Understanding Communication Disorders

Who helps children with speech problems?

The professionals who are educated to assess speech and language development and to treat speech and language disorders are called speech-language pathologists (sometimes informally referred to as speech therapists). Speech therapists have a Master’s Degree in addition to nine months of clinical training before they become licensed in the State of Florida.

What is a speech problem?

Speech is the sound that comes out of our mouths.  When it is not understood by others there is a problem.  Speech problems, such as stuttering and mispronunciation, and poor intelligibility can be very frustrating for the child and the parent.

Language has to do with meanings, rather than sounds.

Language delay is when a child’s language is developing in the right sequence, but at a slower rate.  Speech and language disorder describes abnormal language development.  Delayed speech or language development is the most common developmental problem.  It affects five to ten percent of preschool children.

It is also common for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder, Down syndrome, cleft lip or palate, seizures, and/or medical issues to have speech problems.

What do I do?

A comprehensive evaluation by a speech-language pathologist (SLP) certified by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) is the first step to improving language and speech problems.

If your child is under the age of three, and you live in Sarasota, Manatee or Desoto County, you can contact the Early Steps program and receive a  developmental evaluation at no cost. (941) 487-5400

If your child is three years of age or older, you can contact your county school board to receive a Speech Screening at no cost.

  • Sarasota County (941) 927-9000
  • Desoto County (863) 494-4222
  • Manatee County (941) 721-2300

How can Sertoma Kids help?

If you cannot afford or find the speech therapy that your child needs, Contact us or submit an Application to see if you are eligible for our services.