TTUHSC School of Allied Health Sciences

Frequently Asked Questions


Q. How can I schedule an appointment?

A. To schedule an appointment, call (806) 743-5678. Attempts to accommodate client schedules is a priority at the TTUHSC Speech, Language, & Hearing Clinic; however, because the clinic provides training opportunities for graduate students in the Department of Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences, services follow the University’s Academic Calendar.  Every attempt is made to schedule clients quickly or to refer to other facilities if needed. Clients are encouraged to call early for an appointment.

*academic calendar: http://www.ttuhsc.edu/sah/current/calendar.aspx

Q. What happens during pediatric speech-language evaluations?

A. Your child’s medical, developmental, and educational history is carefully reviewed. Parents are interviewed regarding their concerns and the child’s history.  The information helps us identify areas to evaluate more closely.  A variety of methods, including formal and informal tests, observation, parent/caregiver interview, and play-based activities will be used to evaluate your child’s speech, language, auditory, and oral motor skills.  Selection of testing methods is based on your child’s individual needs. Parents are encouraged to observe and participate during the evaluation. Initial results of the evaluation and recommendations are reviewed with you.  A written report detailing the evaluation results will be provided.

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Q. What happens during adult speech-language evaluations?

A. During the initial evaluation, the speech language pathologist will obtain a detailed history of the problem from the individual or a family member. A hearing screening may be completed. At times, the adult is referred for formal hearing assessment. Specific tests will be administered to determine the nature of the problem and the best treatment approach to improve speech, voice, language skills, cognition, or memory skills that are critical for appropriate and effective communication. A tape recording or video recording may be made to assist with the evaluation.

If the communication problem relates to the voice, an acoustic (sound) analysis and/or visualization of the vocal folds will be completed. For the adult with a communication problem that affects language usage, the adult’s listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills will be tested. For adults with a communication problem that affects cognition, the adult’s memory, problem solving, orientation, attention, and organizational skills will be tested. Evaluation times vary from 1 to 2 hours or more. Your speech-language pathologist will let you know if additional testing time is needed.

Q. What is a speech-language pathologist?

A. Speech-Language Pathologists diagnose and provide treatment for children and adults with a variety of speech-language, cognitive, voice, and feeding-swallowing problems.

Q. What kinds of speech and language disorders affect children?

A. Speech and language disorders can affect the way children talk, understand, analyze or process information.  Speech disorders affect the clarity, voice quality, and fluency of a child’s spoken words.  Language disorders affect a child’s ability to hold meaningful conversations, understand others, problem solve, read and comprehend, and express thoughts through spoken and written words.

Q. At what age should I seek out help for my child?

A. Speech-Language Pathologists work with children from infancy to adolescence.  If you are concerned about your child’s communication skills, please call and schedule your child to be seen for a communication evaluation and/or consultation.  The early months of your baby’s life are of great importance for good social skills, emotional growth, and intelligence.

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Q. What is a receptive language disorder?

A. Receptive language includes the skills involved in understanding language.  Receptive language disorders are difficulties in the ability to attend to, process, and/or retain spoken language.

Q. Is my child showing signs of a receptive language disorder?

A. Some early signs and symptoms of a receptive language disorder include:

  • Difficulty following directions
  • Repeating back words or phrases either immediately or at a later time (echolalia)
  • Difficulty with answering questions appropriately
  • Use of jargon while talking
  • Difficulty attending to spoken language
  • High activity level
  • Inappropriate and/or off topic responses to questions

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Q. What is an expressive language disorder?

A. Expressive language includes the skills involved in communicating one’s thoughts and feelings to others. An expressive language disorder concerns difficulty with verbal expression.

Q. Is my child showing signs of an expressive language disorder?

A. Some signs and symptoms of an expressive language disorder include:

Omitting word endings, difficulty acquiring forms such as plurals, past tense verbs, complex verb forms, or other grammar forms

Limited vocabulary

Repetition of words or syllables

Difficulty understanding words that describe position, time, quality, or quantity

Word retrieval difficulties

Substituting one word for another or misnaming items

Relying on non-verbal or limited means of communicating.

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Q. Is my child showing signs of autism?

A. Signs of autism may begin to be detected as early as 12 months of age. Symptoms of autism can occur in isolation or in combination with other conditions.  Some early indicators of autism spectrum disorder may include:

  • Delayed development of the ability to draw the attention of parents and others to objects and events
  • Little or no use of pointing to encourage another person to look at what (s)he sees (i.e., “joint attention)
  • Little or no attempt to gain attention by bringing or showing toys/objects to others
  • Little or no eye contact
  • Participates in repetitive patterns of activities
  • Lack of understanding that language is a tools for conveying information
  • Tendency to select for enjoyment trivial aspects of things in the environment (e.g., attending to a wheel on a car and not the whole car for imaginative play)
  • Odd responses to sensory stimuli, such as hypersensitivity to sound, fascination with visual stimuli, dislike of gentle touch but enjoyment of firm pressure
  • Uses senses of taste and smell rather than hearing and vision.
  • Poor coordination including clumsiness, odd gait and posture
  • Over or under activity
  • Abnormalities of mood, such as excitement or misery
  • Abnormalities of eating, drinking, and sleeping

More obvious signs of autism spectrum disorder

  • Flicking fingers, objects, etc.
  • Watching things that spin
  • Tapping and scratching on surfaces
  • Inspecting, walking along and tracing lines and angles
  • Feeling special textures
  • Rocking, especially standing up and jumping from back foot to front foot.
  • Repetitive head banging or self injury
  • Arranging objects in a line
  • Intense attachment to particular objects for no apparent reason
  • A fascination with regular repeated patterns of objects, sounds

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Q. What is a social pragmatic language disorder?

A. Children with social pragmatic difficulties demonstrate deficits in social cognitive functioning. Diagnostic terms include: Asperger Syndrome, hyperlexia, High Functioning Autism, Semantic-Pragmatic Disorder, Pervasive Developmental Disorders-Not Otherwise specified and Non-Verbal Learning Disabilities.

Q: Is my child showing signs of a social-pragmatic language disorder?

A: Persons with social-pragmatic deficits have significant difficulties in their ability to effectively communicate and problem solve.  Some signs and symptoms may include:

  • Difficulties with personal problem solving
  • Literal/ concrete understanding of language
  • Difficulty engaging in conversational exchange
  • Difficulty with active listening, including participating through observation of the context and making logical connections
  • Aggressive language
  • Decreased interest in other children
  • Difficulty with abstract and inferential language
  • Lack of eye contact
  • Difficulty interpreting nonverbal language
  • Difficulty with adequately expressing feelings

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Q. Is my child’s “stuttering” normal?

A. Non-fluent speech is typical between the ages of two and six years. It is typical for non-fluent speech to last up to six months, improve then return.  A speech-language evaluation may be in order if your child exhibits any other speech and language difficulties or was a late talker.  Any child who is demonstrating any “struggle behaviors” (e.g., facial body tension, breathing disruptions, blocks, grimacing) should be referred to a speech-language pathologist immediately.

Q. What is an articulation disorder?

A. Articulation is the production of speech sounds. An articulation disorder is when a child does not make speech sounds correctly due to incorrect placement or movement of the lips, tongue, velum, and/or pharynx.  It is important to recognize that there are differences in the age at which children produce specific speech sounds in all words and phrases. Mastering specific speech sounds may take place over several years.

Q. What is a speech sound disorder?

A. Phonology refers to the speech sound system of language.  A speech sound disorder is when a child is not using speech sound patterns appropriately.  A child whose sound structures are different from the speech typical for their stage of development, or who produces unusual simplifications of sound combinations may be demonstrating a speech sound disorder.

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