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Autism & Commuication

Autism and Communication

Autism Speech Communication

What is autism?

Autism is a developmental disability that causes problems with social skills and communication. Autism can be mild or severe. It is different for every person. Autism is also known as autism spectrum disorders.

What are some signs or symptoms of autism?

Children with autism may have problems with communication, social skills, and reacting to the world around them. Not all behaviors will exist in every child. Possible signs and symptoms are outlined below.

Autism and Communication

  • Not speaking or very limited speech.
  • Loss of words the child was previously able to say.
  • Difficulty expressing basic wants and needs.
  • Poor vocabulary development
  • Problems following directions or finding objects that are named
  • Repeating what is said (echolalia)
  • Problems answering questions
  • Speech that sounds different (e.g., “robotic” speech)

Smiling boy plays in developing game pointing at colorful cards of days and activities on calendar with his parent sitting opposite at the tableAutism and Social Skills

  • Poor eye contact with people or objects
  • Poor play skills (pretend or social play)
  • Being overly focused on a topic or objects that interest them
  • Problems making friends
  • Crying, becoming angry, giggling, or laughing at inappropriate times
  • Disliking being touched or held

Interacting with the World Around Them

  • Rocking, hand flapping or other movements (self-stimulating movements)
  • Not paying attention to things the child sees or hears
  • Problems dealing with changes in routine
  • Using objects in unusual ways and unusual attachments to objects
  • No fear of real dangers
  • Being either very sensitive or not sensitive enough to touch, light, or sounds
  • Feeding difficulties (accepting only select foods, refusing certain textures) 1
  • Sleep problems

How is Autism Diagnosed?

It is important to have your child evaluated by professionals who know about autism. Autism is typically diagnosed by a pediatric neurologist or a child psychologist. In some clinics a team approach is preferred.

The team might include pediatricians, neurologists, occupational therapists, physical therapists, and developmental specialists, among others. SLPs play a key role because problems with social skills and communication are often the first symptoms of autism. SLPs should be consulted early in the evaluation process.

There are a number of tests and observational checklists available to evaluate children with developmental problems. The most important information, however, comes from parents and caregivers who know the child best and can inform the health professional.

If there are concerns speak with the pediatrician about receiving a referral to the appropriate professionals.

What treatments are available for people with autism?

There is no known cure for autism. In some cases, medications and dietary restrictions may help control symptoms. Intervention should begin when the child is young.

Early intervention and preschool programs are very important. An evaluation by an SLP should be completed to determine social skill and communication needs. An appropriate treatment plan that meets the needs of the child and family can then be established.

Treatment may include any combination of traditional speech and language approaches, augmentative and alternative communication, and behavioral interventions.

#GivingTuesday 2017

Support JSHC on #GivingTuesday November 28, 2017

Changing The World One Child At A Time!

#GivingTuesday #GivingtheGiftofCommunication

Thank you to our Major Sponsors

This year on Tuesday, November 28, 2017, Jacksonville Speech & Hearing Center will participate in #GivingTuesday, a global day dedicated to giving.

#GivingTuesday harnesses the potential of social media and the generosity of people around the world to bring about real change in their communities; it provides a platform for them to encourage the donation of time, resources and talents to address local challenges. It also brings together the collective power of a unique blend of partners— nonprofits, civic organizations, businesses and corporations, as well as families and individuals—to encourage and amplify small acts of kindness.

Read more

JSHC New Facility

JSHC’s New Facility

1010 Davis

Jacksonville, FL (September 1, 2017) — The 68-year old nonprofit Jacksonville Speech & Hearing Center (JSHC) will open a new facility at 1010 North Davis Street on Monday, September 18, 2017. The announcement was made by Michael Howland, President and CEO. The new location will replace the 55-year North Laura Street home of the JSHC and include expanded areas for speech-pathology and audiology services, new hours and technological upgrades.

Providing Access to a World of Communication

“Our North Davis Street location is designed and built specifically to give our patients the best possible experience,” said Howland. “Selling the building we owned in Springfield, leasing the Davis Street location and investing the proceeds in our mission is the right choice to make in an era of tight funding for nonprofits.”

Located near the confluence of I-10 and I-95, the location features ample free parking and access to bus lines 4, 22 and 307. Hours will be 7:00am to 6:00pm Monday through Thursday, and 8:00am to 5:00pm on Fridays, an expansion of eight hours per week.

Jacksonville Speech and Hearing Center has helped over 13,000 patients in the last three years, including patients who need hearing/audiology services and speech-language pathology services. The audiology team conducts hearing evaluations for children and adults, including fittings, offering a complete line in the latest technology of hearing aids. They also provide hearing aid repairs, custom ear molds, hearing protection devices, musician plugs, swim molds and assistive listening devices.

The speech-language team works with children and adults who have articulation/phonological disorders/apraxia, autism and pervasive developmental disorders, fluency disorders such as stuttering, oral-motor speech disorders, receptive and expressive language disorders, voice disorders and conducts diagnostic assessments. JSHC also is credentialed by the International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards as a Certified Autism Center.

1010 Society

In conjunction with the move, JSHC is announcing the introduction of the 1010 Society. Those who invest $1,010 in general support to the JSHC over the year will become Founding Members of the Jacksonville Speech & Hearing Center 1010 Society. “The 1010 Society and 1010 Club, along with naming opportunities for our new location, will provide critical support for our expanded operations,” said JSHC Board Chair Amy Ruth, a senior executive with Florida Blue. “We’re excited to build upon a legacy of community service that began when the Junior League of Jacksonville gave us our start in 1949

For more information about the 1010 Society, contact Rebecca Dugger or Michael Howland.

pediatric speech therapy jacksonville fl

Pediatric Speech Therapy Jacksonville, FL

Pediatric Speech Therapy Jacksonville, FLPediatric speech therapy is important for the youth of Jacksonville. Children connect with each other through communication. When the ability to speak and hear is affected or does not exist, the isolation and long-term effects can be profound. This is especially true in children, as hearing, speaking and understanding spoken language is an essential component to their growth and development.

When Pediatric Speech and Hearing issues go untreated, disorders in hearing and speech/language develop. This causes problems both at home and at school by impacting the child’s ability to learn. Poor self-esteem and behavior problems can lead to a lifetime of isolation. As adults, untreated communication disorders make it difficult to hold a job and be a contributing member of the community.

Pediatric Speech Therapy Jacksonville, FL

Early childhood success depends on a strong base of language and speech. The Jacksonville Speech & Hearing Center (JSHC) is a non-profit agency and one of very few agencies that provides Pediatric Speech Therapy to underprivileged children and families in our community. For the past sixty years, the JSHC has provided the highest quality professional care to anyone with hearing, speech and/or language disorders.

WATCH with CC: Learn about pediatric speech and hearing disorders from Jacksonville Speech & Hearing Center President & CEO Mike Howland

Certified Autism Center in Jacksonville, FL

Certified Autism CenterJacksonville Speech & Hearing Center is proud to be a Certified Autism Center in Jacksonville, FL specially trained to provide a high level of service to patients with autism and communication challenges.

A Certified Autism Center provides a patient-friendly environment that includes:

  • no sensory overload
  • patients ushered to quiet rooms
  • treatment that is minimally disruptive to the patient
  • communication with family members regarding diagnosis and treatment
  • a focus on “yes” or “no” questions to patient
  • allowing patients to see and touch materials
  • a health care professional manner that is direct and factual

If you are looking for Pediatric Speech Therapy in Jacksonville, FL, please contact us TODAY to schedule an appointment at (904) 355-3403.

fund a child

Fund a Child

Give the Gift of Communication to a Local Child

What would it feel like if you could not tell someone you love them? For many children, saying simple words like “I love you” is not possible.

Identifying a preschooler with a speech and /or language delay and providing him/her with the intensive therapies needed to be ready to start kindergarten able to communicate, on par with other classmates, free from any impediments that is going to make him/her different, is one of the most valuable contributions we can make.

Since 1949, the Jacksonville Speech & Hearing Center has been providing speech therapy for children with communications disorders.

A typical child requires 24-48 therapy sessions to overcome such a communication disorder. That’s six to 12 months of intensive weekly therapy sessions. Some require more.

Will you please make a difference in the life of a child and give them the gift of communication by donating to the Jacksonville Speech & Hearing Center?

Our Fund a Child program makes it simple and easy to give.

  • $2500 provides evaluation and 22 therapy sessions
  • $1000 provides evaluation and 16 therapy sessions
  • $750 provides evaluation and 12 therapy sessions
  • $500 provides evaluation and 8 therapy sessions

Thank you in advance for your support and for making a difference in the life of a local child.




Speech and hearing

Dianesia’s Story with Speech Pathology Treatment

“Mind of a Sponge”

Dianesia's speech therapy storyDiane Morgan clearly does not look her age but she is a grandmother with seven grandchildren. She regularly takes granddaughter  Dianesia, age 7, for speech pathology treatment at Jacksonville Speech and Hearing Center.  Dianesia’s older sister, Tavaria, also came to Jacksonville Speech and Hearing Center when she was younger.

“Dianesia started attending Christ the King school this year and her teacher recommended the speech pathology treatments to help her,” Diane said.  “She has been attending treatments since the start of school and we’ve all noticed an improvement.”

Young Dianesia likes to visit Jacksonville Speech and Hearing Center and thinks of it as fun. She also likes reading, is a quick learner and good with math.

Speech and hearing“It’s important to get the help when they are young,” explains Diane.  “This will help her through school and life. It’s doing it the right way.”

“I hear her sit and play with her dolls and I can hear what she is learning,” Diane added. “It’s a big change.”

“As my daughter says, they have a mind of a sponge when they are young.,” Diane said. “You have to grab them and teach them early in life.”

If you know someone struggling with their speech and is looking for a solution, please tell them about the Jacksonville Speech and Hearing Center.

Ava's Story with Apraxia Speech Therapy

Ava’s Journey with Apraxia Speech Therapy

Ava speech therapy“I did my research on apraxia”

Lindsay Thomas is the mother of two young children. Lately she has been spending lots of time in the car seeking help for her younger child, Ava, who is three-and-a-half.  Ava has been diagnosed with apraxia of speech, a very rare disorder.

“Childhood apraxia of speech is different from some other children’s speech disorders,” explains Lindsay. “It’s not a problem with muscles in the face or mouth but a neurological disorder. Children know what they want to say but have a problem getting the words out.”

When Ava was diagnosed, Lindsay did her research on Jacksonville-area speech pathologists. When she visited the website of Jacksonville Speech and Hearing Center and read all the positive reviews, she knew that she had found help.

Apraxia speech therapy“Ava is shy but immediately loved her teacher, Katy,” said Lindsay. “Katy makes it fun and Ava loves coming here. Katy even knows that Ava loves the Disney Princesses and has used that in the treatment.”

“Ava will work hard for Katy.” Lindsay adds.  “She makes it so fun and is so patient with her.”

The treatment involves starting with consonant sounds and then connecting that to the different vowels. There is a lot of repetition and Ava is likely to be in long-term treatment for up to five years.

“When we started here she was only saying about 20 words,” Lindsay explained. “This treatment has boosted her confidence to where she is starting to put sentences together and adding words to her vocabulary.  It is great progress.”

Ava’s story was also featured on Jacksonville.com.

Ava's journey with apraxia

If you know someone struggling with their speech and is looking for a solution, please tell them to contact the Jacksonville Speech and Hearing Center.

Communication Disorders

Communication Disorders

Speech and hearing disorders in both the young and old can result in a diminished ability to effectively communicate. Not being able to speak or hear clearly can impact a person’s personal relationships, the ability to fulfill their potential in both school and work, and ultimately their sense of self. Jacksonville Speech & Hearing Center shares insights on how communication influences us, why communication skills are important, and solutions for improving communication disorders.

Communication Disorders Influence Us

speech and hearing jacksonvilleEveryone shares a basic desire to communicate. Communication has been defined as “the process of understanding and sharing meaning”. A diminished ability to communicate can influence your interests, what you believe you are good at, your confidence, even your sense of self. Those with difficulty hearing may shy away from learning or activities in which their ability to perform is affected. Those with difficulty speaking clearly may incorrectly think others don’t listen to them because they aren’t very interesting or that they are too often misunderstood. Whether you have difficulty understanding others or others have difficulty understanding you, your ability to communicate is central to your self-concept.

Communication Skills Are Important

We start learning effective communication skills at a very young age. Babies instinctively learn to communicate everything from when they are hungry to when they crave attention. As we grow and our emotions and needs become more complex, our speech and hearing has a greater role in the effectiveness of our communication. Healthy, functional family relationships rely heavily on effective communication skills. In school, hearing & speech is an integral part of the learning process as well as important to forming relationships with peers. Communication skills are especially important in our professional lives, from job interviews to promotions, even what career field we excel in.

Improving Speech and/or Hearing in Northeast Florida

communication disordersThe professionals at Jacksonville Speech & Hearing Center understand how communication disorders greatly impacts quality of life. Many of our staff members have either experienced communication disorders personally or have a close family member who has experienced it. We have designed our patient care experience to be how we would like to be treated. We take great pride on being at the forefront of the speech and hearing health field. Our licensed Clinical Audiologists provide the most technically accurate Hearing/Audiology services such as hearing evaluations and care recommendations for both children and adults. Our licensed Speech and Language Pathologists (SLP) provide quality Speech & Language services such as diagnostic evaluations and treatment of speech and language problems for children and adults.

If you have further questions about speech and hearing disorders in children or adults, our audiologists, speech pathologists, services, events, or volunteer opportunities, please reach out to us online or call (904) 355-3403‎.

Onset adult hearing loss

Adult Speech Disorders and Hearing Loss

An interview with Mike Howland, CEO

Jacksonville Speech & Hearing Center

What can cause onset speech impairment in adults?

There are a variety of reasons why an adult may have onset speech impairment. The onset of speech, swallowing, and/or language disorders in adults may be caused by a stroke, traumatic brain injury, a disease that affects motor skill (ALS, Parkinson’s Disease), cognition (Alzheimer’s Disease), hearing loss, and/or anatomical/structural deviation of the oral cavity (e.g., vocal nodules, polyps, cysts, oral cancer).

How can family members best help a loved one that has a speech impairment?

It can be very difficult to come to accept that there is a disorder. A speech and language pathologist can be a partner who guides the patient and family to identify goals to work on together in order to foster communication and understanding. A few tips we would offer for adult speech disorders and hearing loss include:

Onset adult hearing loss

Onset adult hearing loss can lead to social anxiety and frustration. If you or a loved one is suffering from hearing loss, please call the professionals at Jacksonville Speech & Hearing Center to schedule a hearing test.

• Maintain a natural conversational manner appropriate for an adult.

• Minimize distractions, such as a blaring radio, whenever possible.

• Include the person with a speech or language disorder in conversations.

• Ask for and value the opinion of the person especially regarding family matters.

• Encourage any type of communication, whether it is speech, gesture, pointing, or drawing.

• Avoid correcting the individual’s speech.

• Allow the individual plenty of time to talk.

• Help the individual become involved outside the home. Seek out support groups.

How can hearing loss impact an adult person’s quality of life?

Having a hearing loss can significantly impact a person’s ability to communicate with others, and lead to a reduced quality of life.  The most common ways hearing loss can manifest in a person’s life is through:

  • increased anxiety,
  • social isolation and withdrawal,
  • frustration,
  • anger,
  • depression,
  • self-criticism,
  • panic disorders,
  • social phobias,
  • difficulty concentrating, especially when communicating with others.

How can I tell if my parent has hearing loss?

Hearing loss is rarely sudden or total, unless you are exposed to an exceptionally loud noise. It’s usually gradual – sometimes so gradual that your family and friends may notice the problem before you do. Here are ten questions that will help you determine whether friend or family member is suffering from hearing loss.  If you answered “yes” to three or more of these questions, you may want to schedule a professional hearing evaluation with an audiologist.

1. Do you have a problem hearing over the telephone?

2. Do you have trouble following the conversation when two or more people are talking at the same time?

3. Do people complain that you turn the TV volume up too high?

4. Do you have to strain to understand conversation?

5. Do you have trouble hearing in a noisy background?

6. Do you find yourself asking people to repeat themselves?

7. Do many people you talk to seem to mumble (or not speak clearly)?

8. Do you misunderstand what others are saying and respond inappropriately?

9. Do you have trouble understanding the speech of women and children?

10. Do people get annoyed because you misunderstand what they say?

How can family members help a loved one that has hearing loss?

Set Your Stage

1. Face person directly.

2. Avoid noisy backgrounds.

3. Get attention first.

Get the Point Across

1. Don’t shout.

2. Speak clearly, at moderate pace, not over-emphasizing words.

3. Re-phrase if you are not understood.

4. Use facial expressions, gestures.

In closing, the most important thing a family member can do to help a loved one with onset hearing loss is to get a hearing test.