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What can parents do to encourage healthy speech and language development?

It is important to read and speak to your child everyday. Their environment should be saturated with language. Implement a language-saturated environment into your home with these great tips:

• Acknowledge and reinforce any communication attempts that your baby makes, including non-verbal communications.
• Create opportunities for them to speak, and give them wait time to respond.
Build and expand on what your child says. 
• As they are learning words, sounds, and sentence structure, acknowledge their message, and repeat it back to them    using appropriate speech or language. For example, if they say ‘me swing,’ you could say, “Yes! You played on the        swings!” 
• Ask them questions, read them books, tell them stories, and model lots of vocabulary.



• Does not smile or interact with others (birth and older)

  • • Does not babble (4-7 months)
  • • Makes only a few sounds or gestures, like pointing (7-12 months)
  • • Does not understand what others say (7 months-2 years)
  • • Says only a few words (12-18 months)
  • • Words are not easily understood (18 months-2 years)
  • • Does not put words together to make sentences (1.5-3 years)
  • • Has trouble playing and talking with other children (2-3 years)
  • • Has trouble with early reading and writing skills (2.5-3 years)


Children: Signs of a Speech Sound Disorder

• Says p, b, m, h, and w incorrectly in words (1-2 years)

  • • Says k, g, f, t, d, and n incorrectly in words (2-3 years)
  • • Produces speech that is unclear, even to familiar people (2-3 years)


Children Signs of Stuttering (Disfluency)

  • • Repeats first sounds of words—"b-b-b-ball” for "ball”
  • • Speech breaks while trying to say a word—"—–boy” for "boy”
  • • Stretches sounds out—"ffffff-farm” for "farm”
  • • Shows frustration when trying to get words out


Children: Signs of a Voice Disorder

  • • Uses a hoarse or breathy voice
  • • Uses a nasal-sounding voice


CHILDREN: SIGNS OF Childhood apraxia of speech


Does not coo or babble as an infant.
Says her first words later than you think she should.
Says only a few different sounds.
Has problems putting sounds together.
Puts long pauses between sounds she says.
Does not always say a word the same way.
Has some problems eating.



• Does not always say words the same way each time he says them.

• Can understand what others say to him better than he can talk.

• Has problems imitating what others say. If he can imitate, those words will sound better than words
  he says on his own.

Seems like he has to move his lips, tongue, or jaw a few times to make sounds. This is called groping.

• Has more trouble saying longer words clearly than shorter ones.

• Seems to have more trouble talking when he is nervous.

• Is hard to understand, especially for someone who doesn’t know him well.

• Sounds choppy or flat. He may put the stress on the wrong syllable or word.


Adults: Signs of Speech & Language Disorders

  • Struggles to say sounds or words (stuttering)
  • Repetition of words or parts of words (stuttering)
  • Speaks in short, fragmented phrases (expressive aphasia)
  • Says words in the wrong order (expressive aphasia)
  • Struggles with using words and understanding others (global aphasia)
  • Difficulty imitating speech sounds (apraxia)
  • Inconsistent errors (apraxia)
  • Slow rate of speech (apraxia)
  • Slurred speech (dysarthria)
  • Slow or rapid rate of speech, often with a mumbling quality (dysarthria)

*Signs listed are from the American Speech-Language Hearing Association's Identify the Signs Campaign

If you are concerned that your child's speech and language development is delayed, it is important to consult a speech language pathologist for an evaluation as soon as possible. As an adult, if you have concerns about your own speech, language and communication skills, you can also seek an assessment from a speech language pathologist. You can search for a speech pathologist near you on the American Speech and Hearing Association's website.

You may wish to find a speech pathologist who has had specialized training from The PROMPT Institute and use the PROMPT Approach in their clinical work. You can search for a PROMPT Trained Speech Pathologist here



Small Steps in Speech assists children with speech and language disorders by funding supplemental therapies and treatments for individuals as well as grants to charitable organizations who serve children with communicative disorders.The PROMPT Institute allocates funds to Small Steps in Speech each year for grants specifically for PROMPT therapy. Grants are given on a quarterly basis. Application deadlines are February 1, May 1, August 1 and November 1.

United Healthcare Children's Foundation grants provide financial help/assistance for families with children that have medical needs not covered or not fully covered by their commercial health insurance plan including speech therapy. The Foundation aims to fill the gap between what medical services/items a child needs and what their commercial health benefit plan will pay for.

The Orange Effect Foundation empowers children and young adults with speech disorders to effectively communicate through technology and speech therapy. Deadline dates  to apply for grants are February 15, May 15, August 15, and November 15.



The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) is committed to ensuring that all people with speech, language, and hearing disorders receive services to help them communicate effectively. Here you will find resources to help you understand communication and communication disorders.

The Childhood Apraxia of Speech Association of North America (CASANA) provides information on Childhood Apraxia of Speech (CAS) to families, professionals and policy makers as well as facilitating networking and partnership opportunities for parents and professionals to benefit children with CAS.

Cerebral Palsy Guide is dedicated to helping parents better understand their child’s diagnosis. This site provides information on the causes and treatments of cerebral palsy including the benefits of speech therapy.

Cerebral Palsy Group is a national organization that was created so that it may serve the individuals and families who have been diagnosed with cerebral palsy. We are here to provide information and support so that we may help provide resources and education to those affected by CP.

The Aphasia Recovery Connection provides a platform and resources for people with aphasia and their caregivers to connect to others that understand what they are going through. Through Facebook groups, other social media and organized events our members share stories, advice, tips, tools and resources and provide comfort to help each other navigate the road to recovery. 



The Individuals with Disabilities Educational Act (IDEA)is a law ensuring services to children with disabilities throughout the nation. IDEA governs how states and public agencies provide early intervention, special education and related services to more than 6.5 million eligible infants, toddlers, children and youth with disabilities.

Early Intervention provides free developmental evaluations of children younger than 3 (before their third birthday) and helps families find services for their little one. These services are available through the same law that makes special education services available—the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. The State is responsible for providing early intervention programs for infants and toddlers. The agency in charge is called the lead agency. Services for children are provided at the local level, under State supervision.  Find out the lead agency for your State at the ECTA center.

An Individualized Education Program (IEP) outlines your child’s learning needs, the services the school will provide and how progress will be measured. Under the IDEA, federal law requires that public schools complete one for every child receiving special education services. Parents, teachers and other professionals that provide services are involved in creating the document. Learn more about how to be prepared for IEP meetings so that you can ensure that your child can access the services he/she needs to succeed.



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