks with one of my clients, and I’ve already seen some great progress.  This post will talk all about the first activity.  I’ll write another post for the second activity later.  They are both so great that they need their own spotlight!  🙂 Continue reading

Friday Favs: 7/5/13

friday favs

Wow, summer is flying by!  I hope everyone had a wonderful Independence Day!  My family and I spent the day swimming and attending a family BBQ, then we all went to Utah’s Stadium of Fire.  It’s the biggest event of the year here, and it’s awesome!  Kelly Clarkson performed followed by a fantastic fireworks display.  We had a great time!  Here’s my favorite finds from this week! Continue reading

My Favorite Apps for Speech Therapy

Here’s an update of my favorite apps that use with my clients!  Please click here to review other apps I find useful in therapy.

Apps for Children:

ABA Flash Cards by I love these apps!  I use them for kids in PK and Kindergarten to help with learning basic noun/verb vocabulary.


Continue reading

Friday Favs: 5/31/13

friday favs

Wow, there was a TON of great stuff posted in the speech blogging world this week!  Must be that the end of the school year somehow gets those creative juices flowing (or maybe now we just have time to act on all those great ideas…)!  Here are my favorites from the week.  Enjoy! Continue reading

Using Expanded Sentences to Promote Your Child’s Language Development

expanded sentences

A great way to help your child with their speech and language development is to use expanded sentences.  You can expand nearly any utterance made by you or your child.  The use of expanded sentences helps your child learn correct grammar and helps build their vocabulary. Continue reading

Common Speech & Language Disorders In Children

Perhaps you’re child has been recently evaluated and diagnosed, and now you’re looking for information on what his diagnosis means.  Or maybe you’re concerned about your child’s speech and language development and you’d like to know more about various speech and language problems.  Below is a list of the most common speech and language diagnoses in children, what each diagnosis means, and what you can expect concerning your child’s speech and language development.  This is by no means an exhaustive list.  More information can be found at ASHA’s website.  If you have questions concerning your child’s speech and language development, please contact me for a FREE phone consultation, or refer to my Speech & Language Developmental Guidelines.

Childhood Apraxia of Speech

Childhood Apraxia of Speech (CAS) is a motor speech disorder.  Children with CAS have a difficult time programming and planning the motor movements needed for speech.  When a child has Apraxia, it means there is a problem with the connection between the brain and the child’s mouth.  The child’s brain and the muscles in their mouth are typically developmentally normal, but for some unknown reason, CAS causes a problem with the signals being sent from the brain to the child’s mouth, making it difficult for the child to plan and produce the very precise motor movements needed for speech.  Think of it as like trying to write with the hand that you don’t typically write with.  Your brain knows the letters and how to form them.  The muscles in your hand are strong and able to produce the movements.  However, when you try to form the letters, they come out sloppy and distorted because your hand isn’t quite capable of making those refined movements.

What does this diagnosis mean for my child?

This, of course, depends on the child and the severity of the disorder.  Apraxia is a relatively rare speech disorder.  Children with CAS usually require several years of intensive speech therapy.  This is because the goal of therapy for a child with CAS is to train the child’s brain to program common motor movements for speech.  Teaching a child to program and produce these movements automatically can take significant time.

Articulation Disorders

An Articulation Disorder is the most common and the least severe of the speech and language disorders.  A child is diagnosed with an Articulation Disorder when they cannot correctly produce one or more developmentally appropriate sounds.  For example, if your 3rd grader is having trouble saying the /r/ sound, he will most likely be diagnosed with an Articulation Disorder, and will need to receive speech therapy.  The same is true for your Kindergartener who cannot produce her /k/ and /g/ sounds.  Articulation Disorders range in severity, but a good speech therapist can correct most Articulation Disorders in a relatively short amount of time.

Phonological Processes Disorder

A Phonological Process Disorder is very similar to an Articulation Disorder in that a Phonological Process Disorder affects the sounds a child produces.  The difference is that, rather than affecting one sound, a Phonological Process Disorder affects a class of sounds.  For example, your preschooler may drop most or all of the sounds at the end of his words (ie: “cat” becomes “ca”).  This Phonological Process is called Final Consonant Deletion.  Like an Articulation Disorder, a Phonological Process Disorder can range in severity, but a good speech therapist can correct most phonological processes in a relatively short amount of time.

Fluency Disorder (Stuttering)

A Fluency Disorder refers to the smoothness and fluidity of a child’s speech.  Stuttering is by far the most common Fluency Disorder.  It is typically characterized by syllable repetitions (ie: m,m,m, mom…), abnormal breathing patterns during speech, and blocks (ie: a child becomes “stuck” on a word or sound).  Stuttering is a serious and often life-long diagnosis that can affect a child socially and psychologically.  As with nearly every speech and language disorder, early intervention is critical.  This is especially true for stuttering.  Younger children have a much higher likelihood of outgrowing stuttering than do older children.  If you believe your child is exhibiting signs of stuttering, it is important to consult with a Speech-Language Pathologist as soon as possible.

Language Disorder: Receptive and Expressive

While Articulation and Phonological Process Disorders refer to the sounds a child produces, a Language Disorder refers to the actual words a child says and hears. There are two types of Language Disorders: Expressive and Receptive.  Most children diagnosed with a Language Disorder have difficulty in both areas, though the severity of each may differ.

Expressive Language Disorder

An Expressive Language Disorder refers to difficulties producing language.  Typical problems include difficulties with grammar, sentence creation, vocabulary, word finding (it’s on the tip of my tongue…), and difficulty with expressing wants, needs, and ideas.

Receptive Language Disorder

A Receptive Language Disorder refers to difficulties processing and understanding spoken language.  Difficulties may include lack of auditory comprehension, inability to answer questions, difficulty following directions, difficulty understanding social cues, difficulty maintaining conversations, and inability to understand humor or sarcasm.

What does a Language Disorder mean for my child?

Unfortunately, a Language Disorder is a life-long disorder.  Children cannot be cured from or simply “grow-out” of a Language Disorder.  However, with long-term (usually at least from grades PK-12), intensive speech therapy, the affect of a Language Disorder on a child’s life can be dramatically reduced.  Think of it this way: Have you ever tried to learn a second language?  If you have, then you know it is a very time consuming and difficult process.  Most second language learners never become as fluent as a native speaker even after years of intensive study.  For children with Language Disorders, it is as if they are learning a second language their whole life.  Learning a language (even their first!) does not come naturally for them, and it takes years of specialized instruction to become fluent and comfortable with language.

Voice Disorder

A Voice Disorder is one of the more rare speech disorders among children, and involves problems with a child’s vocal folds.  Usually, these problems occur in exceptionally loud, outgoing, and noisy children.  Yes, all children are prone to noise and yelling from time to time, but some children do not stop yelling, talking, etc.  Vocal over-use behaviors coupled with allergies and dehydration can lead to nodules or polyps on the vocal folds.  This causes a child’s voice to sound hoarse.  If you suspect your child has a Voice Disorder, the first thing to do is to take your child to an Ear, Nose, and Throat (ENT) specialist.  If you visit a speech therapist first, she will refer you to an ENT before she can begin treatment.  A Voice Disorder is often associated with a medical diagnosis, and the type of speech treatment needed depends on the medical diagnosis given.  If your child does present with a Voice Disorder, it is usually resolved with a few months of speech therapy.

Feeding Disorder

Surprising, but yes, Speech-Language Pathologists can and do diagnose and treat Pediatric Feeding Disorders.  A Feeding Disorder occurs when a child is unable or unwilling to consume enough calories needed for proper growth and development.  These children are often labeled as picky eaters, but in reality, they are problem eaters.  Feeding Disorders often occur due to other medical or developmental difficulties.  For example, children who were born premature, or children diagnosed with a disorder such as Autism or Sensory Processing Disorder often have a co-occurring Feeding Disorder.  Children with digestive issues such as reflex or food allergies can also develop Feeding Disorders.  Some children develop Feeding Disorders after a traumatic event, such as choking.  Characteristics of a Feeding Disorder include:

  • History of medical or developmental problems
  • Very limited food repertoire.  Often child with a Feeding Disorder cut out whole categories of food from their diet.
  • Rigid eating behaviors:  Children with Feeding Disorders often will not eat if changes are made to their feeding routine.  They are very rigid about the location, preparation, and presentation of food.
  • Misbehavior during meal times
  • Presence of gagging or vomiting while eating

What does this diagnosis mean for my child?

If your child exhibits symptoms of or is is diagnosed with a Feeding Disorder, it is critical to get treatment for your child right away.  Children do not grow out of a Feeding Disorder, and it will often become worse with age.  Children with Feeding Disorders often require treatment from a Speech-Language Pathologist for several months in order to increase their caloric intake and food repertoire.

Until next time,

Aersta Acerson

A Utah Speech Therapist

FREE Book Companion Packet Lesson Plans!

I just found this great resource from the Learning Center at is a storytelling website, and they have kindly included over 40 FREE book companion lesson plan packets!  Each book has lesson plans for grades PK through 2.  The lessons are geared for general education classrooms, but are easily adapted for speech and language students.  Enjoy this great resource!

Until next time,

Aersta Acerson

A Utah Speech Therapist

Typical Speech & Language Development: Birth to Age 5

As a parent, you may be wondering, how do I know if my child is developing appropriately?  Here’s a great guide to help you know if your child is meeting his speech and language developmental milestones.  You can also check out my post about Speech and Language Warning Signs for more information.

Birth to 1 Year

Birth to 3 Months

  • Is startled by loud noises
  • Recognizes parents’ voices
  • Often quiets and/or smiles when spoken to
  • Coos (soft vowel sounds) when happy
  • May begin to respond with cooing sounds when someone is talking to them
  • Uses different cries for different needs
  • Responds and prefers “parentese” (high pitched baby talk)

4 to 6 Months

  • Makes eye contact
  • Responds/looks in direction of sounds
  • Likes to listen to music
  • Responds to changes in the tone of parents’ voice
  • Begins babbling with some consonant sounds (b, p, m)
  • Laughs
  • Vocalizes when upset or excited
  • May begin to recognize name
  • May say “mama” and “dada”

7 to 12 Months

  • Enjoys simple, repetitive games, such as peek-a-boo and patty cake
  • Listens when spoken to
  • Shows parents toys he is interested in
  • Recognizes common words, such as cup, milk, more, book, etc.
  • Responds to simple requests, such as “Come here” and “Want more?”
  • Babbling includes more consonant sounds
  • Begins to alternate and/or combine consonant sounds when babbling (ie: dada mama, bibibaba)
  • Uses non-crying vocalizations to get attention
  • Begins to use gestures to communicate, such as
    • Waving
    • Holding up arms to indicate he wants to be picked up
    • Using baby sign language (if you have been teaching sign language)
    • Imitating hand actions, such as “Itsy Bitsy Spider”
  • Imitates different speech sounds
  • Has 1-2 words by first birthday, such as mama, dada, baby, hi, animal sounds, etc.

1 to 2 Years

  • Points to a few body parts when asked
  • Understands and follows simple commands/questions (“Roll the ball,” “Come here,” “Are you hungry?”)
  • Listens to and requests simple songs and rhymes
  • Points to simple pictures in books upon request (ie: animals, babies, toys, etc)
  • Says new words every month
  • Produces some two-word phrases/questions (“What’s that?” “Go bye-bye?” “More cookie.”)
  • Uses many different consonant combinations
  • Answers basic wh questions, such as “What does the cow say?” and “Where is your nose?”

2 to 3 Years

  • Understands basic concepts, such as go/stop, in/out, on/off, big/little, up/down
  • Follows basic 2-step directions (Go find your shoes and put them on)
  • Maintains a longer attention span for stories
  • Regularly uses 2 to 3-word phrases
  • Is able to express his wants and needs
  • Uses k, f, g, t, d, and n sounds
  • Speech is understood by most listeners most of the time
  • Answers simple questions (What is your name?  How old are you?)

3 to 4 Years

  • Hears and responds when you call from another room
  • Answers simple who, what, where, and why questions
  • Talks about activities at school or at a friend’s house
  • Speech is understood by most strangers at least 75% of the time
  • Many sentences contain 4 or more words
  • Talks easily without repeating words or syllables
  • Is able to maintain a short conversation with an adult
  • Follows 3-step directions

4 to 5 Years

  • Pays attention to short stories and can answer simple questions about them
  • Understands most of what is said at home and school
  • Uses long, detailed sentences
  • Tells a simple narrative and stays on topic
  • Communicates easily with other children and adults
  • Says most sounds correctly.  May still have trouble with r, l, s, z, th, ch, sh
  • Is able to rhyme
  • Produces grammatically correct sentences
  • Is able to name some numbers and letters

Until next time,

Aersta Acerson

A Utah Speech Therapist


Have you heard about  It’s a great, FREE website with hundreds and darling graphics and clip art.  Better yet, the artist allows you to use these graphics on your TPT projects for sale!  All she asks is that you reference her website somewhere on your work so that other educators can learn of it.  This website is also great for DIY projects for children!  The art I used for this post comes from the website.  It’s great, go check it out!

Until next time,

Aersta Acerson

A Utah Speech Therapist