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Center for Disease Control

PA Promise for Children

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Our pediatric Speech Language Pathologists are highly experienced in evaluating and treating all communication and feeding issues. We will customize an individual therapy plan to help your child become a independent and functional communicator/eater.

  • Autism Spectrum Disorder
  • Apraxia
  • Feeding issues
    • Failure to thrive
    • The fussy eater
    • Trachs and vents
  • Speech/language disorders
  • Auditory Processing disorders
  • Social groups
  • Sensory issues of the face and oral cavity
  • Cleft lip/palate
  • Hearing impaired

Tracy Geist Therapy Services was recently featured in the following article appearing in the Times News on Friday, October 30, 2015! Scroll down to read the full text of the article below!

What Parents Should Know
By Kelley Andrade (kandrade@tnonline.com) – Friday, October 30, 2015

According to speech therapist Tracy Geist of Tracy Geist Therapy Services, the wait list for children’s speech therapy services can run as long as four to six or even eight months at most local hospitals like Good Shepard or the Lehigh Valley Network.

“I advise parents to take children to a developmental pediatrician to help rule things out,” she said to parents at her first seminar held at Care Net on Mahoning Street in Lehighton.

Two categories, delays and disorders, will require a speech therapist’s help in most if not all cases. The difference, according to Geist, is a delay in a child’s development means speech is just a little behind, but still following the typical pattern, while a disorder means development is flowing but the child either skips a milestone or gets stuck in one.

“Speech apraxia is a disorder. A child has trouble getting sounds together. They know what they want to say, they just can’t get it out.”

Geist, like other licensed speech therapists, can help assist parents in sorting out the differences.

“Speech therapists are not medical doctors, but we work to treat the symptoms.”

In some cases a physical issue can hinder a child’s speech development. One local Lehighton mother said her child was recently diagnosed with what is commonly known as being “tongue tied.”

Tongue tied is when the lingual frenulum, or tongue web, is overgrown, causing a decrease in tongue mobility impairing formation of words and speech.

“It almost looks like a snake tongue because that piece of skin is pulling on the tongue. It tends to be a minor procedure; doctors just clip it,” Geist said.

To help inform parents of speech development, she handed out several pages with a wide range of developmental information broken down by age and stage. According to research a 6-month-old should be making lots of different sounds and laughing. At 8 months they should be responding to their name and trying to imitate sounds. At 10 months, typically a child will start saying “mama and dada.”

Geist told the parents not to worry about using what researchers call “mother-ese.”

She explained that the term is given to the increased high pitch in voice or different tones and sounds mothers and fathers tend to use with babies.

“It’s natural,” she said. “What’s not OK is misusing words or baby talk, formulating or creating (your) own words for different things.”

She encourages parents to add physical gestures to words.

“Physical modality to vocabulary is important. It helps children learn and use more words.”

As the age increases so should the child’s vocabulary.

“At 1 to 2 years old they should be asking questions like ‘What’s that?’” Geist said.

She also sheds light on why a child may request the same book over and over again.

“They like the same exact book because they are gaining the vocabulary and rhythm of the book. Once they master that book they will move onto the next one. In my own research I have found that when we read to our children they will be better readers themselves.”

Between the ages of 2 and 3 a child will have a vocabulary of over 500 words and use two- to three-word phrases. This is also when the “why” phase typically begins. At this stage Geist says, parents tend to start worrying if their child is developing a stutter.

“Their facial muscles are not fast enough to keep up with their cognitive thoughts. Whole word repetitions are totally normal.”

She warns to look out for partial word stuttering, when the child gets stuck in a particular sound of a word.

“That’s when to consider getting evaluated by a therapist.”

By the age of 3 children should be understandable about 80 percent of the time. Between three and four children will start telling stories about their everyday activities. They will also start speaking in paragraphs and answering most basic questions.

“Parents always ask ‘What can I do to help my children’s speech development?’ A good start is to play matching or sorting games or putting things into categories,” she said.

Geist’s therapy services work with children who have nontypical speech and language development issues, cleft lip or palate, voice disorders, as well as the hearing impaired and children with oral-motor deficits.

She works in conjunction with occupational therapists to serve multiple counties, Carbon, Monroe, Pike, Northampton and Berks.

For more information on speech development or evaluation visit tracygeisttherapyservices.com or www.papromiseforchildren.com to learn about or get involved with early learning programs in the community.