Brittany Doyle, M.S., CCC-SLP is this week’s Meet a Mom! She is founder of WordPlay Pediatric Speech-Language Therapy. “WordPlay is a Pediatric Speech-Language Therapy Practice offering play-based, personalized services (comprehensive evaluations and intensive treatment sessions) to children of various ages, presenting with any difficulty with speech and/or language,” says Brittany. We spoke to this Greenwich Mom to learn more about her business, how she is continuing to work with children through the pandemic, and more.
Can you please tell us a bit more about what speech language issues you can help with?
Some examples of common speech and language difficulties children may have include: difficulty producing sounds accurately in words or conversation (articulation/phonology), difficulty using words to communicate (expressive language), trouble following directions or understanding what is spoken to them (receptive language), difficulty with social-interactive skills or play skills, repetitions or prolongations of sounds/words (stuttering behaviors). Some children may present with more than one of the above or all of the above, or another speech and language difficulty not mentioned above.
What precautions are you taking (or how are you pivoting) due to COVID?
We are primarily providing Teletherapy/Telehealth services at this time, which is an area of specialty for us, as we have provided Teletherapy/Telehealth services since 2017, long before the start of COVID, so we are experts in this innovative method of service provision, making Teletherapy fun, interactive, playful and effective, for children of all ages/diagnoses.
When should parents consider a speech evaluation?
If parents notice their child is not meeting the speech and language developmental milestones for their age range, they should consult with a pediatric speech-language therapist.
Some important early language developmental milestones include babbling or vocalizing on time, using words, or longer utterances to communicate, following directions of increasing length and complexity, understanding spoken language, answering or asking questions, etc.
Private speech therapy is definitely recommended for children in the 0-3 range but also for older children, 3-18 years of age. Many families opt for private services in conjunction with Early Intervention or school based services.
If a child understands more than they can say, and getting words out is a struggle.
If a child doesn’t pretend when they play or that he/she doesn’t make appropriate eye contact/joint attention or have the ability to make conversation with others.
Other common reasons why a parent may seek out a speech and language evaluation would be due to a child presenting with repetition or prolongation of sounds/words (stuttering behaviors), difficulty producing sounds accurately, difficulty being understood by others when speaking, or tongue protruding during speech (lisp) or swallowing (tongue thrust).
What are some things all parents can do to encourage proper speech development?
Parents should talk with their children, describing what they see/what is happening. They should also allow their child adequate time to talk with no pressure/time constraints. Parents should also expand upon their child’s sound production or word production, bringing them to the next level, (e.g., if their child speaks using single words, they should model 2-3 word utterances). Most importantly, parents should get down on their child’s level and tune into their child’s interests, doing the aforementioned things in a fun way (through joint reading, singing or developmentally appropriate play-based activities).
Are speech delays becoming more common—or are more kids getting intervention?
There is more awareness now that intervention as early as possible is crucial. Early access to quality speech language therapy services is priceless and life changing for children and in turn, their families.
Can you tell us a bit about your family (names/ages of kids) and how you came to live in Greenwich?
My husband Pat, and I have 3 kids, ages 5 and under. We welcomed our third baby in January 2020! We moved to Greenwich in 2018 for a job related relocation. Our kids are all under 5 so we are home schooling them this year; the older two previously attended St. John Preschool in Darien, which we absolutely love. They will return to preschool there as soon as it’s safe to do so. Our oldest son will start kindergarten next September.
How do you balance work/family—any mantra or best advice you can share?
It’s never a perfect balance, especially during COVID, but it’s important for each Mom to find what works for her, and it’s ideal when you can have the best of both worlds, enjoying family life, while also giving back to your community and helping people in a field that you are passionate about.
We love supporting local businesses. Can you please name your favorite places to:
Grab coffee – Starbucks on Greenwich Ave
Go out to dinner as family- BarTaco, Doppio, Boxcar Cantina
Go shopping- My husband Pat and I like Lululemon on Greenwich Avenue or the toy store Funky Monkey on Greenwich Avenue (for the kids).
Have fun as a family/outdoors- Tod’s Point, Binney Park, (feeding the turtles), and Byram Park Playground are a few of our favorites.