5-9 years with Communication Difficulties

Encouraging your Child’s voice

As a parent, you want the best for your child, and that includes giving them the tools they need to succeed in life. If your child is struggling with speech, language, or communication difficulties, our online speech therapy can help.

Our team of experienced therapists are here to support children between the ages of 5 and 9 with a range of communication difficulties, including autism spectrum disorder (ASD), stuttering, stammering, articulation, speech sound disorder (SSD), and developmental language disorder (DLD).

What the parents of our 5-9 year old clients are saying about us.

With online speech therapy, you can access expert support from the comfort of your own home. No more worrying about transportation or taking time off from work.

Our therapists use engaging, interactive tools and activities to make therapy fun and effective for your child.

Our therapy is customized to meet the unique needs of your child, ensuring that they receive the support they need to reach their full potential. Our therapists will work with you to set goals and track progress, so you can see your child’s progress and be a part of their journey to success.

Your child is at the centre of everything we do. Our personalised approach to therapy ensures that your child receives the specific support they need to reach their unique goals. Our therapists will work with you every step of the way to track progress and celebrate your child’s achievements.

Embrace the power of communication with our online speech therapy.

Let’s start your child on a journey of growth and confidence today!

What brought you to us today?

Maybe you have a concern yourself about your child’s communication?
Unlike with younger kids, it can be a bit more straightforward when a child in the 5-9 age group has a communication issue. One of the biggest concerns often centres around any impact communication may have on their ability to make friends, achieve their best in school, and participate fully with their peers. Unlike other professionals, Speech Therapists can take a direct referral from a concerned mom or dad directly if they are concerned in any way. The only thing that we as CATTS would like to reaffirm with you, is that you are the expert on your child. There are no wrong outcomes if you want a speech therapist to evaluate your child because you have a concern. It is always best to seek help.

Usually, when we get a referral from this age group, we find that broadly the impact on the child’s quality of life tends to fall into two main categories; it has an impact on them, and it is causing them some degree of upset (possibly due to friends or siblings comments), or it does not bother the child one iota. Generally in the first instance, it is a more straightforward case for you to seek assistance from a Speech Therapist, and your child will be a willing partner in the therapy process.
In the second instance, it can be a bit more tricky. In effect, at the time of reading this, if you know that your son or daughter does not have any impact in their daily life from their communication issue, it can be a challenge for you. Depending on the nature of their difficulty, it may only be a matter of time before peers start to notice and perhaps make their life more difficult. Many parents we speak with at this stage are nervous of mentioning it to their child in case it makes them self conscious, or has the unintented consequences of causing them to become concerned about it. At CATTS, we believe that you know your child best, and how they may respond to the option of attending therapy. (With children in the 5-7 bracket, it can be compensated by just saying that they will be seeing a special type of teacher on mom or dad’s computer who will help them with their speech). The 8 or 9 year olds often will ask why, and you will need to have the conversation with them as to why you think it will help them. Very often taking a ‘business as usual’ approach may work if your child is a little anxious.

Teacher, Doctor or other medical professional has specifically mentioned to you to get your child checked out by a speech and language therapist?
The above professionals should know to refer when they spot something that raises a concern with them. In general, if it is suggested by a professional, it is always good to get child checked out. In CATTS experience over the past decade or so, if a primary school teacher has referred a child to us, there is usually a reason to investigate. At this age bracket, usually the requests are to provide intervention to address any issues. Depending on the nature and severity of the difficulty, cooperation with your child’s teacher is usually required. Sometimes, you may be asked to seek a report or letter from a Speech Therapist in order to allow the school apply for an exemption or resouce to assist them.

How therapy works with this age group (5-9years)

The component of successful therapy with this age group is you – the child’s parent. At this age children will still learn from their primary caregiver – although their school teacher will start playing a bigger role in their life, so the more you know and are empowered by your therapist, the better the outcomes for your child. Very often, you will be taught ways to follow and encourage your child’s therapy to achieve their communication goals. There are some standardised assessments that the speech therapist may choose to use if appropriate during the sessions. They may also ask you to complete forms beforehand, or between sessions.

The main thing to be aware of is that at this age range, you, as parent, are often present in the therapy sessions. The closer they are to the younger end of this age bracket, the more an active participant you will need to be.

At around 8 or 9 years of age, sometimes it may become apparent that therapy will progress better if you, as the parent are not present in the majority of the session. If so, that is something that will be discussed and agreed with you in advance. Even if you are not present due to your child’s request, you’ll be asked to be close by in another room and have your phone handy for a WhatsApp or other contact from the Speech Therapist if needed. You will always be asked back into the session for the last 5-10 minutes to get an update on what is being done – and how you can support your son or daughter until the next session.

Our speech therapists will also take the time to explain why a specific technique or approach has been chosen for your child at that time. Very often they may be a variety of ways to achieve a specific goal, as it is customised therapy, our SLTs will work with you to chose one that suits your child, and your own circumstances. This can be very important if you need to ask their teacher to treat them a bit differently in the classroom, such as not calling them to speak or read out loud in class for a few weeks for example. You need to be able to confidently articulate why this approach is being used, so that the teacher buys into the method.

What to Expect

With the younger end of this age range, it can be very fluid, and the child is never expected to sit in one place for the duration of the session. Movement is the name of the game. What you can expect is to sit at a play table, or maybe even on the couch or somewhere comfy. Maybe they get a kick out of sitting in a downstairs study at mom’s desk? We don’t expect them to stay in one spot for the duration, so make sure your device is portable. With children closer to age 9, normally they will now be accustomed to sitting in school and attending for activities at a time. Even so, if they wish to go and show the therapist something, be prepared that the device with the zoom call goes with them.

The only thing you need to focus on is your child, and don’t be afraid to practice in session what the SLT is recommending you do. Be prepared to ‘get silly’, especially if they are on the younger end of this age range. Mom or dad is still one of their favourite toys. With the slightly older children, it will depend. Some may want mom or dad to still be active participants in the therapy games, others may want to play on their own, it’s up to them, and we’ll go with the flow.

Our speech therapists will create a tailored treatment plan to meet your child’s unique needs and goals. They are the experts in the room on which methods to use to achieve these unique needs and goals but you are the expert on your child, your family and your work circumstances. There needs to be a discussion to balance what is achieveable in your own circumstances. You may feel torn, and want to commit to doing numerous activities over the days between sessions, but better progress can be made if you commit to maybe one or two key techniques or goals, and nail them each time, every time. Committing to home activities that you feel will be difficult to squeeze in when you are discussing in the session, and then not achieve, only tend to enhance feelings of parental guilt. Our team are absoloutely aware that everyone needs to juggle multiple committments in their life. Don’t worry about having an honest conversation with our therapist about what you can realistically commit to. Slow and steady often wins the race.

Watch how we make online therapy fun for young (and older) children!

Tips to get the most from Online Therapy

Online Therapy takes much less time for you
when compared to traditional, in the same room therapy.

There are a few simple steps which you can take to ensure that it goes even easier.

We have created a series of short video explainers at the link below to help answer all of the most commonly asked questions.

There are a lot of things you can do at home that is within your control to ensure a successful session, but we can break them down into three areas (which you are probably already doing anyway).

The device used. This is the tablet, laptop or phone you are taking the Zoom call on. It is always good to check that your broadband is working, that the device you intend to use isn’t choosing that percise moment to have an urgent ‘system update’. As a portable device is necessary for young kids as it needs to move with them, just check that the battery in the device has enough charge.

Distractions. We want you to get the most out of your child’s therapy session. Adults at times can find it hard to filter out distractions, especially noise. If possible, make sure any other siblings are out of the room (or if not, that they are safely in your view, with a quiet activity). Visual distractions such as toys, or other enticing items should be put away, or hidden from the child’s view. If, as part of your child’s session, you and the therapist have agreed to use a toy or game as the focus for that session, make sure to check with the therapist whether your child should see it before the call or not.

Personal comfort. Make sure that you have given your child a snack, and have used the toilet, or had a change nappy shortly before your session. It can be hard for a kid to focus if they are hungry or thirsty. Same goes for you of course!

Parental participation. With very young kids, such as the 0-4 age group, parental participation is a must! From 5 years onwards, how much, and what type of participation depends on the child, the nature of their difficulty, and the approach being used. It can be very hard to stay quiet at times, especially if the child is taking a while trying to focus on a word, it can be tempting to ‘jump in’ and assist. Check with your therapist if you are unsure of what is expected from you.

Helping you, help your child

If you want to learn more about how children learn language through play, and how you can encourage your 5-9 year old, take a look at our free talk on Using Toys to Support Your Child’s Language Development.

Below are some of the more common communication difficulties at this age range.

Please select whichever one best describes your child’s difficulty. If you are not sure, please scroll to the end of this page and complete our referral form below and we will get back to you to discuss how we can assist you.

My child’s speech cannot be understood

If, after reading this, you suspect your child has a speech sound disorder, complete our checklist and contact us for a consultation as soon as possible.

Research backs up the fact early recognition and diagnosis of speech sound disorders can help children overcome speech problems.

Don’t delay and hope they will ‘grow out of it’ – get an expert SLT/SLP’s opinion in the first instance.

My child has a stutter

There is no known cause for stuttering, and there is no one thing a parent can do that would cause their child to stutter.

Children learn language at a very fast pace. In just a few short years, they go from crying to have their needs met, to speaking in complete sentences! With this, parents may hear their child start to stutter or stammer, which is a repetition or prolongation of a sound, word or phrase.

Many children go through a typical, developmentally appropriate stage of stuttering (stammering) between the ages of 2-5 years. This often coincides with a burst of language development, especially when children are learning to put words into sentences.

Tongue thrust therapy

A tongue thrust occurs when the tongue moves forward in an exaggerated way during swallowing, pushing against or between the front teeth. Orthodontists will refer for tongue thrust therapy, if they have concerns that orthodontic treatment will be reversed or will relapse, due to a tongue thrust swallowing pattern.

Tongue thrust therapy, as carried out in our clinic, is not to work on speech sound production, but to focus on avoiding reversal or relapse of any orthodontic work.

Tongue thrust therapy is carried out if dentition is affected, and usually not for any other reason.

Therapy is carried out with children from the age of 8, adolescents and adults.

A mature swallowing pattern usually emerges between ages 6 and 8.

Next Step.

The very first step is to complete our online checklist below, which will be sent to our practice manager Joe, who in turn will get in touch with you to further explore your needs and how CATTS can help. We have a short explainer on what to expect once you submit this form here.

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