presented by Barbara L. Davis
Children identified early with significant delay(s) in achieving age-appropriate communication skills are either referred due to significant medical or educational diagnoses evident at birth or referred (likely after 12 months) for delay or disorder evident in their progress in achieving early vocal or social milestones. In the case of vocal delay, a major intervention goal is to assess the child’s prognosis for developing an oral communication system. A second goal is to stimulate the child’s use of oral communication. Target selection must accommodate previously diagnosed (e.g., cleft palate) or identified (e.g., no emergence of vocalizations) capacities. Choosing targets is based on the individual profile of each child. In the case of early medical or social diagnosis, clinicians must be knowledgeable regarding the etiology of the child’s delay/disorder. In the case of developmental delay/disorder, clinicians must be knowledgeable about early vocal milestones in the first year of life when choosing targets.
Dr. Barbara Davis is the Houston Harte Centennial Professor of Communication Emerita at The University of Texas at Austin. She has also worked as an SLP in public schools, private practice, and at the Texas Department of Health. Dr. Davis has published more than 100 articles and book chapters and two books. Her research and teaching interests include acquisition of speech production skill and applications to speech disorders. She has studied typically developing infants in English and diverse language environments, as well as childhood apraxia of speech and speech patterns in young infants receiving cochlear implants and in children diagnosed with autism. Her teaching profile includes Speech Science, Phonetics, Infant-Toddler Intervention, and Developmental Speech Disorders. She has presented continuing-education workshops to SLPs nationally and internationally since 1987.
Children identified early with significant delay(s) in achieving age-appropriate communication skills are either referred due to significant medical or educational diagnoses evident at birth or referred (likely after 12 months) for delay or disorder evident in their progress in achieving early vocal or social milestones. These children are most likely to be served in outpatient hospital settings or by the Federal Early Childhood Intervention (ECI) program.
Because children in the 0-3 age range may show persistence of vocal functions and structures generally observed in the first year of life in children developing typically or vocal behaviors not observed in typical development, a background of normal development is needed for making an early diagnosis of clinical delay/disorder in the absence of other observable etiological factors. Understanding of language milestones (particularly pragmatic function) and emergence of word types or utterance level characteristics is also necessary for differential diagnosis of speech versus language delay/disorder.
Most available speech intervention approaches are focused on children who are reliably attaching their vocal capacities to language forms (i.e., at the word or utterance level). Goals for children 0-3 will likely focus both on sounds occurring in word-based output and immature vocal and general communication capacities that occur in the pre-linguistic period. Intervention targets for 0-3 children with vocal/verbal delays or disorders will relate to the sound patterns they can produce. The relationship between a child's vocal development level and the sound patterns in goals and targets during intervention will be explored.