Speech Issues in School-Aged Children

Parent Q&A

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  • Hi, 

     I am posting this email on behalf of my friend who will be moving to the Berkeley/Albany area in a few months. For her daughter who has a mild language disorder (receptive), she is looking for an elementary  school that has small size classrooms (less than the usual 20 children in private schools),  very structured, open to different learning styles and possibilities to working one-on-one with her daughter if needed or in a small group (maybe experienced learning specialist). Because of the importance of the size of the classroom, private schools are maybe more preferred/possible. 

    Any advice on  elementary schools in the Berkeley/Albany area are welcome, but if you know of any schools that might be a good fit outside of this area; please share! Thank you on behalf of my friend Ashlee. 

    I work as a speech therapist and if your daughter has a mild receptive language disorder and will be living in Berkeley or Albany I highly recommend entering the public school system. BUSD and ASUD have some of the best speech therapists on site. Therapy is provided through an IEP either 1:1 or groups. There is a huge difference between mild-moderate-severe language disorders. If she has a mild disorder she needs strong/typical language models and is probably able to access grade-level curriculum. Public schools offer very structured teaching and if she needs further support from a case manager/ specialized special educator instructor public schools are able to provide this as well. BUSD class size for elementary these days is averaging 17-21 kids per class. Just for reference, my neighbor's daughter who also had a mild mixed (receptive/expressive) language disorder enrolled in a very small private school in Berkeley with disastrous results. On top of paying expensive tuition, they had to pay for private speech services and they found that the staff did not have the knowledge to accommodate and support her child's learning style. Her daughter is doing exceptionally well at BUSD and receives speech therapy and weekly specialized instruction all at her school. 

  • Hi there,

    I'm looking for recommendations for a good speech therapist in the Berkeley/Oakland area for my 11 year old on. He needs some coaching on speaking clearly and concisely rather than mumbling and speaking in long sentences.

    Thanks so much

    Not sure this is a speech therapist thing. My 3rd grader qualified for speech at school and he was basically disfluent 80-100% of the time to everyone but me - ie., speech therapists typically deal with kids with BIG speech problems. Even in private practice, you'll be paying a lot for a professional who is way overqualified. How about signing him up for a speech/debate club? I have seen activities along these lines offered by the rec departments in Albany & Hercules, but I'm sure they are around other places too. Or like Jr Toastmasters...? Good luck... I'm sure I'll be there with you when my son is 11!

Archived Q&A and Reviews

First Grader With Tics & Speech Issues

Sept 2014

Hi BPN community - our first grader has manifested a variety of motor & verbal tics, ongoing for 3+ months. Some days it's bad enough to really interfere with speech. Kaiser says a) tics are relatively normal in childhood at this age, and b) we can go to Richmond Mental Health dept without a referral. Does anyone have experience with Kaiser Richmond's Mental Health for young kids? We are also getting a speech evaluation through the schools, although my concern is that addressing speech without the underlying cause may just shift the problem (new tics popping up elsewhere). What else should we consider with tics? What local therapist/group might be a resource? Thanks for your thoughts and experiences.

Check for Tourette's Syndrome. It's more common in boys, and frequently starts to manifest at 5-7 years. http://ts-stories.org/ Jessica

Tics are common (25%) in kids ..but it sounds like your child has more going on than that. If it had been a year then it sounds likeTourette's. It requires 1 year of vocal and motor tics to be diagnosed. Kaiser has terrible mental health services. I have Kaiser and a son with Tourette's. I have a great deal that I can tell you about Kaiser. Too much to fit here. We have seen doctors in Richmond, SF, and Oakland. I volunteer forTourette Syndrome Association, NorCal Hawaii Chapter Lauryn