Service Category: Services

Speech-Language Evaluation and Therapy

Speech and language are an essential part of a child’s life. It is important that children can communicate with others and understand language so they can communicate effectively with parents, peers, teachers, etc. Making a proper diagnosis is essential to identifying speech-language weaknesses and creating a treatment plan. When there is difficulty communicating with others, it is best to address it with speech therapy as early as possible. The sooner therapy begins, the sooner your child will become conversational with their peers.

Speech disorders fall into the following categories:

Some common signs to look for in children include:
  • Difficulty understanding the child
  • Difficulty with expressing ideas clearly
  • Trouble understanding ideas from others
  • Difficulty putting words together into phrases/sentences
  • Trouble recalling/using new vocabulary
  • Inappropriate grammar usage
  • Reduced vocabulary
  • Incorrect word usage
  • Poor social interaction skills
  • Difficulty understanding the meaning of a word
  • Difficulty reading and sounding words out
  • Difficulty answering questions/following directions
Our approach
We believe that parents are key in a child’s success

At Yakos Therapy, sessions are play based and include parent training and participation. Our team works closely with families to ensure they are able to provide support for home practice activities and provides families with resources and materials to ensure speech-language progress.
Information is presented using visual, auditory, tactile and movement activities to help children learn about sound quality and how sounds are produced in speech.

Bilingual Services - Spanish/English

Many variables make each bilingual experience its very own. Speakers with bilingual speech disorders require specific care from a speech-language pathologist (SLP). Bilingual SLPs must be able to provide comprehensive diagnostic and treatment services for speech, language, cognitive, voice, and swallowing disorders using the client’s/patient’s language. They must also have the linguistic proficiency to:

  • describe the process of normal speech and language acquisition—for both bilingual and monolingual speakers of that language, including how those processes are manifested in oral and written language;
  • select administer, and interpret formal and informal assessment procedures to distinguish between communication differences and communication disorders;
  • apply intervention strategies for treatment of communication disorders in the language or mode of communication most appropriate for the needs of the individual.   

Our Executive Director, Maria Yakos, is recognized by the Illinois Speech Hearing Association (ISHA) as a Bilingual and Bidalectical Service Provider. She is fluent in both Spanish and English with native proficiency in both and has taken advanced coursework in Spanish language grammar, literature, and writing, as well as, advanced coursework in assessment, diagnosis and treatment of bilingual language learners.  Maria has completed coursework and language proficiency testing and has applied to be certified as a bilingual service provider by the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE). 

speech therapist practice therapy for child with motor speech disorders.
speech therapist practice therapy for child with motor speech disorders.

Picky Eaters and Feeding Disorders

A child with a feeding disorder may only eat a few foods, completely avoiding entire food groups, textures or liquids necessary for proper development. Picky eaters may have issues related to certain tastes, textures and even colors of foods.  Our team will work with parents to develop a plan of treatment to help increase a child’s food repertoire and provide nutritional options.  

A speech-language pathologist (SLP) and occupational therapist may work together during a feeding therapy session to improve an individual’s feeding, swallowing, and/or diet. Some specific utensils or tools that may be utilized during sessions include:

Some specific utensils or tools that may be utilized during sessions include:

Occupational staff is warm and inviting
Our team is excited to meet the challenges your child faces.

Your role as a parent / caregiver

Meal time family preferences are considered in treatment.  You will develop a list of foods to trial for your child’s therapy sessions.  Your therapist will work with you to help set up the home environment for meal time success and help your child to explore new tastes, smells, and textures.  Adaptive spoons, plates or cups may be needed to help your child manage meal time efficiently.  Our team will problem solve with you to develop a plan that will work for your family. 

A unique challenge...

Children and adults with speech or language difficulties may need to find other ways to communicate. There are different types of Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) to consider and a speech-language pathologist can help find the most appropriate form of AAC based on an individual’s needs. To determine what type of AAC is best for an individual, it is essential to gather parent/family input, observations, complete an AAC evaluation, and gather team input.

Individuals who may work as part of the team included:

  • speech-language pathologist,
  • occupational therapy,
  • physical therapist,
  • social worker,
  • assistive technology professional,
  • doctor,
  • vision specialist. 

The goal of AAC is to achieve the most effective communication possible in order to express needs/wants, and lead the highest quality of life possible.

Types of Augmentative and Alternative Communication

Group therapy offers an opportunity to develop verbal skills
Skills like nonverbal communication are given a chance to develop.

Insurance Coverage

Speech generated devices may be covered through your insurance provider. At Yakos Therapy, our speech-language pathologists can help find the right AAC system for your child.

Not every device works for every person, so it is important to find the right one. Upon selection, our staff of professionals will work with your child to maximize their communication skills.

Understanding occupational therapy

A child’s life is made up of “occupations,” or daily activities. These occupations include playing, learning, and socializing. Occupational therapy practitioners work with children and their families to help them succeed in these activities throughout the day. They also help with basic challenges faced by most families, from creating morning routines to choosing appropriate toys. Courtesy AOTA

The two primary areas of pediatric occupational therapy are:

  • Fine Motor Skills involve the coordination of the small muscles of the fingers and hand to do tasks such as; holding a pencil, tying shoes, picking up beads, etc.
  • Sensory Processing involves the way the brain receives and responds to information collected by the senses. Some examples include poor balance, issues with clothing (scratchy, itchy, etc.), sensitivity to sound, sensitivity to food textures to the point of gagging.
augmentative communication is uses play to help development

Your role as a parent / caregiver

Speech therapy may be needed for Speech Disorders that develop in childhood or Speech Impairments in adults caused by an injury or illness, such as Stroke or Brain Injury.  These are problems with making sounds in syllables, or saying words incorrectly to the point that listeners.

Receptive Disorders are problems with understanding or processing language problems with putting words together, having a limited vocabulary, or being unable to use language.

Developing skills for life

Some children lack the innate skills to understand how their verbal and non-verbal communication is interpreted by others. Likewise, they have difficulty interpreting the actions and words of their peers.

For them, these skills have to be taught. Our speech-language pathologists use a variety of tools to teach skills such as perspective taking, body language cues, and using critical thinking to respond mindfully. Our groups help students hone these skills with their peers to make and maintain friendships.

There are rules and guidelines for how we utilize language in various situations and with different people (e.g., informally with friends and family versus formally in a professional work environment). 

Examples of Social Interaction

students learn through a variety of methods with augmentative communication
Skills like nonverbal communication are given a chance to develop.

Your Role as Parent

Parents will help provide insight to what their main concerns are regarding social language and together with their therapist determine what the child is doing successfully and what they struggle with in regards to social interactions.  Your therapist will develop a plan to develop skills so your child can reach the next steps in learning how to establish friendships and learn about social interactions.  


Stay connected with us on Facebook

Be sure to like us on Facebook to receive notifications regarding upcoming social language groups. We provide opportunities for families to enroll children during summers in our Yakiddy Friends Groups.