Beyond Communication was founded over 14 years ago with the mission to provide exceptional support in speech, language and literacy. Since then, it has grown into a comprehensive center that provides the best speech therapy, diagnostic educational and speech/language testing, specialized tutoring and continuing education. The team consists of a group of professionals who love what they do and have the highest level of clinical expertise. We have built the reputation on always upholding the needs of the child and using data-driven information to treat or evaluate.
Dyslexia is one kind of reading problem. We call a reading problem dyslexia when the person struggles with seeing the written word and recognizing it or figuring out what it is. Children with dyslexia often read a written word then see the same word a moment later and don’t recognize it. They may repeatedly practice reading or spelling a small set of words yet continue to approach the words each time like it’s their first time. Dyslexic students also struggle with spelling. They typically have difficulty picking up on spelling patterns and remembering the spelling for words they’ve studied. These challenges make reading and writing difficult, slow, and frustrating, even if the child loves being read to or telling stories out loud. At BC, our team includes four dyslexia specialists with certification in Structured Literacy, the preeminent approach to dyslexia intervention. We provide comprehensive diagnostic and treatment services for dyslexia, focusing on the particular strengths and needs of each individual child.
There are many different kinds of reading problems. Some students have a hard time sounding out words and reading fluently, while others can read but don’t understand what they have read. Reading problems can often be related to other diagnoses or learning disorders. Our language and educational specialists help to make sense about why a student is experiencing reading problems, and identify what their exact reading problems are. Identifying a student’s specific problems helps guide intervention and instructional approaches to match their individual needs.
The ultimate goal of reading is understanding. Many students struggle to understand what they read, even though they can decode and read fluently. These students may have a hard time retelling stories, remembering details, or answering questions about what they read. This can make reading frustrating, boring, or confusing, and can lead to challenges at school. Good reading comprehension requires the interaction of many different skills. Here, we explore all areas of language and literacy to understand why a student struggles with reading comprehension. We identify and apply evidence-based interventions and help students, parents, and teachers understand how to address comprehension problems.
Sometimes children are able to read with little to no difficulty but they still have trouble consistently spelling words correctly. This is sometimes called dysgraphia and can be caused by difficulty hearing/processing all the sounds in a word, knowing all of the spelling rules and patterns and how to apply them, or trouble with letter formations. As children with spelling difficulties progress through elementary school, they may have difficulty reading unfamiliar or longer words, or become reluctant to write which results in poor writing skills in the long term. Our specialists can determine what specific deficits are causing spelling issues and help to remediate those deficits.
Writing is the most complex task we ask school-aged children to do. Good writing isn’t a single skill, but rather the ability to integrate many cognitive skills to execute the process. A skilled writer can develop their ideas, frame those ideas into words, then move the words from thought to paper by applying the rules for spelling and written mechanics. Handwriting or typing skills play a role. Each of those steps needs to be sequenced and controlled by the executive system, the part of the brain that controls its own activities. There’s a lot going on! Writing can be difficult for a student because of challenges at any of those points in the process. Often, there are multiple layers to the problem. Improving writing skills starts with determining where the breakdown occurs. With that foundation, we can focus on developing the skills or strategies the student needs to get their ideas and knowledge onto paper.
Developmental Language Disorder (DLD) / Expressive-Receptive Language
Many parents observe that their child seems to have difficulty understanding what they hear people say and putting their own thoughts into words clearly. You may notice your child often uses the wrong word for familiar things or uses many generic words instead of specific terms. You may get the sense that your child listens to you when you talk, but doesn’t grasp or retain what you’ve said. These traits may point to DLD, Developmental Language Disorder. (DLD goes by many names. You may have already been told your child has mixed receptive-expressive language disorder, or that they qualify for an IEP under the category of Communication Impaired. These are all terms for the same profile.) Children with DLD experience many challenges in their daily lives. Weaknesses in basic language skills lead to reading and writing challenges, trouble keeping up in the classroom, and even problems navigating social conversations with peers. At BC, supporting children with DLD and their families is our specialty. We take a whole-child approach to figuring out how to support language challenges while maximizing the child’s strengths.
Auditory Processing Disorder (APD / CAPD)
If your child seems to have trouble hearing or understanding what other people say even though they do not have a hearing loss, they may have Auditory Processing Disorder (APD) or Central Auditory Processing Disorder (CAPD). This refers to when specific parts of the brain are not working properly to process auditory information. Testing with an audiologist is needed to diagnose APD/CAPD. Trouble following directions, answering questions incorrectly, becoming distracted, or problems with listening in background noise, can all be related to APD/CAPD. Reading and spelling skills can also be affected. APD/CAPD can sometimes be confused with attention, language, or learning problems, or may coexist with these problems. Speech language pathologists can be part of a team approach to help identify and treat language and literacy problems related to, or co-occurring, with APD/CAPD.
Although social communication is an aspect of language that is often viewed as something that people “just know”, some children benefit from its explicit instruction. Children with difficulty in this area may struggle to interpret body language, facial expressions, implied meaning, and more. They may have difficulty forming and maintaining friendships, complain of misunderstandings with their peers, and unintentionally offend or upset their friends. Our speech-language pathologists can help demystify the social world for these students.
ADHD & Executive Skill challenges
Executive functioning refers to a group of cognitive, behavioral, and emotional skills that work together to support social and academic performance. ADHD is a disorder of executive functioning. Some children and teens have executive skill problems even if they do not have ADHD. Weak executive skills can directly impact school performance and social interactions, even if a student is smart and wants to succeed. Problems with regulating attention, keeping organized, and controlling impulses, are all examples of executive skill weaknesses that can contribute to problems with studying, finishing homework, remembering things, or interacting appropriately with others. Our team takes an inclusive and neurological approach to supporting students with ADHD and executive functioning problems, since they can also occur alongside other language, literacy, and learning problems. Our dually certified speech and language pathologists (SLP) and ADHD Rehabilitation Service Providers (ADHD-RSP) also offer individual ADHD Coaching to help students learn how their brains work, understand the connection between their actions and achieving their goals, and work towards independence.
Some children have difficulty making speech sounds correctly. This is referred to as a speech sound disorder. An articulation disorder is when a child has difficulty physically producing a sound (having trouble making an /s/ or /r/ sound, for example). In this case, a speech-language pathologist would help a child move their lips, tongue, or other articulators to the right places in order to create the sound correctly. A phonological disorder is a speech sound disorder which causes a child to have difficulty learning the sound system of a language. They might have trouble hearing/processing the difference between sounds and therefore produce them incorrectly. In this case, an SLP would not only help the child make the correct sounds, but also help them to recognise the differences between the sounds that they are hearing and making.
Stuttering is a speech disorder that makes it difficult for people to speak smoothly. People who stutter experience disfluent speech and they may repeat parts or sounds of words, stretch out one sound for a long time, or have trouble getting a word out at all. While we don’t know exactly what causes people to stutter, we do know that genetics and neurophysiology play a part. Stuttering as a disorder is not caused by stress, but can be triggered by anxiety or nervousness. Stuttering can cause negative feelings about talking, leading to tension and avoidance. While there is no cure for stuttering, speech-language pathologists can help people who stutter learn strategies to decrease instances of disfluency. They can help children to learn what to do when they are experiencing a disfluency and ways to speak that will help prevent those moments from happening.
Learning Disability means different things to different people. . There are a variety of learning disabilities that can affect a student’s performance at school in different ways. Learning disabilities can be related to oral language problems, such as difficulties with listening and/or speaking, or related to written language, such as problems with reading, spelling, and writing. Poor comprehension, dyslexia, and dysgraphia, are examples of language-based learning disabilities. Weaknesses with math skills and academic fluency can also be related to learning disabilities. Our team takes a scientific approach to identify what kind of learning disability a child has and the individual difficulties they experience. This information can help understand which interventions, instructional approaches, and school programming will appropriately address a student’s learning needs.
Autism Spectrum Disorder
The BC team embraces neurodiversity. Autism is a way of being, characterized by both incredible strengths and real daily challenges. For many autistic kids, communication challenges are a part of their daily experience, and so , SLPs are a vital support system. . SLPs can help children communicate their knowledge, thoughts, and feelings more effectively, understand routines and transitions, enrich social communication, improve reading and writing skills, and more. Every autistic child is different and therefore benefits from individualized support. Our evaluation and treatment services for autistic children and teens focus on reducing barriers and maximizing functioning.