Speech & Language Therapy

Speech-language pathologists at the KCC assess, diagnose, treat, and help to prevent disorders related to speech, language, cognitive communications, voice, swallowing, and fluency. Speech and language therapy builds a child’s ability to communicate by improving and strengthening receptive and expressive language and social pragmatic skills along developmental lines.

How to Begin

We're here to help! Here's how to get started with therapy at the KCC.

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The K-SLP Method

The Kaufman Speech to Language Protocol is at the heart of all we do.

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Signs & Symptoms

General signs that could indicate the need for an evaluation.

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Speech Staff

KCC therapists are known for their clinical skills and insight.

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Our Programs

Explore the types of treatment options available at the KCC.

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Resources

Tips from our therapists to help your kids at home and in school.

How to Begin at the KCC

Our staff is excited to help you get started at the Kaufman Children’s Center! Here’s what to expect.

GIVE US A CALL

 

If you have concerns about your child’s speech and language development, we invite you to call our office at 248-737-3430. Speech-language pathologists are available to answer general questions, and our front office staff would be happy to schedule an evaluation for your child and send you intake forms. These are lengthy so we can get as much information as possible about your child. Please be sure to fill them out in advance of your visit and bring them with you.

COME IN FOR AN EVALUATION

 

Generally speaking, an evaluation by a KCC speech-language pathologist (SLP) is required before therapy can begin. This allows us to formulate goals based on first-hand knowledge of your child. The evaluating SLP will go over your child’s background with you, then the fun begins. Our therapists are entertaining and truly know how to engage children. The bulk of the evaluation will be spent one-on-one with your child, but you are welcome to watch from one of our observation rooms.

SCHEDULE THERAPY

 

At the end of the evaluation, the SLP will go over her findings with you. If therapy is recommended,  our front office staff will make every effort to provide a schedule that works for your family. The SLP will follow up with a formal, written report that will be mailed to your home within a few weeks.

BILLING & PAYMENT

 

The KCC bills directly to Blue Cross Blue Shield, Blue Care Network, and Health Alliance Plan. For all other insurance plans,  payment is the responsibility of the parent. Our front office staff is happy to provide you with the codes you will need to try to get reimbursement from your insurance company. The fee for evaluations is due the day you are here, and all other therapy is billed on a monthly basis. Payment is accepted in cash, check, Visa, or MasterCard.

Signs & Symptoms

When it comes to communication issues, the sooner children receive intervention the better. For over 20 years the KCC has been a leader in early detection and treatment of speech and language disorders. If you feel that any of these signs and symptoms apply to your child and you would like to speak to one of our staff members, please feel free to contact us at (248)737-3430. We look forward to helping in any way that we can!

General Concerns

  • Doesn’t smile or interact with others (birth-3 months)
  • Doesn’t babble (4-7 months)
  • Makes few sounds (7-12 months)
  • Does not use gestures such as waving and pointing (7-12 months)
  • Doesn’t understand what others say (7 months-2 years)
  • Says only a few words (12-18 months)
  • Doesn’t put words together to make sentences (1 ½-3 years)
  • Has trouble playing and talking with other children (2-3 years)
  • Has problems with early reading and writing skills – for example, may not show an interest in books or drawing (2 ½-3 years)

Dysarthria

Dysarthria (flaccid) is a speech disorder caused by dysfunctional or damaged innervation to the speech musculature (tongue, lips, soft palate, facial muscles, larynx).  Generally, oral musculature is weak.  Some children may have a functional dysarthria, due to inappropriate carriage of the tongue at rest.

 

The following are signs of dysarthria:

  • Marked difficulties with strength, speech and accuracy of articulatory movement.
  • Imprecise or weakly targeted consonants.
  • Imprecise or weakly targeted vowels, especially those which involve spreading intrinsic tongue muscles, such as /i/, /ai/, /ei/, oi/.
  • Weak vocal quality (lack of respiratory support).
  • Hypo or hypernasality.
  • Weak articulatory contacts.
  • Rapid or slow speaking rate.
  • Speech clarity disintegrates with lengthy utterances (this may be due to lack of breath support or muscle fatigue and may resemble apraxia of speech).
  • Weak targets, especially for / r, s, l / and vowels.
  • Generally weak, mushy, garbled, imprecise speech.

Many children with apraxia of speech have an accompanying oral-motor weakness. Usually, working on the apraxia inadvertently helps to strengthen weak articulatory contacts.

 

Severe dysarthria can be such a significant obstacle to motor-speech skill development in that the average listener may not be able to decode their speech. Children with severe dysarthria will require an augmentative communication system.

Social Pragmatic Disorders

Social pragmatic language disorder may also be known as semantic/pragmatic language disorder, non-verbal learning disability (NLD), or even Asperger syndrome.

 

The following are symptoms of social pragmatic language disorder:

  • Excessive questioning.
  • Lack of eye contact.
  • Aggressive language.
  • Excessive talk about specific subjects in too much detail
  • Only talking about him/herself.
  • Disinterested in other children.
  • Unable to engage in conversational exchange.
  • Literal/concrete understanding of language.
  • Unable to answer open-ended questions such as “what happened?”
  • Difficulty with abstract language such as verbal problem solving (why, when, how do you know?), double meanings, innuendos, and jokes.
  • Difficulty taking the listener’s perspective.
  • Difficulty reading or interpreting body language, facial expressions.
  • Unable to express feelings.

Childhood Apraxia of Speech

Childhood apraxia of speech (CAS) is a neurological childhood (pediatric) speech sound disorder in which the precision and consistency of movements underlying speech are impaired in the absence of neuromuscular deficits (abnormal reflexes, abnormal tone). CAS may occur as a result of known neurological impairment, in association with complex neurobehavioral disorders of known or unknown origin, or as an idiopathic neurogenic speech sound disorder. The core impairment in planning and/or programming spatiotemporal parameters of movement sequences results in errors in speech sound production and prosody.

 

The following are symptoms of CAS:

  • Limited or little babbling as an infant (void of many consonants). First words may not appear at all, pointing and “grunting” may be all that is heard.
  • The child is able to open and close mouth, lick lips, protrude, retract and lateralize tongue while eating, but may not be able to when directed to do so.
  • First word approximations occuring beyond the age of 18 months, without developing into understandable simple vocabulary words by age two.
  • Continuous grunting and pointing beyond age two.
  • Lack of a significant consonant repertoire: child may only use /b, m, p, t, d, h/
  • All phonemes (consonants and vowels) may be imitated well in isolation, but any attempts to combine phonemes are unsuccessful.
  • Prosody is unusual, there is equal stress or lengthy pauses between or within syllables or words, and sometimes a monotone quality.
  • Speech may change or disintegrate with many repetitions.
  • Words may be simplified by deleting consonants or vowels, and/or replacing difficult phonemes (consonants and vowels) with easier ones.
  • Single words may be articulated well, but attempts at further sentence length become unintelligible.
  • Receptive language (comprehension) appears to be better than attempts at expressive language (verbal output).
  • One syllable or word is favored and used to convey all or many words beyond age two.
  • The child speaks mostly in vowels.
  • Verbal perseveration: getting “stuck” on a previously uttered word, or bringing oral motor elements from a previous word into the next word uttered.
  • Oral groping may occur when attempting oral motor movements or consonant/vowel production.
  • Struggle behavior may occur when attempting to imitate or to speak (without dysfluency or stuttering).
  • Deletions or replacements of consonants, vowels or syllables may occur at the end of a word, phrase or connected word levels.
  • Vowel distortions or replacements occur which are not due to oral motor weakness.
  • The ability to blurt out clear whole words, phrases or sentences may occur though there is difficulty imitating these same words “on command” or upon imitation.
  • Difficulty with maintaining clarity with extended word length or complexity.
  • Many phonological processes are employed to simplify motor speech output.
  • Late talking with above characteristics or errors may be present.
  • Other fine motor challenges may be present.
  • Echolalic utterances (the automatic repetition of words, phrases or sentences often without comprehension) might be perfectly articulated but novel attempts at words or combinations might be more effortful.

Expressive Language Disorders

Children with expressive language disorder have difficulty with verbal expression (putting words together to formulate thoughts).

 

The following are symptoms of expressive language disorder:

  • Word retrieval difficulties.
  • Difficulty naming objects or “talking in circles” around subjects with lack of the appropriate vocabulary.
  • Dysnomia (misnaming items).
  • Difficulty acquiring syntax (the rules of grammar).
  • Difficulties with morphology (changes in verb tense).
  • Difficulty with semantics (word meaning).

 

Unintelligible Speech

Unintelligible speech is a descriptive term used subjectively by the listener.  It can be due to a few minor consonant or vowel errors, oral-structural differences, oral-motor weakness, dysarthria or apraxia of speech.

 

However, another casual factor to unintelligible speech, which even many professionals miss, is that of the faulty perception of language.  Children who have difficulty processing and comprehending spoken language, particularly children who exhibit autism spectrum disorders, may exhibit jargon (sometime called “gibberish,” or unintelligible speech).

 

It is important to uncover whether a child has an unusual capacity to memorize dialogue, which doesn’t necessarily hold any meaning for them and are reiterating it the way they perceive it, without attaching meaning.  In this case, the more emphasis there is upon improving processing and comprehension skills, the more improvement will be seen in increased intelligibility.  Whereas, unintelligible speech rooted in the fine-motor coordination aspect of talking would require motor-speech or verbal motor work.

 

Children may have both perceptual and motor-speech difficulties.  If there are any questions regarding whether the child comprehends spoken language, attention should be given to comprehension and not necessarily motor-speech output.

Articulation Disorders

The following are a few examples of an articulatory disorder:

  • Frontal and lateral lisps
  • Weak articulation of /r/
  • Substituting /j/ (the “y” sound) for /l/
  • Difficulty with blends /r, l, s/ (brake, clown, slow)

These articulatory errors are typical of pre-schoolers and are usually not cause for concern. If they persist past age five, an evaluation is necessary.

Receptive Language Disorders

Receptive language disorders include central auditory processing disorders (CAPD), aphasia, comprehension deficit, “delayed language,” and “delayed speech.” Receptive language disorders also refer to difficulties in the ability to attend to, process, comprehend, retain, or integrate spoken language.

 

The following are symptoms of a receptive language disorder:

  • Echolalia (repeating back words or phrases either immediately or at a later time).
  • Inability to follow directions (following of routine, repetitive directions may be OK).
  • Inappropriate, off-target responses to “wh” questions.
  • Re-auditorization (repeating back a question first and then responding to it).
  • Difficulty responding appropriately to yes/no questions, either/or questions, who/what/where questions, and when/why/how questions.
  • Not attending to spoken language
  • High activity level and not attending to spoken language
  • Jargon (sounds like unintelligible speech)
  • Using memorized phrases and sentences.

*Note: Children with autism spectrum disorders often have difficulty decoding spoken language and may tend to memorize rather than have a true understanding of novel language.

Stuttering

Stuttering affects the fluency of speech. It begins during childhood and, in some cases, lasts throughout life. The disorder is characterized by disruptions in the production of speech sounds, also called “disfluencies.” Most people produce brief disfluencies from time to time. For instance, some words are repeated and others are preceded by “um” or “uh.” Disfluencies are not necessarily a problem; however, they can impede communication when a person produces too many of them. (ASHA)

 

Speech-language pathologists at the KCC do not treat stuttering. Please contact us at (248) 737-3430 for a referral.

Speech & Language Programs

The Kaufman Speech to Language Protocol (K-SLP)

The method at the heart of all of the KCC's speech and language programs

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Individual Speech & Language Therapy

One-on-one therapy with our speech-language pathologists, for children local to the KCC.

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Intensive Four-Day Visit with Nancy Kaufman

Individual short-term therapy, usually for children visiting the KCC from long distances.

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SPEAK: Speech Praxis Experience at Kaufman

Intensive K-SLP summer camp that includes both individual and group therapy.

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Video Consultations with Nancy Kaufman

Send Nancy a video of your child for review. Required for families visiting from long distances.

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Social Language
Skills Groups

Our groups enhance social communication, understanding, and confidence.

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Fast ForWord Computer-Based Program

Develops and strengthens memory, attention, processing rate, and sequencing.

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Music Therapy with
Lisa Barnett

Enhance your child's capabilities through musical influences on brain functioning.

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CASTLE Group
Enrichment Program

Fun program for preschool kids to generalize and expand skills learned in individual sessions

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Summer SPEAK Program

Here's an inside look at Nancy Kaufman's summer SPEAK program. Special thanks to SPEAK mom Kate for the beautiful video!

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The Kaufman Speech to Language Protocol (K-SLP

The Kaufman Speech to Language Protocol (K-SLP) is the method at the heart of all of the KCC’s speech and language programs. It is a treatment approach for children with childhood apraxia of speech (CAS), other speech sound disorders, and expressive language challenges.

 

The K-SLP focuses upon the child’s motor-speech skills, shaping the consonants, vowels and syllable shapes/gestures from what they are capable of producing toward higher levels of motor-speech coordination, giving them a functional avenue by which to become an effective vocal communicator.

LEARN MORE ABOUT THE K-SLP
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Speech & Language Staff

All members of the KCC staff represent the highest standards of excellence in their field and have extensive experience in pediatric therapy. Continuing education is supported and encouraged to ensure our methods are as up-to-date as possible. Our staff members are part of the KCC team because of their expertise, outstanding clinical skills, and their warmth and insight into children.

NANCY R. KAUFMAN

MA, CCC-SLP
Speech-Language Pathologist
KCC Owner & Director

Meet Nancy

Since 1979, Nancy has dedicated herself to establishing the Kaufman Speech to Language Protocol (K-SLP), a treatment approach to help children become effective vocal communicators.

 

The K-SLP has evolved over the years to include the most current research in childhood apraxia of speech (CAS), motor learning, and applied behavior analysis (ABA), and its methods and materials are used by speech-language pathologists worldwide. In addition, many ABA specialists have adopted the K-SLP for children with autism spectrum disorders.

 

Nancy lectures locally, nationally, and internationally on the subject of CAS and other speech sound disorders in children. Families from around the country and the world travel to the KCC to participate in intensive and specialized therapy programs. The center continues to grow and has earned a reputation for excellence, warmth, and successful outcomes.

 

Nancy serves on the professional advisory board of the Childhood Apraxia of Speech Association of North America (CASANA), on the board of visitors of Wayne State University’s Merrill Palmer Skillman Institute for Child and Family Development, and is the speech-language pathologist consultant for the Parish School and Carruth Center in Houston, Texas, and Suburban Speech Center in Short Hills, New Jersey.

 

Nancy has been honored by both of her alma maters: she received the Distinguished Alumni Award from Wayne State University in 2015 and the Outstanding Alumni Award from Michigan State in 2010. She was awarded the Michigan Speech-Language-Hearing Association (MSHA) Distinguished Service Award in 2011 and the West Bloomfield Township Chamber of Commerce Community Excellence Business Person of the Year Award in 2015. She was also recognized by the Lawrence Technological University Leaders & Innovators program. The KCC has received MSHA’s Clinical Service Award and Corp! Magazine’s Best of Michigan Business Award.

 

 

Nancy received her BA at Michigan State University and MA at Wayne State University, having been awarded a graduate assistantship. She has three grown children and resides with her husband in West Bloomfield, Michigan.

MARLA ZERBIB

MA, CCC-SLP
Speech-Language Pathologist
Director of Clinical Services

Meet Marla

Marla earned her bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Windsor and her master’s in speech-language pathology from Wayne State. Her continuing education includes courses in auditory processing disorders, executive functioning, ADD/ADHD, and the impact of emotional conditions on speech language development.

 

In addition to her regular individual speech sessions at the KCC, Marla evaluates children ages 6-9 and serves as the center’s director of clinical speech services.

 

Marla enjoys spending time with her family and staying active, and she is an avid reader.

 

The best part of my job is working with kids and their families to improve their daily lives by building the various skills that communication entails.

DIANE NANCARROW

MA, CCC-SLP
Speech-Language Pathologist
Director of Adolescent Programs

Meet Diane

Diane holds a Bachelor of Science degree in K-12 education and a master’s degree in communication disorders and sciences. She previously worked in homecare with adults with developmental disabilities, and in the hospital setting with adults and children with neurological disabilities. She was one of Nancy’s Kaufman’s first hires at the KCC, where she has worked for over 20 years.

 

Diane was honored by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) with their prestigious Award for Continuing Education (ACE). She has special interests in processing disorders and social/pragmatic language skills. Diane facilitates the social skills programs at the KCC and enjoys using technology to assist children and their parents.

 

The best part of my job is working with great kids and their parents.

RUTH HABERKORNHALM

MA, CCC-SLP
Speech-Language Pathologist

Meet Ruth

Ruth earned both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in speech and hearing science from Ohio State University. She is trained in the Kaufman Speech to Language Protocol, LINKS to Language, and Talk Tools and has experience with applied verbal behavior (AVB). She is a one of the co-developers and directors of the KCC’s Childhood Apraxia of Speech to Language Enrichment (CASTLE) program, and is a certified Baby Signs instructor.

 

Ruth has professional experience in a variety of settings, including schools, hospitals, residential centers and the March of Dimes. She went into private practice with Nancy Kaufman in 1992 as one of the first staff members of the KCC.

 

In her spare time, Ruth enjoys reading, baking, volunteering, exercising, and loving up her grandson.

 

The best part of my job is working with children and their families and making a positive difference in their lives.

JENNIFER HILL

MA, CCC-SLP
Speech-Language Pathologist

Meet Jennifer

Jennifer graduated with high honors from Michigan State University with a bachelor’s degree in communication arts and sciences and went on to earn her master’s in speech-language pathology from Wayne State. She specializes in childhood apraxia of speech and is trained in LINKS to Language, oral placement therapy, and the techniques of applied behavior analysis (ABA).

 

Jennifer’s experience includes evaluation and treatment in public schools, hospitals, rehabilitation centers, and skilled nursing facilities. She is the co-developer and director of the Childhood Apraxia of Speech to Language Enrichment (CASTLE) program at the KCC and has contributed to the Friendship Circle blog.

 

Jennifer lives in West Bloomfield with her husband, three children, a dog, and a cat. She enjoys time with her family, yoga, and being outdoors.

 

The best part of my job are the kids and families that I work with. It is heartwarming to see a child grow in confidence and security with the ability to communicate with peers and family.

CHRISTINA ROCHON

MA, CCC-SLP
Speech-Language Pathologist

Meet Christina

Christina earned her bachelor’s degree in communication disorders at Northern Michigan University in 1999 and followed up with a master’s in speech pathology from NMU in 2001. She has completed additional coursework in expanding expression technique (EET), a multi-sensory approach for improved written and oral expression. Before coming to the KCC, Christina worked for many years at a school for children with autism in Illinois.

 

Christina was named a “Mom-Approved Doc”  by the readers of Metro Parent magazine in 2014. She has two children, Hailey and JJ.

 

The best part of my job is helping children find their voices to communicate. I am able to help improve their communication, which has a huge impact on quality of life. Also, my office looks like a toy store and I have an excuse to blow bubbles and play with play dough.

ALBIONA RAKIPI

MA, CCC-SLP
Speech-Language Pathologist

Meet Albiona

Albiona earned her bachelor’s degree in early childhood education from the University of Michigan and her master’s in speech and language pathology from Wayne State University. Prior to coming to the KCC, she was a preschool teacher and director for 12 years.

 

Albiona and her husband have two children – their son Adrian is 13 and the daughter Hana is 10. Albiona enjoys bike riding, traveling, and soccer.

BRIANNA MORALES

MA, CCC-SLP
Speech-Language Pathologist

Meet Brianna

Brianna is a speech-language pathologist who will be working directly with children at the KCC who are on the autism spectrum. She earned bachelor’s degrees in Spanish and linguistics from the University of Michigan and a master’s in speech-language pathology from Eastern Michigan.

 

Brianna has prior experience as an ABA technician in a therapy center. She student taught at Skyline High School in Ann Arbor and interned at two elementary schools and in the craniofacial anomalies program at CS Mott Children’s Hospital. Brianna presented at the American Speech –Language-Hearing Association’s (ASHA) national convention on interprofessional collaboration in 2016.

 

Brianna is engaged to be married in August of 2017. She and her fiancé were both student athletes at the University of Michigan and love football, track and field, and soccer. Brianna enjoys volunteering as a track and field coach and traveling. She studied abroad in Spain while in college and likes to practice speaking Spanish. Brianna also enjoys spending time with her family and friends.

KAITLYN STEELE

MS, CCC-SLP
Speech-Language Pathologist

Meet Kaitlyn

Kaitlyn earned her Bachelor of Science degree in speech-language pathology and audiology from the University of Texas at Dallas. She went on earn her master’s in communication disorders with an emphasis on speech-language pathology. In addition, Kaitlyn has completed continuing education courses in assistive technology and evidence-based practices for autism spectrum disorder and a beginner course in Signing Exact English.

 

As a graduate student intern, Kaitlyn worked in a speech-language program to help at-risk students in an urban school district to improve their academic outcomes. She began her career as a speech-language pathologist in a public school setting near Dallas, working in a preschool and school-age program for children with disabilities.

 

Kaitlyn and her husband David enjoy traveling, going to baseball and hockey games, and playing with their two dogs at home.

 

I feel rewarded every day by the children that I get to work with and am passionate about helping children learn to communicate!