Back to School: Time for Speech Therapy

By Christina M. Freise Pollitt, MS, CCC-SLP, CBIS, CDP – Speech-Language Pathologist

Back to SchoolPreparing for ‘back to school’ means much more than simply stocking up on colored pencils and spiral-bound notebooks. It is often  a time of new beginnings, new experiences, and for some parents, when they first realize something may be “wrong” with their child’s speech, language, reading or feeding abilities.

The first step is quite simple: go to the pediatrician. A child’s primary care doctor can conduct a basic screening of a child’s development and address parental concerns, while most likely easing worries with professional guidance. A pediatrician may next refer the child to a pediatric otolaryngologist and/or audiologist. The otolaryngologist (ENT) and the audiologist can utilize their expertise to determine if the issues involved with speech and language could be related to a hearing problem.

Subsequently, a referral may be made to a speech-language pathologist for a comprehensive evaluation. There are myriad reasons why an evaluation conducted by a speech-language pathologist would be suggested, ranging from speech sound disorders to picky eating habits! A parent interview is first conducted to ascertain medical history, developmental milestones, and communication or swallowing concerns. Parental involvement is critical for a successful evaluation.

Depending upon the concern, the speech-language pathologist will analyze a child’s understanding and expressive use of various words, following directions of varying length and complexity, correct use of words in grammatically-appropriate sentences, pronunciation of age-appropriate speech sounds, voice quality, movement of structures utilized for speech production, and fluency of speech. Depending upon the age of the child, reading and written expression skills would be assessed as well. Formal, standardized evaluations are utilized in conjunction with informal data collection methods. If feeding or picky eating is a concern, the speech-language pathologist would conduct a comprehensive swallow/feeding evaluation.

Findings are discussed at length with parent/guardian, and a thorough written report is furnished. The report will indicate recommendations for future action which may include participation in speech therapy, referral to another professional, and/or re-evaluation at a later date. While it may be more involved than picking up pencils or a notebook, this evaluation lays the foundation for your child’s back to school communicative experiences and overall success.

Christina Freise Pollitt is a speech-language pathologist, and owner of Speech By the Beach Consulting LLC, a family owned and operated private practice in Naples, Florida. She provides comprehensive speech-language pathology  services to both pediatrics and adults. She is certified as a Brain Injury Specialist by the Brain Injury Association of America, and as a Certified Dementia Specialist by the National Council of Certified Dementia Practitioners. This triple certification distinguishes her from other speech-language pathologists, and enables her to offer patients more comprehensive assessment and treatment options.

Mrs. Freise Pollitt holds a Masters of Science from Columbia University, New York, the only Ivy League training program in the United States in Speech-Language Pathology. Following graduation, she fulfilled her Clinical Fellowship at The Brady Institute for Traumatic Brain Injury to receive her Certificate of Clinical Competence from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. Her diverse experiences include Level I acute care Trauma Center, LTACH, home care, and university clinical faculty member with supervisory and teaching roles in a pediatric clinic. As a clinical professor, Mrs. Freise Pollitt has trained hundreds of aspiring speech-language pathologists. Furthermore, she is the author of Cognitive Implications of Dementia: A Caregiver’s Guide to Improve Communication and Swallow Function.

Mrs. Freise Pollitt is the former vice president of Closet2Closet, an Illinois-based non-profit organization providing current trend apparel to teenagers living in foster care and/or disruptive situations. Locally, she is the former President of the Collier County Medical Society Alliance, and a former Director of the Florida Medical Association Alliance. She is an advisor to the Stroke Recovery Foundation and to the Alzheimer’s Support Network of Naples.

In regards to pediatrics, Mrs. Freise Pollitt offers a myriad of services at Speech By The Beach Consulting LLC. She offers comprehensive evaluation and treatment of articulation/phonology, receptive and expressive language, voice, feeding/swallowing, reading skills, cognitive communication, and social language. Mrs. Freise Pollitt is specialized in evidenced-based methods including Food Chaining, the Orton Gillingham Reading Approach, Baby Signs, and the Beckman Oral Motor Approach. The practice offers complimentary speech/language screenings for private daycare facilities and private schools. Speech By The Beach Consulting also offers telepractice as an option in these current times. The practice proudly participates in the Gardiner Scholarship Program of Florida, which allows children with special needs an opportunity to receive an education savings account (ESA) funded by the state to pay for speech therapy services.

Speech By The Beach Consulting LLC is accepting new clients. Please call 239-631-1988 to schedule your appointment.

Speech By The Beach Consulting LLC
2180 Immokalee Road, Suite 312
Naples, FL 34110

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