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Special Services - Speech and Language

Wenonah Speech and Language Information

Mrs. Tara Timms

Hello and welcome to the Speech and Language webpage!  We are the full-time Speech-Language Pathologists at Wenonah School District and we work with students to improve a number of areas.  Eligible students receive services to meet their individual needs in the following areas:

·         Articulation – the production of speech sounds

·         Expressive Language – the ability to use verbal and nonverbal  communication skills

·         Receptive Language – the ability to understand language

·         Voice – the ability to use appropriate rate, volume, and tone of voice

·         Speech Fluency – the ability to produce smooth, flowing speech



Frequently Asked Questions

Q.   How do I enroll my child in speech therapy?

A.   Students must be evaluated by a Speech-Language Specialist.  Evaluation results determine whether or not a child is eligible for Speech services.

Q. How can I get my child evaluated for Speech services?

A. Parents are encouraged to speak to their child’s classroom teacher about possible concerns.  If the teacher agrees, she/ he can submit a referral for a Speech evaluation.

Q. How does a child become eligible for services?

A. Standardized tests are used in the evaluation process.  These results are one component to determine eligibility.  The other major component is that a negative educational impact is present, secondary to the child’s speech difficulties.  This     negative educational impact must be documented by the classroom teacher.


Q. What happens if my child qualifies for Speech services?

A. A meeting will be held and an Individualized Education Program (IEP) will be developed.  The IEP outlines the student’s goals and services, based on his/ her individual needs.

Q. What happens if my child does not qualify for Speech services?

A. Strategies and techniques will be provided to parents, as appropriate.

Speech and Language Development



Speech development begins at birth with the baby’s first cry.  Children also master speech sounds at different rates.  By age 8, children should be able to say all speech sounds correctly.

Birth – 3 months

  • Uses limited sounds.
  • Communicates by crying.
  • Varies crying according to needs, such as hunger or pain.

3 – 6 months

  • Coos with vowel- like sounds.
  • Begins to explore making different sounds; may produce some consonant sounds.

 6 – 12 months

  • Begins babbling with consonant and vowel combinations.
  • Begins imitating sounds made by others.

12 – 18 months

  • Begins to use meaningful words.
  • Uses pronunciation that is not precise.
  • Uses most vowels and some consonants consistently.


1 ½ - 2 years

  • Demonstrates rapid speech sound development.
  • Tends to simplify difficult words, such as “nana” for “banana’

3 – 5 years

  • Uses speech that is 80 – 100% understandable.
  • Develops more complex speech sounds, such as consonant blends.


Language development begins at birth.  Some children develop language faster and some more slowly than others.  By 5, most children have mastered basic elements of adult language.

Birth – 6 months

  • Makes different cries to which parents learn to respond appropriately.
  • Begins to respond to familiar voices and sounds turning, looking, and/ or smiling.

7 – 12 months

  • Begins to understand the meaning of words.
  • Learns language of daily routines, such as eating, bedtime.

12 – 24 months

  • Produces first words and meaningful sound combinations.
  • Follows a variety of basic directions.
  • Recognizes common objects and their uses.
  • Uses at least 100 words by 24 months.

2 – 3 years

  • Begins using more words daily and puts words together to expand on their meaning.
  • Uses sentences of 3 – 4 words by age 3.
  • Uses 300 – 500 words by age 3.


3 – 5 years

  • Follows 2-step directions.
  • Uses approximately 600 to 1,600 words.
  • Talks about recent events and experiences.
  • Uses sentences of increasing length and complexity.


Ways to Increase Language Skills at Home

  • Place desired objects out of reach, but in sight and have child request them

(I want _______, please).

  • Place favorite item in a container that is difficult to open, such as a mason jar or tight tupperware.  This will encourage requesting “help” and result in social interaction and communication between parent and child.
  • Have child request to open the door, turn on the water, use the bathroom, turn on the television, open the refrigerator, get a snack, get a drink, etc.
  • Have child request during dinner (I want _____, please).  Have him/ her request for “more” ( I want more ______, please).  Have child “Go get” items that are needed, i.e. someone’s glass is empty, “Go get the milk”.
  • Purposely take a key object out as he/ she performs a daily routine.  For example, if he/ she has to brush his/ her teeth, put the toothpaste in a different spot and have him/ her request it (I want/ need toothpaste, l please).
  • When seeing your child for the first time in the morning, get on his/ her level, make eye contact and say, “Good morning”.  Have your child look at you, provide a verbal model, and imitate appropriately, “Good morning, _______”.  Have your child greet each member in the family in the morning and afternoon.
  • Let your child help pack and unpack.  Designate spots for each item and set a routine (coat hung, backpack opened, folder out, backpack hung, shoes off, etc.).
  • Have your child help set the table.  This is a great task to label items, count items, follow directions, and learn routine.
  • Have your child put away clothes and toys.  The items need designated spots in your house.  Begin by directing him/ her to clean up one item (put your socks in the top drawer) and model as necessary to provide him/ her with success.


Remember – approximations are the first step!

If your child is unable to label an item, provide the model and have him/ her repeat you.

Every attempt at communication needs to be praised and encouraged!