How a speech-language pathologist can help your child

By Rebecca Bowen, M.A. CCC-SLP

When people hear “speech therapist” they often picture someone sitting at a table with a deck of flashcards drilling the correct production of “s” (think Sylvester from Looney Tunes). While this is definitely part of what we do it is only a small part of the speech-language-voice-hearing-swallowing-social skills adventure that is an SLPs daily life.

A speech-language pathologist (SLP) is an allied health professional with masters-level training and a clinical fellowship in the diagnosis and treatment of communication and swallowing disorders.

Let’s take a look at the three areas we address most often at The Center for LifeSkills.


Speech is the use of the voicebox, tongue, lips, and jaw to produce sounds to convey a message. Children with speech issues can be difficult to understand. Speech issues that we treat include:

  • Lisps
  • Stuttering
  • Speech sound errors
  • Voice problems


    2. Language

Language is the understanding and production of messages based on the correct choice and combination of words and phrases. Children with language problems may have difficulty with:

  • Following directions
  • Making sentences
  • Vocabulary
  • Grammar

    Language has two main parts: Receptive and Expressive

Receptive language is used in listening and reading. Children use receptive language when:

  • Following directions
  • Pointing to things when asked
  • Understanding concepts
  • Understanding grammar

Expressive language is used in talking and writing. Children use expressive language when:

  • Asking for things
  • Sharing ideas
  • Conveying their message accurately
  • Using proper grammar

3. Social skills

Our SLPs also specialize in social skills. Social skills refer to the ability to understand and follow the social “rules” of communication to facilitate and encourage interaction with others. Socials skills include:

  • Eye contact
  • Taking turns
  • Greetings
  • Closings
  • Gaining attention
  • Disagreeing

What you can do

You can do many things to encourage development of speech, language and social skills. You can: 

  • Talk to your child about things they care about
  • Narrate your everyday tasks aloud as you are doing them
  • Leave space for your child to respond, even if they don’t
  • Model correct speech
  • Give choices and reward attempts to communicate
  • Expand what your child says
  • Use books and toys as a jumping off point- your engagement is the most important than the toy

Whether you are concerned about your child’s speech, language, or social skills, the SLPs at the Center for LifeSkills are here to help.

If you are interested in learning more, or scheduling an appointment, please call 440-498-1100 or send an email to grow@center4lifeskills.com

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