Business brings speech solutions

to students in variety of languages

Justine King and her team may have to determine if a student truly has a language delay or if there’s a language barrier.

“We evaluate children to determine if they present with language disorders or language differences as they are learning English as a second language. We test the student in his or her native language and in English to assess the level of proficiency in each language,” she said. “Spanish does not have the ‘th’ sound so kids learning English as a second language will produce it as ‘t’ or ‘d.’ A goal targeting ‘th’ is not appropriate. It’s not an error, it’s a difference in the phonology.”

Through her business, Bilingual Speech Solutions, King and her speech-language pathologists contract with region school districts to work with children. Beyond speech sounds, they target language, voice, fluency, swallowing and pragmatics.

“Most of our case load is students with deficits in speech, expressive language and receptive language,” she said. “Expressive language is how kids communicate their wants and needs and deficits in expressive language can be seen in grammar, sentence structure and vocabulary, among other things. When kids can’t express themselves and effectively communicate their message, they get frustrated.

“Receptive language is understanding auditory information such as vocabulary or following directions. Language deficits impact communication in the home and in the academic environment. A student may understand a concept, but lack the ability to verbally communicate that understanding to the teacher.”

King launched her business in 2013 at the beginning of the school year with herself as the only employee. She now has seven full-time employees and 10 therapists whom she utilizes on an as-needed basis.

“My employees are just as passionate as I am and provide unparalleled services,” she said. “I enjoy doing something I believe in and providing a needed service that makes a real impact for children and their families. Working with kids is so fun and rewarding.”  

Starting with just one language, she now has 20 languages represented with Spanish, Polish and Arabic being the Top 3.

“Many of the bilingual speech-language pathologists on my team have also learned English as a second language and can relate to children as well as serve as a resource for family members,” she said.

King followed her path after taking a Disabilities Studies course at Augustana College in Rock Island, Ill.

“I realized that I could combine my love for language and helping others. I love that speech-language pathologists can provide services for people across the lifespan in a variety of settings,” she said. “I wanted to start a business providing bilingual services after seeing a need in the Chicago area.”

Along her entrepreneurial path, she faced some obstacles starting out, but these experiences helped push her toward success.

“Being a woman in my mid-20s, I was not always taken seriously,” she said. “Don’t compromise when you shouldn’t. Stand your ground – that was hard for me to do. But you will earn their respect.”

Bilingual Speech Solutions, LLC

9404 Dewey Place, Crown Point

(815) 922-7076