Speech and Language Techniques - Técnicas del Habla

Submitted by bbeck23 on Wed, 12/19/2018 - 09:22

Below you will find a video containing a description and example of four different speech and language techniques we use in therapy to promote language. Try these next time you are playing with your kids, or are eating dinner with the family!

Abajo encontrarás un video que contiene una descripción y ejemplo de cuatro diferente técnicas del habla que usamos en terapia para promover el lenguaje. ¡Pruébelos la próxima vez que juegue con sus hijos, o cene con la familia!

This video was created by Sandra Guevara, a student in the Speech-Language Pathology Master's program at the University of Maryland.


Step by Step for Interactive Book Reading

Submitted by bbeck23 on Wed, 12/19/2018 - 08:55

Book reading should entail lots of back and forth interaction between you and your child. This interaction will promote further language development. Reading reinforces concepts that young children are learning about in the world. Try setting aside a time to read with your child everyday. You can make it fun by having your child choose the book. Ashley Booterbaugh, a student in the Speech-Language Pathology Master's program at the University of Maryland created this detailed demonstration of interactive book reading. 


Requesting Using Picture Cards for Non-Verbal Children

Submitted by bbeck23 on Mon, 12/17/2018 - 22:39

This is a video demonstrating how non-verbal children can initiate a request using picture cards. It is important to create picture cards of the child’s preferred objects, place the preferred objects in a see-through container that the child cannot open, and only present a few picture cards at a time. In order for the request to be effective and complete, the child must place the card into the communication partner’s hand. Once the child has completed the request, reinforce the communicative act and reward him/her with the preferred object. This video was created by Lauren Eisner, a student in the Speech-Language Pathology Master's program at the University of Maryland.



Print Awareness - Getting the Most from Book Reading

Submitted by bbeck23 on Mon, 12/17/2018 - 22:34

There’s more to reading than understanding words on a page. Children also have to learn about books and text and how we can use them to learn about the world around us. Print knowledge refers to what children know about the forms and functions of written language (i.e., reading and writing). Print knowledge is a foundational skill for learning to read. Young children begin developing these skills even before they enter school. Take a look at this demonstration from Christina Bloomquist, a graduate student at the University of Maryland!



Aspects of print knowledge include: 1) book and print organization, 2) print meaning, 3)letter knowledge, and 4) word knowledge. Book and print organization refers to the ways in which print is organized in various texts. Print meaning refers to the knowledge of the functions of print as a communication device. Letter knowledge encompasses the knowledge of the distinctive features and names of individual letters. Word knowledge refers to the knowledge of words as units of print that correspond to spoken language.

Shared book reading activities are a great way for children to learn more about books and reading.Practice of print knowledge skills can be easily incorporated into book reading with your child. Below I’ve described the different aspects of print knowledge and examples of ways to practice these skills while reading a book. The video shows an example of what print knowledge practice could look like during book reading.


Book and print organization


  • What is the title of the book? From the title, what do we think this book is about?


  • Who is the author of the book? What does the author do? They write the words!
  • Who is the illustrator of the book? What does the illustrator do? They draw the pictures!

Page order

  • Which page do we read first? First, we read the left page, then we read the right page.
  • Which page do we turn to find out what happens next? We turn the page on the right.

Page organization

  • Where do we start reading on a page? We start reading at the top left corner of the page and read down the page.

Print direction

  • In what direction do we read the words? We read words from the left to the right.

Print meaning


  • What are the words in the book telling us?
    • A speech bubble can tell us what a character is saying.
    • The type of font used can tell us about what someone is saying. For example, if a word is very large on the page relative to the other words, maybe someone is saying this word loudly.

Environmental print

  • What are the words in the environment of the book telling us?
    • Words on buildings can tell us what they are (e.g., “School”)
    • Words on a sign can tell us something too (e.g., “Stop” on a stop sign)

Concept of reading

  • How do we read a book to find out what happens in the story?
    • What do you think this book is about just by looking at the cover? Let’s look at the pages and read the words to find out!
    • If we start reading halfway through the book, will we know what happens in the story? No, we have to read from the beginning to the end to know what happens.

Letter knowledge

Upper-and lower-case forms

  • Knowledge that letters have two different forms: upper-case (big) and lower-case (small).
    • How many M’s are in this word, “Mom”? Can you show me the big M? What about the little m? They’re both the letter M, but one is big and one is little.
    • Is this an upper-case letter or a lower-case letter?

Letter names

  • Knowledge of all of the letters and their sounds.
    • What letter does this word, “mermaid” start with? “Mermaid” starts with the letter M.
    • What letter does this word, “team” start with? “Team” starts with the letter T.

Concept of letter

  • Can you point to all the N’s on this page?
  • "Tiger” starts with T. What other words can you think of that start with the letter T?
  • How many letters are in this word, “swam”? S–W–A–M. 1–2–3–4. 4 letters!

Word knowledge

Concept of words in print

  • I’m looking for a word on this page. Is this a word (point to the word “rock”) or is this a word (point to picture of a rock)? This is a word (point to word)!
  • Most of the words on this page are black. There’s one word that’s white. Can you find the white word?
  • How many words are on this page? Let’s count!

Short words and long words

  • Look at these two words: “we” and “sharks.” Which word is the longer word? Right, “sharks” is longer than the word “we.”

Letters and words

  • This is the word “scary.” How many letters are in this word? Let’s count!
  • Can you tell me the letters that make up the word “no”? N–O. That’s right!

Word identification

  • This is the word “we.” Can you find the word “we” somewhere else on this page?
  • “She really is too fast!” Can you find the word “fast” on this page?



1. Focus on two or three skills when reading a book. This will help your child learn these skills more easily. For example, while reading one book you could focus on counting the letters in long words and finding environmental print in the pictures. With another book, you could work on finding the letter M and remembering where to start reading on each page.

2. Be sure to provide supportive, encouraging feedback! These skills seem automatic to us now but learning them can be tough. Giving positive feedback is a good way to encourage your child to keep trying and learning, even if some questions are challenging.

3. Keep reading fun! Shared book reading is a great way to practice reading skills, and it can also be a fun activity for you and your child.


Signs for Emerging Talkers

Submitted by jortiz5 on Fri, 12/07/2018 - 13:53


Sign language is a great way for children to begin communicating. Contrary to beliefs, sign language does not prevent verbal communication. In fact, the use of sign language has been proven in research to promote more talking in children. Avery Rain, a student in the Speech-Language Pathology Master's program at the University of Maryland created this video to demonstrate how to implement basic signs for emerging talkers.


Breaking Down Words into Syllables

Submitted by bbeck23 on Fri, 11/30/2018 - 08:38

All words have syllables and dividing words into syllables provides excellent benefits to children. Dividing words into parts will help children decode so they can read more fluently and accurately. Segmenting words will also assist children in spelling words correctly. Here are some tips to help your child break down words into syllables. A downloadable version is available here: https://umd.box.com/s/z0td5kcl6sbkwblts2uasl3w4q0zdpql



This video was created by Allesondra Sanchez, a student in the Speech-Language Pathology Master's program at the University of Maryland.

Developmental Language Disorder Awareness Day 2018

Submitted by jortiz5 on Fri, 10/19/2018 - 09:15

Today is international Developmental Language Disorder (DLD) Awareness Day. All of the children that we work with here at LEAP have challenges related to their communication ability. Also known as Specific Language  Impairment, or Expressive/Receptive Language Delay, this disorder affects many children, and early identification is essential. Please help spread awareness about this important issue, so that we can help support early identification and intervention.

Visit https://www.facebook.com/pg/radld.page for more information.




Speech Sound Disorders in Children

Submitted by jortiz5 on Tue, 07/24/2018 - 13:00


You may have noticed that young children often misproduce certain sounds. Many children produce some sounds differently than what we may expect. It is very common for young kids to swap out one sound for another, or to have a little difficulty getting one sound just right. This is a normal developmental process for children; as they are expanding the range of sounds that they can say, some sounds will come earlier than others. For some children, though, the process of speech sound development may not follow a typical trajectory, because of a speech sound disorder.

A speech sound disorder is a broad category of that includes several types of communication disorders which affect the perception or production of sounds. Difficulty in speech production often results in impaired intelligibility, or how well someone can be understood. Intelligibility is often rated as a percentage. For example, a parent may say that they can understand about half of what their child says. We would say that this child is about 50% intelligible to a familiar listener.


Types of Speech Sound Disorders

There are several distinct types of speech sound disorders, including phonological disorders, articulation disorders, and motor speech disorders. Each of these types of disorders has a different etiology, and treatment approach. Phonological and articulation disorders are two of the most frequently occurring types of speech sound disorders in children. When a child has a phonological disorder, this means that they are having difficulty producing specific sounds, and substitute certain sounds for others. For example, many young children may produce the sound “d” in place of “g”, resulting in a word like “dog” being produced as “dod”. These types of substitutions are consistent, and make up what we refer to as phonological processes.

Articulation disorders are similar to phonological disorders, in that certain sounds are produced incorrectly. The main difference, though, is that articulation disorders do not involve sound substitutions, but rather sound misarticulations or distortions. In other words, certain sounds are produced slightly off-target, but they are not being substituted by other sounds. For example, a child who has difficulty producing clear “s” sounds would likely be identified as having an articulation disorder.

Motor speech disorders are a type of speech sound disorder that result from difficulty coordinating the motor movements associated with the articulators. Childhood apraxia of speech (CAS) is a common type of pediatric motor speech disorder. Children diagnosed with CAS often have difficulty consistently producing speech sounds, resulting in reduced intelligibility. For more information about CAS, please visit the American Speech-Language Hearing Association website.


Speech Sound Development

As children are learning the sounds of their language, they will often have limited intelligibility simply because they have not yet acquired all of the sounds they need to be fully understood. For every language in the world, there is typical trajectory of development. In other words, sounds are acquired in the same order, and within the same range of time for all children learning that language. For English, the following chart shows at what ages specific sounds are acquired.



The causes of speech sound disorders are often related to other underlying conditions, but it is possible that there may be no clear reason for the disorder. Some conditions that may result in a speech sound disorder include the follow:

  • Developmental disorders, such as autism or developmental delay
  • Brain damage or trauma, like cerebral palsy
  • A genetic syndrome, like Down syndrome
  • Hearing loss
  • A history of ear infections



Treatment for speech sound disorders should always include a licensed speech-language pathologist. There are a variety of different approaches and treatment techniques. Each treatment plan is highly individualized, and your child’s speech pathologist will determine the most appropriate approach. It is important to note that speech sound disorders have little to do with muscle strength. Doing mouth or tongue exercises to increase strength will do nothing to support the development of improved intelligibility.

If you are concerned about your child’s intelligibility, you should consult with a speech-language pathologist. They will conduct an evaluation to determine the degree to which a speech sound disorder may be causing difficulty with speech production. Although you may be tempted to wait it out, it is best to consult with someone who is knowledgeable about pediatric speech sound development. A speech-language pathologist can offer guidance about the best course of action if treatment is recommended.


José A. Ortiz, M.A., CCC-SLP

The Importance of Phonological Awareness

Submitted by jortiz5 on Mon, 07/16/2018 - 16:12


Have you ever wondered why children learning to read will start by sounding out letters? Or, have you wondered why clapping syllables is a helpful strategy for kids learning to count syllables in words? Perhaps you have though about how even young children are able to rhyme words without much direct instruction. These are all examples of tasks that are related to phonological awareness. Phonological awareness, simply put, is our ability to identify and manipulate sounds and syllables in words and sentences.

Phonological awareness is a critical skill in early literacy development. Literacy acquisition is fundamentally dependent on phonological awareness. As emerging readers, we rely on our ability to identify the constituent sounds that makes up words in order to learn what each word “sounds like”. For typically developing children, phonological awareness does not have to be explicitly taught; children acquire this skills as they are learning their language. When a child has strong phonological awareness skills, they are well-positioned to develop strong literacy skills in the future. Those children who have difficulty with phonological awareness may require additional support.


Elements of Phonological Awareness

So what is phonological awareness exactly? Several related elements make up the set of skills that we refer to as phonological awareness. These skills include:

  • Segmenting allows us to identify individual sounds within words. When a child is able to identify that the first sound in the word “bus” is a “b”, they are exhibiting their ability to segment. We can also segment syllables (e.g. “What is the first syllable in the word ‘folder’?”)
  • Blending is the ability to combine individual sounds or syllables, in order to form a word. What word that is made up of the sounds “c”, “a”, and “t”? If you are able to recognize this as the word “cat”, then you demonstrated that you are able to blend sounds together to form a word.
  • Adding, deleting is the ability to create a new word when a new sound is added to the word. For example, if we add the “b” to the word “all”, we have a new word: “ball”. Deleting is just the opposite: “ball” becomes “all” when we take away the “b” sound.
  • Substituting allows us to replace certain sounds with other sounds in words. Imagine that you are asked what word we get when we replace the “r” in the “read” to and “l”. The new word, “lead” has all of the same sounds as the original, with the exception that the “r” has been substituted.
  • Rhyming allows us identify words that share a common final syllable. For example, we know that “cat” and “bat” rhyme, because they end with exactly the same syllable, and only differ in the initial sound.


It is important to underscore the point that phonological awareness itself is not the same thing as literacy, but it is a prerequisite skill. Literacy is our ability to decode and comprehend written text, but phonological awareness underlies our ability to become literate. Let’s look at an example like the word “dog”. When we look at this word we need to be able to first identify that there are three individual letters, each with a corresponding sound. By taking each of these three sounds, and blending them together, we are essentially sounding the word out in our head. This process is commonly referred to as decoding. After putting these sounds together into a word, we can then search for this word in our mental dictionary to find the appropriate meaning. Although we may think of reading as a visual activity, one’s ability to recognize and parse out the individual sounds in written text is fundamental to reading.


Supporting Phonological Awareness at Home

Early literacy development depends on a number of factors. One of the best things that parents can do is to provide early and frequent exposure to printed materials. Children who demonstrate a greater level of interest in printed materials will demonstrate a greater level of success with literacy acquisition. Similarly, parents’ attitudes toward reading is a key factor in determining how engaged children are with literacy activities. Your children should have ample opportunities to manipulate books by the time they are beginning to read. Although young children may not know how to manipulate printed materials, simply giving them the opportunity to open books, turn pages, and move their finger from left to right on the page is incredibly beneficial. The more opportunities that young children have to work with printed material, the greater the potential for successful outcomes.

There are many ways to help children with their phonological awareness development. Below are a few examples of things that parents can do to support phonological awareness skills at home:

  • Play rhyming games with your children. See if your children can produce some rhymes for one and two syllable words.
  • Have your children count the number of syllables in words. You can use clapping as a way of modeling how to count syllables.
  • See if you children can identify new words that are formed if you take away, or add a syllable. For example, adding “shoe” to the word “lace” makes “shoelace”. Similarly, taking away “air” from the word “airplane” makes the word “plane”.
  • Provide a few sounds to your children and ask them what word is formed when you put the sound togher. For example, say the individual sounds “b”, “i”, and “g” (pausing between each sound) and see if they can blend the sounds together.
  • For older preschool-age children who can read a few words, present different words and ask them how the word would change if you added, subtracted, and changed one of the letters.


Seeking Help

Although phonological awareness does not need to be explicitly taught for many children, there are instances in which additional support is needed. Importantly, children with diagnosed speech sound delays/disorders are at a greater risk of having delays in phonological awareness development. If you are concerned about your child’s phonological awareness development, seek out the guidance of licensed speech-language pathologist who can conduct the appropriate type of assessment. Support for phonological awareness skill development can be addressed through speech therapy, and with additional instruction in the classroom.


José A. Ortiz, M.A, CCC-SLP