st. paul speech therapist mn

ST. PAUL SPEECH THERAPY AND STUTTERING TREATMENT

At ACE, our primary services are the evaluation and treatment of speech and language disorders.  Individualized treatment plans and goals are developed after a speech evaluation has been performed.  Generally, the following process is followed for each client:


Initial Contact

Upon your initial contact or referral to ACE Speech and Language Clinic, LLC by your health care provider, a speech therapist will speak with you to develop an understanding of your speech and language issues and needs. An evaluation at our office will then be scheduled. During the evaluation, your St. Paul speech therapist will use standardized tests and formal and informal methods to diagnose the speech and language problem you or your child are experiencing. If treatment is deemed necessary, your speech therapist will discuss a treatment plan with you. After the evaluation, a report will be written by your St. Paul speech therapist and sent to you and your referring physician. Your therapist is always available to answer any questions that you may have. Initial evaluations can last anywhere from 30 minutes to one hour and sometimes longer.

If you have insurance we will work with you to find out if speech therapy services are covered.  ACE Speech and Language Clinic, LLC is an in-network provider for most insurance companies that serve the state of Minnesota and western Wisconsin.  We will contact the benefits department of your insurance carrier and determine coverage.  Generally, we are able to determine if you have insurance coverage during your evaluation visit.  If it is determined that speech therapy services are covered it is important to note that coverage is not guaranteed until a claim has been submitted to your insurance company and payment has been received.  Even then, sometimes payment is denied retroactively.  We have a great deal of experience dealing with insurance companies and we will do our best to work with you and your insurance company to ensure proper payment for covered services.  Ultimately, you are responsible for your charges and you will be responsible for payment if your insurance company does not reimburse ACE Speech and Language Clinic, LLC for services.

Scheduling

If speech therapy is deemed necessary, your St. Paul speech therapist will place you on their therapy schedule. Scheduling depends on what slots your therapist has open and what times you have available. Every attempt will be made to schedule a therapy time that works best with your schedule although we cannot always meet your preferred time. Often, a client will see more than one of our speech therapists so that we can accommodate your scheduling needs. This works well for our clients and therapists as it allows our St. Paul speech therapists to work closely together to provide an individualized treatment plan for each of our clients.

Therapy

Therapy sessions range from twenty-five minutes in length for young children to forty-five minutes in length for adolescents and adults. Session length is decided upon by the therapist based on the clients' needs.

At ACE, our St. Paul speech therapists are committed to helping our clients meet their speech therapy goals. As is the case with any type of therapy, speech therapy requires a commitment from the client. For the young child, school age child, and adolescent, a commitment is also required from the parents. Our therapists will usually meet with parents on a weekly basis during therapy sessions. This may be in the beginning, during, or at the end of the session. During this short parent meeting, your therapist will discuss the status of therapy, a summary of the current session, techniques that should be practiced at home, etc. In our opinion, parental involvement in your child's therapy is extremely important because it helps your therapist to be more effective in his or her efforts and will help with carryover and transfer of techniques learned in therapy.

Fluency (Stuttering) Treatment

At ACE Speech and Language Clinic, LLC, our fluency treatment program is based on the belief that stuttering is a multi-dimensional disorder involving the interaction between the physiological, cognitive, and emotional factors of each individual who stutters.  It is important for clients pursuing stuttering treatment to ensure that they are working with a therapist who is a board certified stuttering therapist.  ACE Speech and Language Clinic, LLC has a board certified St. Paul stuttering therapist on staff.  Therapy techniques include:

  • Fluency enhancing techniques taught directly or indirectly to the client
  • Stuttering modification techniques depending upon the age, severity, and emotional involvement
  • Parental counseling

Our program involves the parents and other family members of young children, school age children, and adolescents who stutter. Family members are involved in therapy during sessions and are taught to use the same techniques that the stuttering child is taught so they can use them at home. During each session parents are given advice about the expectations they can have of their child at home. Our therapists collaborate with speech and language pathologists in the school district regarding the child's needs, goals and progress. Communication with school speech and language pathologists is made through telephone conversations and on-site visits at our clinic.

An important method that ACE utilizes to help stutterers is our stuttering mentorship program. In this program, stutterers who have been attending stuttering therapy with ACE therapists are invited to attend therapy sessions with new stuttering clients. Your therapist will try to match the personalities of both clients to ensure that a good "mentor/student fit" is achieved. Our mentorship program has multiple benefits to new and current stuttering clients as it allows new stuttering clients to meet other people who stutter, experience real time examples of how stuttering therapy techniques are used and discuss successes and failures regarding speaking.

Verbal Apraxia and Phonological Disorders

Our therapists use 11 general principles to treat children with verbal apraxia and phonological disorders. (This information is from the book “Becoming Verbal and Intelligible” by Kathleen Dauer, et al, 1996.)

  1. Intervention must be functional in nature, which means that the gestures, signs and words that we use are important words for the child and help the child control their environment.
  2. Intervention is multiphonemic in that we focus on many sounds simultaneously to help the child shift among sounds.
  3. We target phonemes based on stimulability, meaning that we start with sounds that the child is capable of producing.
  4. Motor planning is facilitated by requiring the child to frequently imitate sounds in syllabic shapes in a slow and systematic way where the  syllables increase in length and complexity.
  5. Articulatory accuracy for all phonemes is important to program an association between the acoustic and the motor events to create a memory for that behavior.
  6. Intervention uses a multimodality approach, meaning that we use tactile, visual, and auditory cues to help children with sound production.
  7. Intervention incorporates language therapy.
  8. Intervention includes training in self-monitoring skills so the child is able to correct their errors.
  9. Prosodic skills including rhythm, intonation, and stress are emphasized.
  10. Parental involvement is mandatory.
  11. Intervention focuses on sound production in words (not on isolated oral motor movements).

Articulation Disorders

Children develop speech sounds at certain ages.  We utilize standardized tests to determine if your child has age appropriate articulation development.  Children should be completely intelligible by kindergarten and should have correct production of all sounds by age eight.  We see adolescents and adults as well for articulation remediation.  During articulation therapy, our therapists’ initial goal is to help the client achieve a perfect production of the sound in isolation and then immediately embed that sound into words, phrases, and sentences to work toward carry over.  In addition to achieving an acoustically correct sound, we make sure that clients are producing the sound with proper lip positioning and jaw alignment.  The final goal of articulation therapy is for the client to have the ability to self monitor their speech so that they can produce the sound automatically at the conversational level.

Receptive and Expressive Language Disorders

Treatment for language disorders varies depending on the age of the client.  Goals for younger children may include improving ability to follow directions, improving understanding of basic concepts, increasing vocabulary and length of utterance, improving syntax, and improving phonemic awareness and phonics skills to improve pre-reading skills.

For school-aged clients, academic difficulties may be related to an underlying receptive and/or expressive language disorder.  Receptive language difficulties may present as difficulty comprehending reading material and test instructions, difficulty following classroom directions, and difficulty understanding abstract and inferential material.  Expressive language difficulties are often present in both the student’s verbal language and in his written language.  These children may use vague, disorganized, or grammatically incorrect language, have difficulty formulating thoughts in a concise manner, and have difficulty explaining abstract language concepts such as idioms and multiple meanings.  Our speech therapists will use a combination of standardized testing and information regarding the child’s performance in school to diagnose the presence of a language disorder and to determine the course of language therapy.

Tongue Thrust

Initially we help the child to be aware of the oral musculature, especially the teeth and tongue, where the “spot” is (meaning where the tongue should be at rest and during a normal swallow), and how to control the muscles of the tongue.  We gradually teach the child a new swallowing pattern at a conscious level.  Finally, we want the new swallowing pattern to become completely automatic.  We coordinate our services with either an orthodontist or dentist.

Language Based Reading Disorders

Many children with language and/or articulation disorders exhibit reading disorders.  While we are not certified reading specialists, we are able to offer speech therapy to improve phonemic awareness and phonics skills which are essential precursor to reading skills.  Tasks to encourage the development of phonemic awareness and phonics include:

  • Discriminating between rhyming and non-rhyming syllables and words
  • Generating rhyming words
  • Improving syllable knowledge by identifying the number of syllables in a word and blending syllables together to form a word
  • Improving phoneme/sound knowledge by identifying beginning and ending sounds in words, grouping words based on beginning or ending sound, blending sounds together to form a word, and segmenting a word into individual sounds
  • Developing sound-written letter correspondence
  • Improve child’s ability to hear sounds that are presented one at a time and blend the sounds together to hear the word they produce

We also offer a 12-level reading program that takes a direct, multi-sensory, and systematic approach in teaching individuals how to read and spell.  This program follows Orton-Gillingham principles.  It helps teach individuals the structure of words in the English language to help them ‘crack the code’ for reading and spelling. 

Cluttering

Cluttering is a fluency disorder characterized by a rapid and/or irregular speaking rate, excessive normal disfluencies, and often other symptoms such as language or articulation problems.  Therapy for these clients focuses on self-awareness to help them reduce their rate of speech and to improve pausing and phrasing.  We also work on the language and articulation problems.

stuttering st. paul mn
stuttering st. paul minnesota

1133 Rankin Street, Suite 221
St. Paul, Minnesota  55116
651-222-7768