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What are complex communication needs?

A person has Complex Communication Needs (CCN) if they are “unable to use speech to meet all of their communication requirements, given their age and culture.” (Porter & Kirkland, 1995)

Complex Communication Needs is a broad term that describes people with severe speech, language, and communication impairments. This includes individuals who may be able to speak but have difficulty with comprehension or fully expressing their wants and needs, and those who are not able to speak but may express themselves through gestures, facial expression, non-speech vocalizations, and other behaviors. CCN can include but is not limited to, those who have been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder, some speech sound or motor speech disorders, cerebral palsy, and learning disabilities. Children with complex communication needs often benefit from assistive technology and augmentative and alternative communication to support both communication and language development. They and their communication partners may benefit from using alternative and augmentative communication (AAC) methods, either temporarily or permanently. 

What can I do at home to help with my child's speech and language development?

You are your child's best, most consistent communication partner. It is important for children to feel comfortable with the speech and language skills they currently have, as we work together to improve those skills. It is essential for you to develop an understanding of your child’s current speech, language and communication skills. This will guide the quality and quantity of what you verbally model to them, and what is reasonable to expect from them at home. We strongly encourage more limited use of open-ended questions to get your young child to talk. Narrate your daily activities using simple, direct language that is just a bit more complex than the language your child uses independently. Try to avoid rapid and lengthy speaking turns, and encourage turn-taking by giving your child plenty of time to respond. Consistently praise your child’s efforts to communicate, even when those attempts are imperfect. Asking your child to repeat words or phrases that they are not yet independent with can be both frustrating for the child and in some cases hinder their progress. Speech and language therapy at Creative Communication will be a collaborative process, and you will be given more specific guidance as we get to know you and your child, their strengths, and specific needs. 

What is Childhood Apraxia of Speech?

Apraxia of Speech (AOS) is a relatively rare motor speech sound disorder. Children with apraxia of speech typically have difficult to understand speech and have trouble using speech to communicate consistently and intelligibly. AOS is a neurological-based disorder that affects the brain pathways involved in planning the sequence of movements involved in producing speech. Typically there are no physiological reasons for these difficulties, such as muscular weakness or structural abnormalities. AOS is not a medical diagnosis, but rather a type of speech sound disorder. The causes of AOS are not well understood, however, a family history of communication disorders or learning disabilities may be present. AOS can range from mild to severe. Children with AOS present with very specific error patterns in their speech, and the treatment approach differs substantially from that which is effective with children with other types of speech sound disorders.
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Does the use of Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) inhibit the development of natural speech?

It is a common misconception that AAC hinders a child's ability or desire to use speech to communicate. Decades of research have found that AAC in fact supports the development of speech, language, and communication skills. Speech production can be addressed at Creative Communication simultaneously while a child is using AAC.

How can speech and language therapy help with struggling readers?

Speech-Language Pathologists can provide robust supports for struggling readers and those developing pre-reading skills. Intervention in this area can improve many areas of your child's literacy or pre-literacy skills, such as reading comprehension and fluency, vocabulary development, and phonemic and phonological awareness (understanding of letter sounds and how they are combined to make words). These activities can often build stronger, more intelligible speech production skills as well. 

Do you take insurance?

Creative Communication provides private pay speech and language services. We are currently an out-of-network provider with all insurance companies. We are happy to provide you with the necessary paperwork for you to seek out-of-network reimbursement from your insurance company and we also accept FSA and HSA cards for payment. These benefits vary considerably from one insurance provider to the next. Please contact your insurance company directly to discuss your plan's coverage and reimbursement for out-of-network speech and language therapy services. We are happy to assist in this process.

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