Speech Therapy

Welcome to the TVUSD speech therapy site. You will find links to information, activities and tools to support your child’s speech therapy needs. Whether your child is working on their speech (articulation) skills, language skills, social pragmatic skills, improving their vocal quality, fluency, or AAC you will find lots of information and links to useful resources for helping your child improve his/her skills.


Contact Us

Please contact your child's therapist if you have any questions, concerns, or suggestions at any time. We're always happy to help!


Amy Ashcraft is an Arizona licensed and ASHA (American Speech Language Hearing Association) certified Speech Language Pathologist (SLP). She graduated from the University of Arizona with a Master’s of Science in Speech and Hearing Sciences in 2004. Amy began her career providing speech and feeding therapy in the pediatric inpatient and outpatient settings at Tucson Medical Center. She has been working in the Tanque Verde Unified School District since 2007, primarily with preschoolers through first graders. Amy is passionate about improving communication skills for the youngest of learners and enjoys being a part of such a vibrant and close knit community in the Tanque Verde valley. Amy works on both the ACES and TVES campuses and can be reached at 749-2235 ext. 2609 (ACES) or 749-4244 ext. 3303 (TVES). You can also email Amy at aashcraft@tanq.org.


Mary Finley is a licensed Speech Language Pathologist with a Master’s of Science in Speech and Hearing Sciences from Northern Arizona University. For over 20 years she has worked with various populations through the Arizona Early Intervention Program, Division of Developmental Disabilities and Arizona public schools.  Mary specializes in the area of augmentative communication. She has been with the Tanque Verde School District for 8 years. She enjoys working with children of all ages and communication needs. Mary works at Tanque Verde Elementary School, Emily Gray Junior High School and Tanque Verde High School. She can be reached at 749-4244 ext.  3303. You can also email Mary at mfinley@tanq.org .



As children are learning to talk, they may say some sounds the wrong way. They learn some sounds earlier, like p, m, or b. Other sounds take longer to learn, like /z/, /r/, /l/, or "th". It is normal for young children to say the wrong sounds sometimes. For example, your child may make a "w" sound for an "r" and say "wabbit" for "rabbit." Your child may leave sounds out of words, such as "nana" for "banana" or "soon" for "spoon". This is okay when your child is young but it may be a problem if these errors continue as he/she gets older. 

Most children can say almost all speech sounds correctly by 5 years of age. Some sounds such as "th" and /r/ are considered to be "developmental sounds" and may not be acquired until the ages of 6-8 years, and this is still in the developmentally appropriate age range. A child who does not say sounds by the expected ages may have a speech sound disorder. You may hear the terms "articulation disorder" and "phonological disorder" to describe speech sound disorders like this. Your child may substitute one sound for another, leave sounds out, add sounds, or change a sound, which can make it difficult for others to understand your child.


Language involves the rules we follow to put words together to communicate. Components of language include semantics, grammar, syntax, and pragmatics. Semantics consists of vocabulary and how concepts are expressed through words. Grammar involves syntax and morphology. Syntax is the rules in which words are arranged into sentences and morphology is the use of grammatical markers (indicating tense, active or passive voice, etc.). Pragmatics involves the rules for appropriate and effective communication. Pragmatics involves using language for greeting and requesting; changing language for talking differently depending on who it is you’re talking to; and following rules such as turn-taking and staying on topic. Having trouble understanding what others say is a receptive language disorder. Having problems sharing thoughts, ideas, and feelings is an expressive language disorder. Having difficulty using social language skills to communicate and interact with others is a pragmatic language disorder. It is possible to have only one area of delay or all areas of language can be delayed. 


7 Tips for Talking With Your Child


1. Reduce the pace.: Speak with your child in an unhurried way, pausing frequently. Wait a few seconds after your child finishes before you begin to speak. Your own easy relaxed speech will be far more effective than any advice such as “slow down” or “try it again slowly.” For some children, it is also helpful to introduce a more relaxed pace of life for a while.   

2. Full listening:  Try to increase those times that you give your child your undivided attention and are really listening. This does not mean dropping everything every time she speaks.

3. Asking questions.: Asking questions is a normal part of life but try to resist asking one after the other. Sometimes it is more helpful to comment on what your child has said and wait. 

4. Turn taking: Help all members of the family take turns talking and listening. Children find it much easier to talk when there are fewer interruptions. 

5. Building confidence: Use descriptive praise to build confidence. An example would be “I like the way you picked up your toys. You’re so helpful,” instead of “That’s great.” Praise strengths unrelated to talking as well, such as athletic skills, being organized, independent, or careful. 

6. Special times: Set aside a few minutes at a regular time each day when you can give your undivided attention to your child. This quiet, calm time, no TV, iPad or phones can be a confidence builder for young children. As little as five minutes a day can make a difference.

7. Normal rules apply: Discipline the child who stutters just as you do your other children and just as you would if he didn’t stutter.

*The stuttering foundation




Good Habits For a Healthy Voice

1. Avoid talking in a funny voice (i.e., Donald Duck, Darth Vader, etc.)
2. Drinks lots of liquids throughout the day.
3. Avoid caffeine. Cold medicines can also irritate the vocal cords.
4. Avoid constant throat clearing and coughing.
5. Rest your voice (cut down on talking).
6. Avoid yelling and screaming.
7. Avoid whispering.
8. Get plenty of sleep.