When my first-born was a toddler, she and I had a special way of communicating. At the time I didn’t realize we were basically playing a kiddie version of Charades; a series of hand gestures, a grunt here or there and Voila! I was able to determine that Madison wanted milk in her pink sippy cup or her favorite baby doll. As time passed and she got older, the grunts sounded more and more like words. However, the words weren’t understandable. Instead of baby she said “dee-dee.” French fry sounded like, “tench tie.”
It seemed perfectly normal to me.
My mother, a retired elementary school teacher, approached me about my daughter’s speech. Gently and firmly,she suggested speech lessons. “Her tongue placement is off,” I vividly remember my mom saying. Up until that point I just assumed she would outgrow it. After a few months her daycare sent home a flyer to all the children in her class offering speech/language testing. My daughter’s teachers agreed that she would benefit greatly from this. I suspected they had a hard time understanding her, and at times so did I.
The Goldman Fristoe 2 Test of Articulation (GFTA-2) was administered to assess my daughter’s pronunciation of words. The evaluation showed many of her errors were a result of the phonological process of stopping- or when normal airflow of a sound is cut off - and determined that she exhibited a moderate to severe articulation delay. I enrolled my daughter in speech lessons once per week with Speech Wise, a private speech therapy practice located in South Charlotte. A wonderful Speech-Language Pathologist named Angela was able to visit my daughter’s daycare and after a few short months of therapy, my daughter’s speech greatly improved. No longer did she mispronounce words. She was able to enroll in a top school in Charlotte without her language skills serving as a barrier for communication. The teachers at her new school understood her completely and weren’t able to tell that she previously had speech issues. It was a relief knowing that my kid would grow up speaking confidently to others.
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There are many services in Charlotte that help children from toddler age to teen years with speech language issues. If you suspect your child may need to be tested, check with his or her daycare or school first to learn what services are available. Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools has a program in place to offer language services to children, and many private schools partner with local businesses that offer speech services on site at the school or daycare.
Here are a few private and public speech language services in the Charlotte area:
Mecklenburg Children’s Developmental Services Agency (CDSA)
North Carolina Infant-Toddler Program (NC ITP)
Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools Exceptional Children Program
CMS Exceptional Children Intake
*For parents of preschool aged children