Welcome to Speech

at Brielle Elementary School

Phyllis Penkethman, M.S.,CCC-SLP

732-528-6400 ext. 182



Pre-K News:

In the Preschool, our speech program concentrates on improving phonemic awareness, vocabulary/concept development, socialization and individualized speech and language goals.  Research has shown that children who have difficulty acquiring speech may have more difficulties learning how to read.  I will give the children a head start by offering them developmentally appropriate activities to stimulate phonemic awareness. 

Here are some simple ideas to promote language with your child. The most important thing is to talk with your little one using short, simple sentences. Talk about activities that interest him/her; talk about family members; talk about what's going on during the day; talk about books you are reading together. Family photo albums are always a great way to stimulate language. Many young children love to look at photographs of familiar people (and themselves!). You can encourage alot of language growth in this way. And remember: Your child learns through play.  By playing together, following your child's lead, repeating what he says and "expanding" his/her language, you are teaching him/her how to take turns with words and you are modeling language for him/her.  You are beginning to teach shared attention plus you are deepening the bond you have with your child! Let's face it: your attention is what your little one desires the most!

If you limit access to preferred things such as toys and food, your child can request them from you.  Offer verbal choices when your child just points to indicate what s/he wants. Even if your child makes a grunt or approximates a word, grant him/her access to what he wants.  S/he will eventually learn words and sentences.

Get your child involved in play with his/her peers.  Children can learn valuable communication skills when playing with others. Lastly, a fabulous websource that will help you work with your child can be found at teachmetotalk.com


What to look for in your toddler's speech and language:

Here are some milestones in the development of communication, courtesy of Lanza and Flahive (2009). If your child is not demonstrating the following behaviors, you may want to ask your physician for a referral for a communication evaluation. If you are a resident of Brielle and your child will be three years old soon, contact Mr. Sabia or Phyllis Penkethman at Brielle Elementary School.

- At 12 months, your child should point to objects and/or use gestures.

- At 15 months, your child should say his/her first word and respond to "no" or "bye bye."

- At 18 months, your child should say at least six to ten words consistently, and hear well.

- At 20 months, your child should use at least six consonant sounds and follow simple directions.

- At 24 months, your child should have a vocabulary of more than 50 words and should have an interest in social interaction.

- At 36 months, your child should use simple sentences.


Did you know... that speech sounds develop in a predictable sequence as children mature?  Most three year olds have mastered the speech sounds p, m, h, n, and w.  Four years olds add the sounds b, k, f, g, and d to their repetoire.  By the time many children turn six, they add t, r and l  to their growing list of speech sounds.  But research shows that many children are seven and eight years old by the time they produce the sounds s, sh, ch, j, v, and th correctly!  That's the normal developmental process!

What is a speech sound disorder? 

A speech sound disorder occurs when a child has difficulty producing speech sounds beyond the age when one would expect the sounds to develop. S/he may distort or substitute speech sounds, e.g., "peash" for "peach." In addition s/he may omit speech sounds, e.g., "Tahtoh" for "Costco." A child with a speech sound disorder may be more difficult to understand than a typically developing child.  In addition, some children may need direct treatment to eliminate their errors. 

I work with the classroom teachers throughout the year to address any concerns they may have regarding their students' communication abilities. Referrals for speech screenings can be made through your child's teacher or at your own request.  Please contact me at ext. 182 Monday through Friday.



To promote our students' optimal performance and to accelerate their acheivement, I have created a Speech Wall of Fame, where children who are graduating from speech will have the opportunity to leave their "mark."  This wall is not visible from the hallway, to maintain confidentiality. I make a BIG deal when your child gets his/her name on the wall! We have a small ceremony with the student's peers.  Since establishing the Wall of Fame several years ago, thirty five hands have gone up on the wall...and counting!  


Help your child achieve success

It is essential that your child practices the correct production of his/her speech in environments outside the speech room. If your child is at the point where s/he is able to produce his/her speech sound consistently, try these suggestions. It is adapted from a great online resource, Speech-Language-Development.com:

  • Have your child read to you for 5-10 minutes each day (just before bed is a great time for this!). Pick a book that is within your child’s comfort zone so that s/he will not have to put a lot of mental energy into decoding the text.
  • Before your child begins reading, offer a reminder to self-monitor his/her target speech sound articulation. For example, if your child is working on the /s/ sound, you might say: “Remember, we’re going to be looking out for words with the /s/ sound. When you come to a word with the S sound, really try to make the best /s/ sound you can.”
  • Encourage your child to read slowly. It is all right for her/him to slow down or exaggerate words with the target sound. You may also have him/her point to words with the target sound as she reads them or you can give him/her a gentle reminder.
  • Remember, you’re a fan, not a critic. If s/he distorts the target sound, don’t stop her/him right away. Let her/him finish the sentence, then have his/her practice the word where you heard the distortion (e.g., “Could you just read this word for me again before we go on?”). Then let him/her continue. Remember to give LOTS of praise for making the effort to practice speech.  Please let me know if your child is doing this type of activity and I will make sure s/he is rewarded for their efforts.
  • Don’t expect 100% perfection all of the time. The goal here is to help your child develop the habit of listening to his/her own speech and to “become the boss of his/her own mouth."

Doing activities like these every daily can help your child retain and generalize the skills s/he has learned in speech therapy. By working with your child and keeping up with speech homework assignments we will achieve "our" goals!

Thank you in advance, for all you do!