Mequon Speech and Learning Connection
Our services include screenings, evaluations, consultations, and individual and group therapies in the following areas:
Orofacial Myofunctional Disorders (OMD):
Orofacial myology relates to the function of the muscles in the face and mouth as they relate to breathing, chewing, and swallowing. Open mouth posturing at rest and a tongue thrust swallow can adversely affect dentition, development of the face, speech, and muscle development. Long term dysfunction and incorrect patterns can cause TMJ, reflux, orthodontic relapse, cavities, obstructive sleep apnea, and even the loss of teeth. There are many different reasons that a person might develop an OMD, so we work closely with other professionals to ensure the best course of treatment for each client. Please click here to read more about OMD.
There are many different articulation disorders that are seen in children. Several areas include omission – when a sound is missing from a word (i.e., “leep” for “sleep”), substitution – when a sound is used in place of the appropriate sound (i.e., “wabbit” for “rabbit”), and lisps – tongue protruding out of the mouth for sounds other than “th”, such as “s” and “z." Speech acquisition is a developmental process. It is a fine motor skill requiring strong, quick and precise movements of 70+ muscles. Just like we don't expect a 2-year-old to color in the lines or tie a shoe, we do not expect young children to have precise speech. There is a developmental hierarchy to speech sound acquisition which often is not completed until age 8. If you have concerns about overall intelligibility (by 4 years old a child should be 100% intelligible) or persistent articulation errors beyond an expected age, an evaluation by a speech/language pathologist is needed to determine if it is a delay requiring therapy or a disorder suggesting possible motor, sensory, or structural reasons for the speech difficulties.
Language is an integral part of all learning, and a language-based learning disorder can affect a child’s academic performance. Early diagnosis and treatment can prevent potential problems with behavior, learning, literacy, self-esteem and social interaction. Language disorders are described as having difficulty comprehending or using spoken or written language. Characteristics seen that are associated with language disorders are: difficulty with word finding, difficulty following directions, grammatically incorrect sentences, inappropriate pronoun and verb tense use, difficulty understanding what is said to them, difficulty remembering, difficulty organizing their thoughts, difficulty sequencing, and difficulty solving problems. The following are the two types of language disorders. Children can present with one or both of these types of language disorders.
This disorder is described as difficulty conveying and expressing one's thoughts and/or feelings through spoken and/or written language.
This disorder is described as a difficulty understanding and/or comprehending spoken or written
Pediatric Occupational Therapy:
Pediatric Occupational Therapy addresses Fine and Gross Motor skills that may limit independence in daily tasks such as exploring their environment, playing, learning, eating, dressing, and toileting. Julia Shannon approaches Sensory Processing and emotional regulation at the core of the Nervous System using the integrative movements of the Feldenkrais Method and Reflex Integration. Julia specializes in infants and children with developmental delays, neuromotor disorders, musculoskeletal disorders, and genetic disorders.
Thumbsucking Elimination Program:
Jennie Herklotz and Kim Harrison offer a 4-week program to eliminate your child's thumb sucking or finger sucking habit. Oral habits can affect teeth, speech, swallowing, and oral structure, causing the need for orthodontics and speech therapy. No appliances are used in our program. Please call for more information.
Infant- Toddler Suck Retraining and Feeding:
Julia Shannon and Kim Harrison specialize in feeding skills with children ages birth to 3. Feeding therapy can help if your baby is having difficulty latching/nursing or was diagnosed with a tongue/lip tie. It can also be effective for children having difficulty advancing from a bottle, "picky eaters", and children with food texture aversions. Please call for more information or see our "Feeding" tab.
Bodywork: Feldenkrais Method
Integrative bodywork is essential for anyone experiencing pain or stress in the body. From babies to adulthood, tension or pulling in the body can create patterns of inefficient movement. Orofacial Myofunctional Disorders can cause a pulling of muscle and fascia throughout the entire body, leading to difficulties with movement, scoliosis, or pain in the head/neck and back. Julia Shannon approaches movement holistically, using the Feldenkrais Method, Reflex Integration, and manual therapy techniques to release tension and integrate movement patterns for increased ease of movement.
The majority of stuttering begins between the ages of 3-6 years of age. A young child is prone to normal dysfluencies as they are learning language; however, if you think your child is stuttering, it is best to contact a Speech- Language Pathologist who can tell you whether your child is stuttering or experiencing normal dysfluencies. It is important to seek treatment as soon as possible if you think that your child may be stuttering. Do NOT wait to see if your child “outgrows” it. The sooner that your child starts therapy, the easier it is to break bad habits that promote stuttering.
A common swallowing disorder seen in children is a tongue thrust swallow (aka. Myofunctional Disorder). Usually, children with swallowing disorders have an abnormal tongue resting posture, which can affect and be closely related to dentition and speech problems. Therefore, swallowing therapy typically works in conjunction with speech therapy and orthodontics to fix any dentition problems.
Voice disorders are defined as when the pitch, loudness, or quality (hoarseness, breathiness, nasality) of one’s voice is inappropriate. It is also when speaking or singing causes discomfort. Voice disorders can be due to straining or excessive use of the voice (yelling), dehydration, GERD (reflux), irregular breathing, and allergies.
An oral motor disorder is an inability to use the oral mechanism for functional speech or feeding, including chewing, blowing, or making specific sounds. Symptoms of an oral motor disorder can include excessive drooling, speech sounds errors/difficult to understand, pocketing foods in cheeks while eating, oral hyper/hyposensitivity, difficulty moving tongue around, and difficulty moving tongue independently from head or jaw.
Executive Functions (EF) are higher level cognitive skills that allow an individual to sustain, divide and/or shift attention for a task, plan/prioritize, organize, initiate, self-regulate and self-evaluate one's performance or behavior. Being a flexible thinker is essential. Weaknesses in theses area can impact how effectively and efficiently one uses his/her language skills for verbal and written communication. Executive Functioning deficits are often associated with attention deficit disorders (with and without hyperactivity). Language skills help with self-mediation of one's behavior. Weakness with EF and language skills affect each other. The staff at Mequon Speech and Learning Connection offer interventions that establish functional strategies to help with organization, time and material management, problem solving, expressing more complex and abstract thoughts and ideas effectively in a cohesive and organized fashion. Therapy also focuses on increasing the individual's understanding of his/her strengths and weaknesses and how these strategies can help (metacognition).
Good communication skills in children are strong predictors of academic and vocational success as adults. Cultivating a strong "social radar", developing skills and behaviors that promote "expected" behaviors that allow the child to "follow the group plan" are among some of the concepts that are introduced, practiced and discussed in our social communication groups at Mequon Speech and Learning Connection. We use elements of Michelle Garcia Winner's Social Thinking(tm) program in our activities.
**If you think your child has a difficulty in one or more of these areas consult a certified SLP/OT who will be able to tell you whether therapy is appropriate or not. Do not wait for your child to “outgrow” it.
Speech and Language services: 1 yr. - young adult
Orofacial Myofunctional services: Any age beginning at 4 years old
Feeding therapy: All ages including infants