What is a Speech-Language Pathologist (SLP)?

An SLP is someone who provides assessment and intervention related to speech and language disorders. This includes disorders of articulation, receptive and expressive language, fluency, voice, feeding, swallowing, reading, and social skills. Speech language pathologists also work with clients for dialect and accent reduction.

A certified Speech Language Pathologist must have at least a master’s degree and hold a Certificate of Clinical Competence in Speech-Language Pathology (CCC-SLP), which is issued by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) to individuals who meet certain criteria. In order to maintain certification, an SLP must demonstrate ongoing professional development through various workshops, conferences, or other continuing education activities.

In addition, the state of Tennessee requires that SLPs practicing in Tennessee obtain credentials through either the department of education or the State professional licensing board.


How do I know if my child is developing speech and language at a normal rate?

The age at which a child understands or uses specific language skills varies from child to child. The following link provides information about general speech and language development.Speech and Language Development

What are the warning signs of a speech and language disorder?

The following are common “red flags” that indicate your child may have a speech and language delay or disorder. A sudden loss of communication skills at any age is a significant indicator.


  • Lack of response to sounds in the environment or caregiver’s voice
  • Limited eye contact
  • Does not smile in response to caregivers
  • Difficulties with feeding (sucking or swallowing)
  • Lack of or very limited vocalizations or babbling
  • Lack of interest in socializing
  • Does not respond to name


  • Lack of eye contact
  • Does not follow directions
  • Does not appear to understand common words
  • Limited sound production; limited variety of speech sounds
  • Difficulty or lack of interest in imitating sounds, words, or oral movements (e.g., blowing)
  • Does not respond to name
  • Does not use words to communicate wants and needs
  • Does not play or interact with peers or siblings

Two to Three Year Olds

  • Not combining 2-3  words
  • Does not follow two-step directions
  • Poor eye contact
  • Limited vocabulary
  • By 24 months: unfamiliar listeners cannot understand at least 50% of child’s speech.
  • By 36 months: unfamiliar listeners cannot understand at least 75% of child’s speech.

Three to Four Year Olds

  • Not combining 4-5 words in full sentences
  • Not using “I” to refer to self
  • Cannot tell about experiences, even in simple sentences

School Age:

  • Speech is difficult to understand
  • Difficulty answering questions
  • Difficulty following multiple directions at one time.
  • Difficulty with reading skills or reading comprehension
  • Difficulty expressing thoughts
  • Difficulty learning new vocabulary


What should I do if I suspect my child has a speech or language disorder?

If you are concerned that your child may have a speech or language disorder, you can contact a speech-language pathologist (SLP) to have an evaluation completed. Based on the results of the evaluation, the SLP will make recommendations for the next step.  Call us today at (615) 587-2683 for a free phone consultation or to schedule an evaluation.

Speech and language disorders can affect children in a number of ways. Some children have impairments in only one area, whereas others have impairments in several areas. Children from birth through adulthood can be affected. Speech and language disorders can affect a child’s articulation or phonological processes, motor speech, auditory processing, receptive and expressive language, cognitive-communication, fluency, voice, pragmatic language, social skills, reading, writing, or learning.


How do speech-language disorders affect learning?

Speech and language skills are essential to academic success in many ways. Language skills are needed for reading and writing, learning curricular content, and communicating in the classroom.

Language skills are essential to reading and writing. Children need to be able to understand and use language in order to decode words, read fluently, understand what they have read, and spell words.  They also use language when writing complete sentences, essays, and narrative stories.

In the classroom, children are required to follow multiple directions at one time, listen to and understand new concepts in content areas such as math, language arts, science, and social studies, and learn new vocabulary on a daily basis. Children use language when they solve problems, make inferences, and analyze language, as well.

Children also need language skills to communicate in the classroom. They need to be able to ask and answer questions, request clarification and assistance when they don’t understand, and maintain a topic of conversation with teachers and peers.

Speech skills are needed to be able to communicate clearly with teachers and peers. Some children with speech disorders are reluctant to speak in class; therefore they miss out on opportunities for classroom participation and learning.


What happens during a speech and language evaluation?

During your child’s speech and language evaluation, a speech language pathologist will conduct a parent interview to obtain background information pertinent to your child’s speech and language abilities. Formal and informal assessments of your child’s speech and language skills will also be completed. Formal assessments can include standardized tests or parent report questionnaires. Informal Assessments can include observation of your child’s speech and language skills during play or conversation.


What happens during therapy? What types of evidence-based approaches do you use during therapy?

A speech-language pathologist from PipSqueak will come to your home or your child’s school to work with your child. Based on the results of the evaluation, goals and objectives targeting specific speech and language skills will be developed and various evidence-based teaching methods will be used to teach your child the target skills. The SLP will also work with the caregivers so that they may learn the strategies and implement them within the child’s daily routines. We highly encourage parent participation in the therapy process.

Depending on your child’s age, goals, and individual strengths and needs, a combination of child-directed and clinician-directed activities will be conducted. Some activities will be highly structured, whereas, others will be play-based and more natural.

A multi-modality approach will be used when needed consisting of speech, signs, PECS, or other augmentative and alternative forms of communication. Strategies such as communication temptations and indirect language stimulation strategies are also used when teaching language and communication.


Who provides the services?

At PipSqueak Speech Therapy, all screenings, evaluations, and therapy will be completed by a certified and licensed speech-language pathologist.


I would like schedule a speech and language evaluation with PipSqueak Speech Therapy. How do I get started?

You can contact Tara Roof, M.S., CCC-SLP (615) 587-2683 to schedule an appointment. We will be happy to answer any questions you may have about the evaluation process during this phone call.


Do you accept insurance?
PipSqueak Speech Therapy is not “in-network” with any insurance providers. We are private-pay only. However, we will be more than happy to provide you with the necessary documentation so that you can submit a claim to your insurance company. If you are considering filing a claim with your insurance, it is advised that you contact your insurance company prior to your initial visit to verify coverage for the evaluation and possible treatment. We are happy to help answer any questions you have about this process.