Frequently Asked Questions


My child doesn’t seem to be talking as much as other children. How do I know if my child might need speech therapy?

Some children talk sooner than others. It varies greatly. The American Speech-Hearing Association has created some charts with speech and language developmental milestones and the ages at which children typically reach those milestones. It’s helpful to look at these charts when considering speech therapy.

If you are seeing a large discrepancy between the developmental milestones and your child’s speech and language development, it’s a good idea to schedule a speech and language evaluation with a speech-language pathologist.



I’ve heard that speech therapy with toddlers is “just playing”. Is it worthwhile?

Although speech therapy is much more than “just play,” play is a huge part of therapy with toddlers and young children, and we can’t stress the importance of this enough! Children learn many valuable cognitive, communication, and adaptive skills through play.

During play, children learn cause and effect, problem-solving, conflict resolution, cooperation, social communication, and so much more. Incorporating play into speech therapy sessions allows children to expand upon their life and learning skills, and has the added benefit of making therapy fun!


What role does sign language play in speech therapy for children?

Sign language can be an effective mode of communication for children, whether it is a permanent method or a compensatory strategy as children work toward mastering verbal communication methods.

Signs often provide early communicators with an effective form of communication, thereby reducing frustration, tantrums, and maladaptive behaviors that may occur as a result of limited speech and language.

Using sign language may promote foundational communication skills such as joint attention and eye contact. Furthermore, as you and your therapist introduce and use signs with your child, you will also pair verbal words with the signs, offering your child increased exposure to new vocabulary.


What’s the difference between English language learning and accent modification therapy?

English language learning entails learning the vocabulary, grammar, and sentence structure of the English language. Individuals from many nations are exposed to English language learning as part of their primary educational curriculum or study English as a second language in secondary school or in college.

In contrast, accent modification focuses specifically on the pronunciation of the sounds of English, or in other words, acquisition of the standard American accent, which generally follows proficiency in English as a second language. Accent modification therapy targets specific patterns of speech sound pronunciation, word stress, and the intonation or melody of speech, all toward the goal of making speech clear and easily understood.


Is accent modification only for people who speak a different primary language?

No, not necessarily. There are a number of regional accents used within the United States, and individuals may seek accent modification even if English is their primary language.

People who grow up in the United States speaking with a regional accent (i.e. Southern, Northeastern) may desire to “drop their accent” if they consider it distracting in certain situations. Individuals may acquire the more standard American accent so they can “code switch” or use the standard accent, if they so choose, in certain situations (generally professional or academic).


Can I only participate in transgender voice therapy if I intend to complete surgical transformation?

No. There are many reasons to seek transgender voice therapy. We provide voice therapy for any client regardless of whether or not they intend to live as a particular gender all of the time. Some clients wish to be able to use both a feminine and masculine voice interchangeably depending on the setting or situation.

There are no prerequisite intentions to undergo physiological/hormonal changes in order to benefit from transgender voice therapy. We provide therapy so that individuals can comfortably express themselves in each context of their lives.

At Monterey Bay Speech Therapy, we acknowledge that voice, like gender is not dichotomous. We do not have pre-set ideas of what you “should” want to sound like. We work with clients to determine their goals and tailor treatment to each client.


When I start taking hormones, won’t my voice deepen/increase in pitch without therapy?

When a person transitions from a female to a male and begins taking male hormones, their voice generally deepens adequately to pass as a man. There is very little research in this area because so few people feel the need for voice therapy. Occasionally, a female-to-male client decides to participate in voice therapy to modify their voice. Voice therapy can assist with vocal pitch selection and use, masculine inflection, and social behavior training.

When a person transitions from a male to a female, their voice generally does not change with hormone therapy. Male-to-female clients benefit from behavioral voice training to teach a new way of speaking as well as social pragmatic skills. There is significant research done on this topic due to the demand for voice therapy for male-to-female clients.


I had a brain injury/concussion or stroke several years ago, but I want therapy now. Can speech therapy help me now?

Yes, in most cases. The human brain is remarkable for its plasticity, and though the rate of spontaneous recovery generally slows in the months and years following stroke, studies have shown improvements in speech/language abilities in years following stroke or injury with treatment, especially for clients with chronic aphasia (Lanyon, Rose, & Worrall. 2013. The efficacy of outpatient and community-based aphasia group interventions: A systematic review. International Journal of Speech-Language Pathology. 15, 4.)

There are always options for developing a multimodal system of communication, even if verbal language remains limited. Speech-language pathologists are specialists in designing communication systems tailored to the needs of each individual, which may involve use of an icon or alphabet board, speech generating device, symbolic/gestural communication system, or most often a combination of the above.

Communication partner/caregiver training is also a critical component to maximizing communication effectiveness in the later phases of stroke recovery, and your speech language pathologist will give specific demonstration and training to a client’s partner and caregiver as well.


I see that you don’t bill insurance. Can I submit my receipts to my private insurance?

MBST may become a provider for many of the major insurance companies, but we are not accepting insurance reimbursement at this time. You are free to submit your receipts for therapy to your insurance company. We would be happy to write letters for you upon your request to support your insurance claim. You should call your insurance company to discuss the possibility of being reimbursed.

Please contact us with any and all questions or concerns! We would love to hear from you!