I think my child needs help with speech and language – What should I do?

May is Speech and Hearing month and there’s no better way to celebrate than to offer $20 screenings! S.L. Hunter SpeechWorks is offering $20 speech and language screenings for the entire month of May. You can call us today to book yours now!


Speech and language development is important for learning, literacy, and communicating with others. Early assessment and treatment of speech and language difficulties makes a big difference in a child’s prognosis for improvement.

Speech and Language screenings are a helpful tool used to determine if a child is developing within the “average” range when compared to other children his or her age. Screening tests identify areas that may need further assessment and are an important part of increasing your awareness of your child’s needs, strengths, and weaknesses.


At Speechworks, our speech and language screenings will look at the following areas of your child’s language:

  • Comprehension
  • Verbal expression
  • Articulation and Phonology (speech sounds and processing of speech sound patterns)
  • Early Literacy
  • Voice
  • Resonance
  • Social Language Skills
  • Fluency (stuttering)

Screenings are performed through play activities; discussion with parents, and observations made during the session. Screenings are completed in approximately 15-20 minutes.

What Happens If My Child Does Not Pass the Screening?

Depending on the difficulties noted by the SLP, you may be provided with strategies and tips to work on at home with your child, with follow up recommended in a month or so. If your child has notable difficulties that are not developmental in nature, then further assessment and evaluation will be recommended to develop a plan for treatment.

Visit our website for more details about our services or call us to book your child’s speech and language screening today!

Linda Saarenvirta is a speech-language pathologist who has been practicing for over 20 years in the healthcare field.  She has worked with a variety of communication disorders and clients of all ages.  She is extremely passionate about voice therapy and enjoys helping clients achieve their vocal needs.  Her client centered approach to therapy ensures all clients maximize their potential and achieve their goals.


Targeting Language Delays in Young Children


Your child’s first three years of life are the most intensive period for speech and language development. Children learn through modeling, imitation, and most importantly, through play. There are many important strategies that can be used when targeting language delays in young children.


Be Face to Face with your child: If the child is sitting at the table then sit at the table with him/her.  If they are laying on the floor then lay on the floor with them.  Be sure they can see your mouth and eyes.

Keep It Simple: Use simple words, keeping it to 1-2 word phrases. Use a variety of different words such as action words, nouns, location words, and descriptive words.

Label,  Repeat and Interpret: Label all objects and actions while playing, reading books, driving in the car, playing at the park, or giving your child a bath. Repeat each label multiple times so the child is exposed to the words numerous times during a single activity. It is important to target language during all daily activities/routines.

Reduce Questions/Ask Good Questions: Always label an object instead of asking a child “what is that?” If you are unsure what the child wants then you can ask them “what do you want?” or “what are you looking for?” If you already know the answer to the question then you should not ask the question.

OWLing – Observe, Wait, Listen: Observe what the child is doing, wait to see if the child will respond with a word or a sound or gesture, listen for any attempt at an approximation to your model.

Turn Taking: A turn can be a physical turn with a game or a toy or it may be that the child makes eye contact with you when it is their turn.  A turn may be a gesture, a word or a single sound.  Anytime the child responds in any way to you, it can be considered a turn.

Example Activities

Bath Time

Words you can use are, water; while running the bath or putting water on the child, splash; when splashing in the water, wash; while washing the child,  soap; while getting ready to wash your child,  duck (label all the toys in the bath), swim; make the toys swim in the water.

Playing at the park

Swing; have child take a turn by either saying “swing” or an approximation or making eye contact or making a swinging motion with their body, slide; child may point or attempt to say slide after you model it for them,  push; use this on the swing,  fast; use this on the swing or when running around the park,  up & down; use on the swing or the slide,  wee; Can be used on any of the equipment, climb; can be used on the slide,  stop; can be used on the swing or the slide, stop the child half way down the slide then have them attempt to say “stop” when you stop them and “go” to go down the rest of the way or use on the swing.

Reading a book

Label all of the pictures and what noises the animals make (if there are animals in the pictures) Describe the objects in the book eg. Big dog, small duck, colors; yellow duck, brown dog etc.

Dinner time

Have child help you set the table and label utensils, eat; have the child label what everyone around the table is doing, color of food, yummy, label drinks etc.

Driving in the car

Label other vehicles or things you see when driving.

The more language a child is exposed to the more chance that this will enhance their vocabulary and language development.  So keep these easy strategies listed above in mind and watch your child’s language and vocabulary blossom!

Note:  These strategies taken from Hanen programs.

GwenBlackburn-220Gwen is a Communicative Disorders Assistant with more than 17 years of experience working with a diverse client base.  Her experiences have provided her with the wonderful opportunity to be associated with adults suffering from brain injuries, those that have experienced a stroke, children with articulation and language difficulties and children who have a limited word repertoire.