San Diego: (619) 692-0622
Santee: (619) 749-7059

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Pediatric Speech, Occupational & Physical Therapy Centers
in San Diego
Kara Dodds & Associates

San Diego: (619) 692-0622

Santee: (619) 749-7059

We are here to help during COVID-19


Speech & Language Delays - Communications Delay

Communication deficits can be common in young children and for many unknown reasons.  Children with delays often present with Receptive (e.g. referring to how your child “understands” what is said) or Expressive (e.g. referring to what your child is able to say or express themselves). To be good communicators children need both receptive and expressive language skills.

Often children with communication deficits meet other developmental milestones on time and parents and others may assume that they will catch up on their own. However; most do not. It can be difficult to predict which children will not catch up to their peers without intervention, but if your child have some of the hallmarks below they may warrant speech therapy.

Hallmarks Communication Delays Include:

  • “quiet” as an infant (e.g. little babbling and not using single words by 15 mos)
  • not talking or having less than 50 words or 2-word phrases (e.g. “more cookie) by 2 years of age
  • difficulty answering social questions (e.g. name / age)
  • not following 2-step directions (e.g. get your coat and shoes) by 2 years of age
  • having difficulty answering “what”, “where”, “when”, “why” questions
  • is not understood 90% of the time when speaking by 4 years of age
  • becomes frustrated when people can’t understand him/her
  • does not link pretend ideas and actions together while playing
  • difficulty imitating words (e.g. copying what was said)
  • uses mostly nouns (names of people, places, things), and few verbs (action words)
  • a family history of communication delay, learning, or academic difficulties
  • uses few gestures to communicate
  • demonstrates stutter-like repetitions of words or sounds (e.g. “I,I,I I wa – want a cookie)
  • a history of ear infections

Hallmarks Social Skill Deficits Include:

Children with social difficulties (e.g. pragmatic language) can have increased difficulty as they may not follow turn-taking rules, often interrupting or talking over the top of you. In contrast, they may not acknowledge you at all and ignore your question or greeting making them appear poor-mannered or inconsiderate when that is not the case.  Children with social difficulties may not pick up on the social cues knowing when and how to use social exchanges properly. 

Difficulties may include a number of skills or be limited to a particular area such as non-verbal skills (eye gaze, facial expressions, body posture, personal space, and gestures), appropriately requesting, expressing or giving information about attitudes or emotions in order to maintain conversational skills.  Talking and staying on topic or monitoring the social cues of others while speaking hard to do for children with social difficulties.

At Kara Dodds and Associates, our Speech-Language Pathologists target communication deficits and target specific programs to improve a child’s receptive, expressive, and pragmatic language by using structured tasks teaching these skills, offering opportunities of practicing (e.g. role playing, modeling) these skills and then generalizing them into all environments.

Call today to schedule a free screening at 619-692-0622

Therapy Methods

At Kara Dodds and Associates, we realize that children benefit from a variety of therapy methods and approaches. As such, our team of multi-disciplinary pediatric therapists obtain advanced courses and trainings and specialize in neurological and developmental delays. Therapy is delivered in a one-to-one setting but also in small groups in a systemic, structured, but play-based teaching approach. Our specialized therapy methods include -

  • Picture Exchange Communication Systems (PECS) is using a series of visuals to teach a child to initiate by giving a picture to a communicative partner.
  • Prompts for Restructuring Oral Muscular Phonetic Targets (PROMPT) is a tactile-kinesthetic approach that uses touch cues to clients articulators to help guide them through a targeted word or phrase.
  • Kaufman Speech & Language Protocol: is a way to teach children with apraxia of speech the easiest ways to say words until they have increased motor –speech coordination.
  • Hanen Center: (More Than Words) teaches techniques on how to use visual systems for transitioning, requesting, understanding the schedule or “what’s” next, how to shape echolalia speech patterns and more in everyday activities.
  • TalkTools: is a muscle-based oral motor programs designed to promote speech and improve oral motor (lip, jaw) by utilizing oral placement tooks (chewy tubes, z-vibes, horns, whistles) to improve verbal output, feeding, and speech production skills
  • DIR/ Floortime: is a developmental, individuated relationship based ( programs that are used to improve social connects between children and communicative partners.
  • Social Thinking: Developed by Michelle Garcia Winners her programs target social skills programs with techniques used based on "ILAUGH" model (
  • The SCERTS® Model -Social Communication, Emotional Regulation and Transactional Support (
  • Social Stories: developed by Carol Gray, these method uses visuals and individual stories to teach social skills or appropriate expectations of behaviors through visual models, and Video Play Modeling.

Funding / Insurance Options

We accept a variety of plans to cover your child’s therapy needs. We bill and work with insurances directly taking the hassle out of it for families. We accept:

  • Tricare (Health Net Federal Services)
  • Kaiser
  • Easter Seals of Southern California
  • San Diego Regional Center (in home or center based)
  • PPO plans including: Anthem Blue Cross, UHC, Blue Shield, Coventry, and more.

We will take the lead on determining coverage and finding the best options available with your plan. Call today at 619-692-0622 for more information.

Ready for a fun therapy environment, that truly cares about your child and your family?

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Mission Valley Center

Kara Dodds & Associates - San Diego
7840 Mission Center Court, Ste. 200
San Diego CA 92108

(619) 692-0622

Monday through Friday: 7:45am6:30pm
Saturday: By Appointment Only

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Santee Location

Kara Dodds & Associates - Santee
8840 N. Magnolia Ave Ste 220
Santee CA 92071

(619) 749-7059

Monday through Friday: 7:45am6:30pm
Saturday: By Appointment Only

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