LKN Speech Language Pathology



Virtually everyone knows someone who has had a speech or language disorder. In the United States alone, 5% of children have noticeable speech disorders and 8 to 9% have difficult with speech sounds. Up to 8 million Americans suffer from some form of language impairment, approximately 7.5 million have a voice disorder, and more than 3 million stutter. Fortunately, speech-language disorders usually can be corrected by working with a speech-language pathologist, and it all begins with an evaluation.

LKN Speech-Language Pathology in Davidson specializes in comprehensive services for infants, children, adolescents and adults.

Augmentative Communication

communication without the aid of speech.

As humans, we all use forms of augmentative communication such as facial expressions, gestures, the written word and illustrations. But for people without inadequate ability to express themselves through speech, augmentative or alternative communication skills are vital.

We work with both children and adults to help them bypass severe speech and/or language disorders through augmentative techniques such as use of symbols, body language, sign language and technologies that aid communication. These can range from paper and books to laptops and speech generating devices. Some devices can even be programmed for easy access to symbols and phrases or to recreate different spoken languages.


the process in which speech and sounds form.

Articulation occurs when the motor center of the brain directs the lips, tongue, teeth and palate to move and create sounds. Unless you’re trying to pronounce a tongue twister or unusual word, these movements occur automatically. They also allow us to express ourselves and create first impressions – an important concern when you’re preparing for a college interview, a job or a first date.

While articulation disorders can occur later in life due to trauma, disease or injury, most disorders arise during childhood development. Normal speech patterns and sounds develop through infancy and should be correctly established by the time a child reaches eight years of age. By working with each child and client individually, we can address specific articulation problems due to incorrect phonological processing, dysarthria, apraxia, or a simple sound error that was established in memory and never corrected.

We are providers of Speech Buddy Tools, specifically designed tools to improve articulation. They may be recommended by your speech therapist to correct sound errors and require the specialized instruction and therapy to be used correctly.
We are providers of the Bite-R tool, an aid specifically designed to correct the articulation error of the /r/ sound.
** Speech Buddy and Bite-R tools are intended for use by a licensed speech-language pathologist only.

Auditory Processing

how the brain understands what it hears.

Auditory Processing is not defined by hearing acuity, but rather how we understand what we hear and how well we can listen attentively despite background noise and distractions. Many term this a listening disorder, joking “He hears what he wants to hear.” But in reality, auditory processing disorders can cause reading and spelling problems, in addition to difficulty following multi-step directions and remembering details from a story.

Of all the processing disorders, this one is most often missed or misdiagnosed. Many times children are misdiagnosed with ADD or ADHD when they actually suffer from an auditory processing disorder. That’s why patience and experience matter when evaluating auditory issues.

While children can be identified and treated early for auditory problems, a full auditory processing evaluation rarely occurs before age seven. This involves an audiologist to diagnose the disorder and a speech-language pathologist to provide treatment. By knowing the type of auditory processing disorder faced, we can identify the right therapy for you.

To download the handout from a May 8, 2014 talk given by Marianne Umphlett on Auditory Processing, click here.

We are qualified service providers for CAPDOTS – an online therapy system for auditory processing disorders. This may be recommended by your therapist as part of your intervention and treatment plan.
We are an affiliate of Forbrain which can be recommended by our therapists for persons with disorders of central auditory processing, articulation disorders, reading disorders (decoding and comprehension) and voice disorders.

Dyslexia Evaluations

Characteristics of Dyslexia to Look For When Testing at Different Ages


the fluidity of speech without disruption or repetition.

When someone repeats sounds, syllables, words and phrases in 10% or more of conversational speech, we consider this a fluency disorder (commonly called stuttering). Sometimes secondary behaviors accompany stuttering such as eye-blinking, grimacing, facial tension, or other non-speech-related movements. People who use excessive interjections such as “uh”, “um”, “er” and “well” (stammering) also interrupt the smooth flow of speech.

Young children who are learning language might exhibit a stuttering pattern in which whole words are repeated. This short-term behavior usually fades as quickly as it began; the child is simply thinking faster than his or her articulators can react. However, if the problem continues, you may want to schedule a professional evaluation. With early intervention and hard work, stuttering and stammering problems can be overcome.


words used to communicate, think, feel and learn.

Did you know?

Children with speech and language impairments are 4 to 5 times more likely than peers to experience learning disabilities including significant reading problems.

For a speech-language pathologist, the greatest gift we can give someone is the gift of language. Language forms the basis of how we learn and communicate including reading, writing, speaking, facial expressions and gestures. This includes:

  1. Formation. Phonology (how sounds blend), morphology (adapting words such as past tense ed, progressing such as ing, and stems), and syntax (arranging words correctly, i.e., grammar).
  2. Content. Vocabulary and how we use words to express ourselves, as well as how we understand others.
  3. Function. Social skills or pragmatics of communication such as laughing at a joke, reading between the lines or joining a conversation.

As many as 8 million people in the U.S. suffer from language impairment, including problems related to injuries or neurological disorders like stroke. If a language delay or a language disorder interferes with learning and communication development, we use norm-referenced and standardized assessment tools to evaluate the disorder. For children, we assess expressive and receptive vocabulary, the ability to follow and process directions with increasing complexity, and the ability to form sentences from simple to complex.


a brief check to determine whether further evaluation is needed.

Screenings can ease the mind of a parent or teacher concerned about a child’s developing speech and/or language. This brief assessment can usually determine whether a more extensive evaluation is warranted. LKN Speech-Language Pathology offers free speech, language and hearing screenings by appointment at our clinic, covering:

  • Articulation development
  • Receptive and expressive language skills
  • Auditory processing
  • Hearing acuity

Early intervention is critical for normal development of speech, language, hearing and ultimately, communication and learning. Thus, screenings are highly recommended for children toddler age through 5th grade. Screenings usually take 15 minutes, using standardized assessment tools.

In addition to screenings at our clinic, we coordinate off-site screenings at schools, preschools and daycares for a minimal fee. If you would like to arrange a screening for your child, please contact us to schedule your appointment. If you are interested in screenings for your school, please contact us for more detail.


sounds we produce to express ourselves audibly.

Clinically, we describe the voice by pitch, breathiness, hoarseness, irregular phonations, tension and loudness. When any of these components seem out of balance, a voice disorder could be the suspect. Voice disorders must be assessed by a physician and ideally an otolaryngologist to determine the underlying cause of the disorder. Often, the voice signals other health issues and can affect swallowing and breathing as well as speech.

Our goals include helping patients understand proper vocal elements, including pitch, resonance, phonation and prosody (intonation and phrasing), plus suggest ways to protect the voice so it can heal if necessary. We can also provide laryngeal strengthening exercises and training on how to use your voice more effectively through optimal pitch and loudness.