The ability to understand language, including following commands and responding to his or her name, is an essential building block in early learning. If your child is having difficulty in this area, it is essential to have your child evaluated by a Kidspeak certified speech-language pathologist (speech therapist) as soon as possible.
If by age 2 he or she is not speaking or is unintelligible to family or familiar caregivers, the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) would recommend a speech evaluation. An evaluation at KidSpeak is comprised of a comprehensive assessment that includes family interview and formal testing.
Depending on your child’s age, a speech impediment or disorder may need to be treated by one of our speech therapists. If in doubt, schedule an appointment with us as soon as possible to learn more about how we can help.
At KidSpeak, we offer therapy appointments in our clinic or offsite at various schools, preschools, and daycare centers. Check our growing list of participating schools to find one near you!
After you and your child are seen for an evaluation, your child’s speech therapist will explain their findings. Generally, speech therapy sessions can run from 30-60 minutes 1-3 times a week. Course of treatment will vary with each child, as we tailor each treatment plan to each individual client.
We do accept most forms of insurance, including Aetna, Blue Cross and Blue Shield, United, Optum Health, and North Carolina Medicaid. Contact us with your specific insurance carrier and we can tell you if you will be covered.
One of our speech therapists can also address your child’s feeding and swallowing difficulties, also known as dysphagia. If you feel that your child would benefit from therapy for feeding and swallowing, we can conduct an evaluation. During therapy, one of our speech therapists can work with your child on keeping food in their mouths, sucking, chewing, and moving food down the throat for swallowing.
Stuttering (known as a fluency disorder) can manifest in different ways. Some children will produce repetitions, some will stop in the middle of their words and sentences, and sometimes they will prolong a syllable. About 5% of children will experience a period of stuttering. If you believe your child is stuttering, the next step would be to get an evaluation.
A child’s family is absolutely essential to therapy! At Kidspeak, your child’s therapist will go over a potential treatment plan for your child based on their needs and your concerns. Our speech therapists will be sure to give you techniques and activities to do at home to further your child’s progress.
We’re happy to help! Our speech therapists may be able to come into your child’s school/daycare and give a presentation on a variety of speech and language related topics. Your teachers are definitely an important part of the treatment team and we want to make sure your child’s environment is as supportive as possible! We can also consult with school staff to make recommendations on ensuring success in your child’s classroom.
To ensure that your child receives high-quality, evidence-based treatment, you should look for a therapist with a Masters-level degree in speech-language pathology or communication disorders. To work with clients, the therapist should also have received their Certificate of Clinical Competence, indicated by the “CCC” after their name. Ideally, your therapist should have experience treating the disorders or impairments that your child has been identified as having. Your therapist should also be friendly, knowledgeable, and eager to collaborate with you on a treatment plan for your child.
In pediatrics there is often overlap between physical and occupational therapists. They often work together in a team approach when treating the pediatric population. However, the two disciplines are distinct in their approach and focus. Occupational therapists often work with the child focusing on activities of daily living such as feeding, dressing and handwriting in addition to addressing sensory integration needs. The physical therapist works to address whole body movement such as rolling, sitting up and walking. The physical therapist often uses modalities, equipment and exercises as strategies to improve functional movement.
Gross motor skills are performed using larger movements of the body. The larger muscles found in the neck, torso, and legs are used to create these movements. Examples of these skills are crawling and walking. Fine motor skills are performed using the smaller movements of the body. These smaller movements use smaller muscles in the body found in the wrist, fingers, toes, mouth and eyes. Examples of these skills are holding a sippy cup and picking up cheerios.
School based therapy is provided in the school setting to address goals outlined on the child’s IEP. The therapy focuses on helping the child work toward greater functional outcomes and success in the school setting. In the outpatient setting the child is referred by their physician. The family and therapist work together to set goals for greater functional mobility in the home and community. Many tools such as exercise and equipment may be used to reach these goals. Although different both are greatly beneficial to the child.
A child may feel tight due to lack of movement, hypertonia or both. With lack of movement a child’s muscles and tendons may become shortened not allowing them to move through a full range of motion. Hypertonia is caused by damage to the central nervous system and nerve pathways resulting in increased muscle tone and tightness. Hypertonia is diagnosed by a physician. A physical therapist can work with the child on improving range of motion.
On average children begin to walk between 9 and 17 months. Some children may present with a delay in walking due to an orthopedic impairment, a neuromuscular impairment, or behavioral/cognitive delays. If a parent is concerned they should see their child’s physician. Their physician may refer them to physical therapy to work on strength, balance, range of motion and coordination as needed.
A child with low muscle tone or hypertonia may feel floppy when you hold them. This is due to muscles not contracting as they should or remaining loose sometimes resulting in loose joints, weakness, lack of coordination and delayed milestones. This condition should be diagnosed by a physician. If a child is referred to physical therapy, the physical therapist can work with the child on improving strength, mobility and coordination.
On average children begin to walk between 7 and 10 months. Some children may present with a delay in crawling due to an orthopedic impairment, a neuromuscular impairment, or behavioral/cognitive delays. If a parent is concerned they should see their child’s physician. Their physician may refer them to physical therapy to work on strength, balance, range of motion and coordination as needed.
On average children learn to sit up between the ages of 4 months and 9 months after they have developed head control. Some children may present with a delay in sitting due to an orthopedic impairment, a neuromuscular impairment, behavioral/cognitive delays or reflux. If a parent is concerned they should see their child’s physician. Their physician may refer them to physical therapy to work on strength, balance, range of motion and coordination as needed.
If no associated impairments are present, a child born prematurely will eventually catch up with his or her peers. An early intervention physical therapist can work with a child and his or her family on achieving motor milestones and providing caregiver education.
A child may fall for many reasons including but not limited to visual impairments, coordination deficit, difficulty with balance, weakness and vestibular impairments. If you observe that your child is falling frequently this should be addressed with their physician. A referral to physical therapy can be beneficial to address strength, coordination, balance, spacial awareness, motor planning and safety awareness helping to reduce falls.
There can be several causes attributing to a child frequently running into things. Some of these causes may include but are not limited to visual impairments, sensory seeking behavior, developmental coordination disorder and dyspraxia. If you observe that your child is running into things frequently this should be addressed with their physician. A referral for physical therapy may be beneficial in some cases to address strength, gross motor skills, coordination and safety awareness.
Your child may benefit from a referral to physical therapy. A physical therapist can work with your child to do strengthening exercises and educate the caregiver on exercises to do at home with the child.
The length of time a child will need physical therapy will depend on diagnosis, severity of functional limitations, level of progress made during physical therapy and the goals set for the child by the family and therapist.
If your child is toe-walking past the age of two it is important to bring it to the attention of their physician. A physical therapy referral may be given. The physical therapist will come beside the parent to educate on providing a home exercise program to include stretching the short and tight muscles and strengthening their antagonists. The physical therapist may recommend orthotics in some cases to provide foot and ankle stability in addition to preventing the child from rising up onto their toes.
If your child is no longer able to fit comfortably in a standard stroller designed for infants and toddlers or it does not properly support them due to musculoskeletal impairments he/she may benefit from an adaptive stroller or wheelchair for transportation around the community and seating at home. Your child may also be ready for an adaptive stroller or wheelchair if they are beginning a school program and will be riding a bus as equipment tie downs will be required. A physical therapist can assist caregivers with determining readiness for a wheelchair and in the ordering process.
An orthotic or brace may be indicated if a child’s foot lacks the ability to maintain the proper position during standing and walking. Orthotics act to stabilize the foot and ankle and in some cases the knee to promote protection of the joints, maintain range of motion and improve mobility. A physical therapist is trained to observe posture and gait and determine the need for an orthotic.
Physical therapists are highly-educated, highly trained and licensed professionals. Their jobs are to help children improve mobility, decrease pain, increase range of motion, improve balance and improve coordination. They are trained to reduce risk of injury during exercises. Open communication between a caregiver and physical therapist is very important to assist with identifying discomfort in a child and physical limitations. They will also work with the caregiver to address any concerns that he/she may have.
Pediatric occupational therapy may be appropriate for your child if he or she is having difficulty completing age appropriate fine motor activities, difficulty handling transitions and playing with other children as well as difficulty with behavior and independence with activities of daily living.
Sensory Integration is the neurological process of taking in sensory information through the body and organizing this information to be able to respond in a functional way to the demands of the environment at home, in school and in the community. Indications that your child may have sensory issues can include but are not limited to difficulty with changes in routine, constant movement which interferes with daily routines, sensitivity to textures, fabrics, touch, falling frequently and lack of exploration of environment during play.
A condition in which the brain has difficulty receiving and responding to information that comes in through the senses
Sensory meltdowns and tantrums are not the same thing and should be handled differently. Tantrums are an outburst that happens when a child is trying to get something he or she wants or needs and becomes frustrated, angry and impulsive. To decrease tantrums try to acknowledge what your child needs without giving in to him or her. A sensory meltdown is a reaction to feeling overwhelmed. In this case you want to decrease the amount of sensory input that your child is receiving and provide calm reassurance quietly. Sometimes firm or deep pressure can help calm the child during sensory meltdowns.
This may be an indication that your child has difficulty organizing and directing the body to perform a motor skill. This disorganization can seen during gross motor skills such as walking, running or jumping, during visual motor tasks such as writing and during activities of daily living such as dressing and feeding.
Toe walking between ages 2 and 3 however if it persists past age 3 there may be underlying reasons. Your child may be exhibiting tactile defensiveness, they may be seeking increased sensory input through their feet or may have tight musculature not allowing the child to get his or her heel flat on the floor.
If your child is repeatedly gagging at the sight, smell or touch of certain foods- this may be an indication that your child is exhibiting sensory processing difficulties.
Providing a set bedtime routine that included a bath or shower each night and plenty of time to unwind. Avoid stimulating activities and screen time after dinner.
If your child is sensitive to noise, touch or temperature, bath time can be very overwhelming. Adjusting temperature and lights help to reduce sensory overload. Also allowing your child to wear a visor in the bath is sometimes helpful to prevent water from dripping on your child’s face which can be noxious to children with sensory defensiveness.
Children will typically assume a W-sitting pattern widen their base of support when sitting. This allows the child to use less trunk strength and core control for stability to maintain a sitting posture