Reading, Language and Speech Therapy Services
Dallas Reading and Language Services specializes in serving school age and pre-school children. The main therapist utilizes a multi-modal approach targeted to the student's strengths and learning style. This actively engages the client's strengths, while addressing weaker areas.
About our Speech-Language Therapy
If therapy is recommended for your child after the evaluation, an individualized plan with goals will be discussed with parents and older students prior to beginning. Most of our clients attend therapy twice weekly. Some may attend three times and others who are closer to meeting goals may only attend once weekly.
Different reading programs are implemented along with the child's specific goals to address his or her areas of need. At Dallas Reading and Language Services, we usually recommend the reading programs for children who are in grades Kindergarten through middle school and showing need for this type of intervention.
Parents are welcome to observe sessions as they are able. Your child may have materials for home practice with verbal and written instructions for caregivers. The child's family and pediatrician will receive monthly progress reports with information on specific short and long term goals. Each client will be formally re-evaluated at least every six months or at discharge.
Continue reading below for specific information related to our therapy with Pre-school and School Age children.
Our Speech Cue Cards, developed by Rachel Betzen, CCC/SLP are available for free download at our site for developing pre-literacy skills:
We can help your child with speech problems such as articulation, phonological disorders, apraxia, or dysarthria. Pre-school age children respond well to improving their speech skills. Through therapy, sounds become easier for them to hear and produce.
For pre-schoolers we use this speech cue program, in addition to direct kinesthetic, auditory or visual feedback. This program has a hand cue for each sound, along with picture cards that represent each sound with it's letter match. These cards can also be used as a beginning program to address reading skills in children that are not ready for other traditional multi-sensory reading programs.
We assist young children that have language delays by providing language stimulation in a structured environment. Language therapy with young children is designed to expose the child to language forms and concepts. Therapy also provides a meaningful format for the child to practice and succeed on their level. We help the child build categories, and increase their understanding of how concepts are put together and related to one another.
Therapy for pre-school age children is done within a context of literacy through using speech cues with letters, using story cards and other stories, sequencing common activities, using story boxes, and using words in addition to targeted pictures and objects.
For our younger clients, we use a highly individualized approach which targets each child's communication weaknesses while capitalizing on the child's strengths. Our therapy with pre-school children is structured to be literacy rich. Our main speech-language pathologist believes this is important. Children that have language difficulties in pre-school are at higher risk for learning problems, and these should be monitored and addressed early.
Family members are allowed to observe therapy in the room as long as their presence does not affect the child's participation. Parents receive regular updates on their child's therapy, either through written notes or verbally. This is in addition to monthly progress reports and bi-annual evaluations.
For School Age Children
We address the overall communication and language skills of older children in a holistic manner. School age children in a one-one therapy setting often make huge gains in speech-therapy. Many of these children respond well to a multi-sensory program for improving speech. This has been particularly true for children that have apraxia. We use whatever modality the child naturally learns best with to improve speech skills.
Understanding and using language is so important to many facets of a child's life. If a child is missing pieces when listening to directions or a story, they are trying to fit together what they do have to make sense of what is happening around them. We help to change how a child processes language to make it more efficient and allow the child to grasp the whole picture. Much of language therapy is also aimed at improving a child's understanding of how concepts are related, how parts relate to a whole, how words are put together to expand sentences, and how to unlock the process of learning by inferencing.
At Dallas Reading and Language Services reading programs are offered to children who are behind their age or grade level only. We use three main programs to address reading decoding and comprehension skills, all of which aim at building underlying areas of weakness and changing the way a child approaches the task of reading. This is different from traditional reading tutoring at a tutor center where the skill areas are taught with additional exposure to the material and instruction. Many of the reading programs that we use are also used by trained tutors for children that have been diagnosed with dyslexia. Children using these programs not only increase sound awareness, but also their awareness of what sounds feel and look like. Clients are better able to discriminate and sequence sounds, and read and spell words. A major advantage to these programs is that clients learn to self correct their errors through kinesthetic or sensory feedback. Similar strategies that are used to improve language comprehension skills are applied to increasing reading comprehension.
We know that there are many methods for reading instruction. Despite inconsistency in how reading has been taught in recent years, many children did learn the basic skills necessary to be good readers. With children that have typical intelligence and multiple learning opportunities, the problem with reading often has to do with specific weaknesses.
Many children that have reading difficulties have decreased phonological awareness skills. This is the ability to hear and manipulate sounds. As children are learning to read, most classrooms will have some phonological awareness activities to enhance their learning. These could be finding items that begin with a certain sound, rhyming games, clapping syllables in words, and deleting sounds from words.
Children with poor sound awareness often also show difficulty with language processing overall, from paragraphs to sentences, words to individual sounds. Speech-Language therapy can assist these children with increasing their efficiency and accuracy when it comes to understanding what they hear.
Phonological awareness has been researched and studied by professionals. A major finding is that phonological awareness is a key skill that is necessary for learning to decode and read efficiently (View our Research and Links page for more information) This weakness in the ability to hear sounds may be further compounded by decreased awareness of how we produce sounds. In short, these children do not hear, perceive, and sometimes produce sounds the same way as others do. The solution is to provide a different, multi-sensory method of teaching.
At Dallas Reading and Language Services, programs for speech, reading and/or language are incorporated as needed on an individual basis. The therapist targets these goals within many of the same activities, thus the child will work towards more than one individualized goal within an activity.
Communication and Language are powerful.
Children with speech and language delays or disorders face an uphill climb due to the challenges these present. Speech-Language therapy and reading services have changed the lives of our clients in lasting ways. Whether calming a toddler's tantrums as he begins to express his wants, or watching a school-age child flourish in their home and school life for the first time, we are reminded of the power that communication holds.
The therapy and reading programs provided at Dallas Reading and Language Services are unique in that goals are addressed within the context of literacy. This is important for children aged pre-school through adolescents as they expand into another functional context with their burgeoning speech and language skills.
How are Speech Language Pathologists related to reading?
Reading is essentially language, and we can think of this as part of a hierarchy. At the base we have our experiences and knowledge which children use to build their basic vocabulary and language skills. As they become more skilled and receive formal instruction, they are able to place the abstract sounds of our language and the letters that represent them together to create meaning, or written words. Language is a system of symbols, and reading is another symbol system imposed on top of our language. If there is a weakness anywhere in this hierarchy, difficulty with higher level skills, such as reading and writing, will result. This is why children who have speech or language difficulties as pre-schoolers are at a higher risk of having learning problems in school, particularly when learning to read.
The national governing organization for speech-language pathologists and audiologists, ASHA encourages SLPs to use literacy rich activities within speech-language therapy. The American Speech-Language Association also recognizes the importance of reading and writing as language skills, and places them within the scope of practice for a speech-language therapist to address with clients.
Please visit our other pages to learn about how we can help your child. Our Links page is a good place to start to find information about other programs and services in Texas. Our Glossary is filled with terms about reading, language and speech. As you learn more about how reading works and how speech-language pathologists are trained in this area, this list of terms will be helpful.
Dallas Reading and Language Services provides traditional speech-language pathology services to children and adolescents from toddlers to high-school age. We occasionally will provide services to adults on a case by case basis, if we feel that we can help that person meet their desired objectives, whether for speech, language or reading decoding/comprehension.
Dallas Reading and Language Services
Rachel Betzen MA, CCC-SLP
1005 W. Jefferson Blvd. Suite 306
Dallas, TX 75208