Let’s Talk Because Communication is Basic to Living

Photography provided by Cincinnati Center for Improved Communication, Inc.

Parents, teachers and physicians want to give children and young adults every advantage possible. That’s why when it comes to diagnostic and therapeutic services for individuals with communication disorders and language-based learning problems, they turn to the Cincinnati Center for Improved Communication (CCIC). 

Through accurate diagnosis and early intervention, the CCIC staff helps children and adults realize their full potential in speaking, articulating and learning.

Because early intervention can maximize improvement, many pediatricians recommend CCIC to their patients. From physicians at Group Health Associates to Northeast Cincinnati Pediatric Associates, physicians know working one-on-one with speech therapists can help children make incredible progress. Currently, CCIC shares patients with 30-35 pediatric offices, whether physician-referred, parent-referred or school-referred.

Dr. Jonathan D. Mumma M.D., a pediatrician at Group Health Anderson, explains “communication, and specifically speech, is the cornerstone of our ability to express ideas, display knowledge and interact with others. Many children are lacking in the ability to communicate, whether in the classroom or in social interaction. CCIC does a great job with general speech therapy. However, I have found them particularly valuable with children who have communications problems:Asperger’s for instance. The therapy helps more than speech production, it also works with thoughtful and personal interaction such as eye contact and social cues. I have been thoroughly impressed. With these kids in particular, they are smart and capable, but the lack of communication skills limits other people’s perceptions.”

No matter what specific communication problems a child may have, “the earlier the intervention, the greater the chance for significant progress,” says CCIC director Sharon Collins, M.S., CCC-S/LP. “All speech sounds should be correct by seven years of age. If a child still exhibits articulation errors past the age of seven, a diagnostic evaluation will identify the errors and therapy to remediate the child’s speech can begin. If a child is not talking by the age of two years, or has very few words, an evaluation is indicated.”  She explains that speech refers to how an individual articulates sounds, but also includes voice quality and fluency – whether an individual does or does not stutter. Language skills develop on a continuum. Receptive language skills (listening, discriminating, processing information, following directions) develop first. “Babies take in information and absorb language like a sponge,” says Collins. “They exhibit cooing and babbling during the first year of life, but it’s not until around the age of one year that children start to use true, single words that can be understood. Expressive skills continue to develop as the child grows; reading skill occurs next on the continuum with written language as the highest level of expressive communication.”

If a child has deficits in earlier stages, he or she may have difficulties with reading or written language.

While this may have significant impact in many areas of life, for school-age children it can make the difference between succeeding in school and floundering.

“School is extremely language based,” says Collins. “It is the basis to everything you do in school, even math, in terms of understanding the concepts, the word problems and what is being asked. History and science courses are heavily language-based.  School-age children with language problems are typically not proficient readers and writers, and frequently experience problems in reading comprehension.”

Because it is so crucial for young and school-aged children to receive the best care possible in addressing any communication disorders or language-based learning problems, many Tri-State schools work directly with CCIC to help students.

CCIC provides services on site at Bethany School, Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy, Liberty Bible Academy, Miami Valley Christian Academy, Montessori Academy of Cincinnati, Otto Armleder School, The Campus at Kids First and The Summit Country Day School.

Even students who didn’t receive earlier intervention can benefit from sessions with CCIC. “I’m working with numerous high school students at present who continue to struggle with the language demands of the curriculum. By applying compensatory strategies to academic assignments, we are still able to help at any stage of the child’s education,” says Collins.

In addition to traditional diagnostic and intervention services, students are able to benefit from intensive, computer-based programs like Fast ForWord©, of which CCIC is a certified provider. The Fast ForWord© family of programs targets all of the skills that underlie reading including increased processing speed, sustained attention, discrimination and phonemic awareness.

All treatment is individualized to the specific patient or student. After an initial evaluation, a CCIC clinician diagnoses the existing speech or language difficulties and suggests a course of treatment. Services are often covered by insurance, and CCIC is also a provider for the state of Ohio’s Autism Scholarship Program and Ohio’s Jon Peterson Special Needs Scholarship Program. 

“If a child has speech and language issues or is on the autism spectrum, is home schooled or attends a private school, and has a current IEP, the parents can apply for an Ohio Department of Education scholarship,” explains Collins.  “We are a primary provider for speech and language services.”

Whether you receive CCIC services at your school or in their Blue Ash or Mariemont locations, CCIC will always make sure both parents and physicians are up-to-date on a patient’s progress.

“If a patient is not directly referred by the physician, we notify the doctor that we are working with the patient,” says Sharon, “and send both parents and physician referral sources quarterly progress reports. We like to keep everyone on the same page so that the most progress can be made for the patient.”

If parents have concerns about their child’s or adolescent’s communication skills or language based learning skills, CCIC offers a free 15-minute consultation with one of our speech-language professionals to discuss the issues and next steps. 

For more information about CCIC, visit www.ccicinc.com or call 513.771.7655.