Our Services

Venture Rehab Group provides speech, language and feeding/swallowing therapy services to children of all ages.  We serve children in their natural environment and provide caregiver instructions to maximize their treatment and to further their development.

Early Intervention (Birth – 3 years)
We are an approved provider with the NC CDSA (Children's Developmental Services Agency)

Preschool (2 – 5 years)
We serve preschool children through Head Start and NC Pre-K contracts as well as in child care centers and homes.

School Age (5 – 21 years)
We serve school age children through contracts with area school districts, after school programs and in the home.

Services Provided Includes:

FREE Speech and Language Screenings
If you are concerned about your child’s communication skills but are not sure if your child will benefit from a speech language evaluation- we offer a FREE speech language screening. A screening is a 10-15 minute “snap shot” of your child’s communication skills. The purpose of a screening is to determine if your child will benefit from a comprehensive speech, language and/or fluency evaluation.

Comprehensive Evaluation of Speech and Language
A comprehensive speech language evaluation includes assessment of articulation as well as receptive language and expressive language skills. During the assessment, various areas will be screened to determine if an additional specialized evaluation is needed. The areas that are screened are fluency, voice, oral motor, feeding and swallowing. Your input is very important in the iagnostic process and you will be asked to complete a Case History Form to provide the therapist with valuable social and medical history. The purpose of the evaluation is to determine if your child has a speech and/or language delay or disorder, and to identify the child’s communication strengths and areas of need.

Comprehensive Evaluation of Fluency/Stuttering
A comprehensive fluency evaluation includes assessment of the number and types of speech dysfluencies your child produces in various situations. The SLP will also assess the ways in which the person reacts to and copes with dysfluencies. The SLP may also gather information about factors such as teasing that may make the problem worse. A variety of other assessments such as the rate of speech will be completed as well, depending upon your child's age and history. Information about the child is then analyzed to determine whether a fluency disorder exists. If so, the extent to which it effects the ability to perform and participate in daily activities is determined.

Comprehensive Evaluation of Feeding
A comprehensive feeding  evaluation includes assessment of oral-motor, behavior and medical  issues such as: poor or weak suck or failure to advance texture (not chewing); gagging; pocketing food; swallowing difficulty or concern for aspiration; aversive feeding behaviors (picky eating, food aversion, food refusal, grazing, tantrumming with meals, avoiding food groups); failure to thrive or difficulty with weight gain and growth; vomiting; gastroesophageal reflux; volume limiting; dyspepsia; constipation; food allergies; G-tube dependence; and reliance on supplements. The SLP will address the oral motor and behavioral issues during the assessment and will consult with your child’s pediatrician concerning any medical issues that may be contributing to your child's feeding difficulty.

Comprehensive Evaluation of  Swallowing
A comprehensive evaluation of swallowing includes an assessment of the oral preparatory  and oral phases of swallow (sucking, chewing, and moving food or liquid into the throat) If the SLP deems it appropriate, the child will be referred to an area hospital for a modified barium study or esophageal study to further assess the pharyngeal and esophageal stage of swallow.

At Venture, our therapists work with children on the following skills:

Language Treatment:

  • In basic terms, language is the way sounds are sequenced to form words, how words are sequenced to form sentences, and the meanings that are applied to those words by the users of any specific language. Language is separated into two types, receptive and expressive.
  • Receptive language is the comprehension, or understanding of, spoken or written language.
  • Expressive language is the ability of an individual to adequately express his or her thoughts, ideas, wants, and feelings through speaking or writing.
  • Language is further divided into three components: content, form, and use.
  • Language content consists of what individuals talk about, and what they understand of what other people say. Language content is also referred to as semantics, or the meaning of words and how they are used. An individual with difficulties in vocabulary comprehension and/or use has a difficulty with language content, or semantics.
  • Some common semantic relations, or language structures and sequences, used by children include:
    • action-location (i.e.: come here)
    • action-object (i.e.: eat pretzels)
    • agent-action (i.e.: sissy open)
    • agent-object (i.e.: mommy home)
    • demonstrative-entity (i.e.: that train)
    • entity-location (i.e.: doggie there)
    • possessor-possession (i.e.: my ball)
  • Language form, or the structure of sounds combined to form words, and the way the words are sequenced to form sentences, consists of three areas:
    • Phonology: the study of the sound system of language, including pauses and stresses.
    • Morphology: the study of the minimal units of grammatical structure that have meaning (i.e.: teach vs. teacher). A morpheme is a word or part of a word that has meaning. There are different types of morphemes.
    • Some morpheme types include:
      • bound morphemes: these types of morphemes cannot stand alone in a sentence. These indicate plurality or singularity in nouns (i.e.: cats), verb tensing (i.e.: walked), degree in adjectives (i.e.: softness), possession (i.e.: girl's), and negation (i.e. unhappy).
      • free morphemes these morphemes can stand alone in sentences and still designate meaning (i.e. cat, walk, soft).
      • grammatical morphemes these morphemes place inflection on nouns, verbs, and adjectives which signals different meanings (i.e. the morpheme -s when added to a noun 'dog' shows plurality, but when added to the noun 'mommy' shows possession).
      • zero morpheme: these morphemes are variations of the plural bound morpheme which indicates the absence of a change from singular to plural form (i.e.: fish, sheep).
    • Syntax: refers to the way words are combined together to form meaningful phrases and sentences (i.e.: I like to fish vs. Fish I like to).
    • Individuals with difficulty constructing grammatically correct and meaningful phrases and sentences have difficulty with comprehending and/or using proper language form.
  • Language use consists of how individuals use language in different contexts. This is also referred to as pragmatics, the study of the social use of language. Pragmatics includes aspects such as eye contact with conversational partners, physical proximity to communicative partners, turn taking and not interrupting, body language, and using polite or proper greetings. Individuals who are unable to abide by socially acceptable pragmatic/conversational rules, have difficulty with language use.
  • In order to correctly understand and use language skills, children need to have certain building blocks of language. These building blocks are referred to as basic concepts and include colors, numbers, location words, and descriptive words. Without proper comprehension of these basic concepts, children will most likely exhibit difficulties with following directions, engaging in classroom routines, and giving descriptions. Basic language concepts are absolutely essential for academic tasks such as reading, writing, speaking, and arithmetic.
  • Treatment approaches and techniques for language disorders vary depending upon what area(s) of language are found to be disordered or delayed. Therapists also should consider the age, gender, and background of the language disordered or delayed client, and what aspects of treatment would prove to be most beneficial, or functional, for the individual clients. For example, a therapy approach for a language delayed adult would possibly focus on functional use of language in a work environment, whereas a therapy approach for a language delayed adolescent would possibly focus on figurative language and academic vocabulary comprehension and use.

Social language is referred to as pragmatics, the study of the social use of language. Pragmatics includes aspects such as eye contact with conversational partners, physical proximity to communicative partners, turn taking and not interrupting, body language, and using polite or proper greetings. Individuals who are unable to abide by socially acceptable pragmatic/conversational rules, have difficulty with language use.

Augmentative/Alternative Communication:

  • Augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) is the use of different communication methods to support, enhance, or supplement the communication of individuals who are not able to independently and verbally communicate their own thoughts, ideas, needs, and desires. Users of AAC vary, and may include individuals with autism, cerebral palsy, or brain injury, and can vary from toddlers to the elderly.
  • There are two different types of AAC systems:
    • Aided systems: these systems use some type of device, or piece of equipment, to enhance communication. These devices can be high-tech, and require a significant amount of programming, but allow the user to say almost anything he or she desires, or they can be low-tech, and as a simple as a piece of paper with words and/or pictures on it.
    • Unaided systems: these systems use some type of gestural, or manual communication methods, such as American Sign Language, fingerspelling, or gestures to enhance communication. AAC systems can range from simple, low-tech methods such as Picture Communication Symbols or single 1-switch methods, all the way up the spectrum to very high-tech devices priced at several thousand dollars.
  • Speech-Language Pathologists should evaluate an individual's need for the use of an AAC system, and can recommend an appropriate system and intervention plan.

Articulation/Phonology Treatment:

  • In simplest terms, articulation is the way we produce speech sounds. We use all of our articulators to produce meaningful speech sounds, including our lips, teeth, tongue, vocal tract, vocal folds, lower jaw, soft palate, cheeks, and uvula. It is in the way, or patterns, that we produce these sounds in order to produce meaningful words.
  • Articulation disorders can be caused by many factors. Some causes may be organic in nature, such as dental problems, hearing deficits, a cleft palate or cleft lip, a motor programming problem in which the directions for oral movement from the brain are not efficiently or correctly carried out by the articulators. Others may be functional in nature, such as general delay in developmental speech sound production.
  • Some common articulation errors include:
    • Sound substitutions: this occurs when one speech sound in a word is replaced, or substituted, by another speech sound (i.e.: "wed" for "red").
    • Sound omissions: this occurs when one speech sound is deleted, or omitted, from a word and not replaced with another speech sound (i.e.: "say" for "stay").
    • Sound distortions: this occurs when a speech sound is produced incorrectly, but still able to be understood by listeners as the intended sound; the sound may sound "slushy" (i.e.: "soap" may sound like "shoap").
    • Sound additions: this occurs when speech sounds are added to words (i.e.: "animamal" for "animal").
  • Treatment of articulation disorders is dependent upon several factors, such as the individual's age, types of errors produced, the severity of the problem, and whether the problem is due to organic or functional causes. Each articulation treatment plan is individualized, and specifically tailored to suit each client's most functional needs.

Childhood apraxia of speech (CAS) is a neurological childhood speech sound disorder in which the precision and consistency of movements underlying speech are impaired in the absence of neuromuscular deficits (e.g. abnormal reflexes, abnormal tone). Treatment approaches that focus directly on improving speech production can be classified as follows.

  • Motor-programming approaches utilize motor-learning principles, including the need for many repetitions of speech movements to help the child acquire skills to accurately, consistently, and automatically make sounds and sequences of sounds.
  • Linguistic approaches focus on CAS as a language learning disorder; these approaches teach children how to make speech sounds and the rules for when speech sounds and sound sequences are used in a language.
  • Combination approaches use both motor-programming and linguistic approaches.
  • Sensory cueing approaches involve the use of the child's senses (e.g., vision, touch), as well as gestures to cue (or self-cue) some aspect of the targeted speech sound. Cueing is often used in conjunction with other approaches, such as motor programming (Hall, 2000b).
  • Rhythmic (prosodic) approaches, such as melodic intonation therapy (Helfrich-Miller, 1984, 1994), use intonation patterns (melody, rhythm, and stress) to improve functional speech production.

The goal of treatment approaches that focus on speech production is to help the child achieve the best intelligibility and comprehensibility possible. However, when there are concerns that oral communication is not adequate, various augmentative and alternative modes of communication may also be used to provide functional communication, while at the same time supporting and enhancing verbal speech production (Cumley & Swanson, 1999; Yorkston, Beukelman, Strand, & Hackel, 2010). In addition to increasing communication success, AAC approaches may stimulate the development of language skills that cannot be practiced orally (Murray, McCabe, & Ballard, 2014).

Emergent Literacy:

  • Emergent literacy is a child's collection of knowledge about sounds, letters, words, and books during the preschool years. Parents can help to increase their child's emergent literacy knowledge by exposing them to literary artifacts and literary events. A child who has been exposed to literacy artifacts and has experienced literary events is better prepared to learn how to read.
    • Literary artifacts: possessions that contain reading materials such as characters from nursery rhymes, pictures of writing, alphabet blocks, books, magazines, etc.
    • Literary events: occurrences when the child participates and observes literature.
  • Joint book reading is a great way to increase your child's emergent literacy! Joint book reading is when a parent reads to their child, and both are focusing on the pictures and words. Parents should make joint book reading a fun and enjoyable time with their child! Some strategies to use during joint book reading include:
    • Labeling pictures, actions, and events
    • Using a rhythmic, singsong cadence to get and maintain their attention
    • Relating the information to your child's life
    • Asking simple questions about the book or story
    • Encouraging the child to ask questions about the book or story
  • During the period of emergent literacy it is important to develop a child's ability to better understand letters and print. Parents can use some of the following strategies:
    • Exposing your child to written materials
    • Pointing to each word as you read to your child (this will develop your child's ability to recognize and associate the 'squiggle lines' -letters- on the page with meaning)
    • Pointing to each letter as you make the corresponding sound to develop your child's knowledge that each letter represents a sound, or multiple sounds
    • Playing rhyming games
  • Emergent literacy is a foundation skill, or a skill that must be well developed in order to provide success in academics later in the child's life. Children that do not develop their emergent literacy skills during this time prior to entering kindergarten will have difficulties with letter and sound recognition, reading comprehension, and the ability to accurately discuss books and stories.
  • Remember! Until the third grade children are learning to read. From third grade through the rest of their academic lives, children read to learn. This is why emergent literacy is extremely important to children's overall academic success! Reading is used in every academic area (math problems, explaining science project directions, book reports, editorials, etc.)
  • Speech-language pathologists can help lay a solid emergent literacy foundation for preschoolers by reading, working with letters, sounds, sound productions, and receptive and expressive language activities. They can also help re-build, or re-solidify school-age children's reading skills by focusing on the same emergent literacy skills, but incorporating academics into the therapy.

The primary goals of feeding and swallowing intervention for children are to:

  • safely support adequate nutrition and hydration,
  • determine the optimum feeding methods/technique to maximize swallowing safety and feeding efficiency,
  • collaborate with family to incorporate dietary preferences,
  • attain age-appropriate eating skills in the most normal setting and manner possible (i.e., eat and chew meals with peers in the preschool),
  • minimize the risk of pulmonary complications,
  • maximize the quality of life,
  • prevent future feeding issues with positive feeding/oral experiences as able given medical situation,
  • help the child eat and drink efficiently and safely to whatever degree is possible.

The overall health of the child is the primary concern in treatment of pediatric dysphagia. Families may have strong beliefs regarding the medicinal value of some foods or liquids. Such beliefs and holistic healing practices may be contraindicative to recommendations made. The intervention processes and techniques must never jeopardize the child's safety, nutrition and pulmonary status.

Medical, surgical, and nutritional considerations are all important components of a treatment plan. For example, if gastroesophageal reflux is a factor, adequate management is fundamental to other aspects of treatment. Underlying disease state(s), chronological and developmental age of the child, social/environmental arena, and psychological/behavioral factors all affect treatment recommendations.

Oral Motor Treatment:

  • Oral-motor skills are the skills to carry out specific movements and functions of the lips, tongue, cheeks, and other various supporting muscles of the oral area.
  • If there is an oral-motor deficiency, as with many individuals with cerebral palsy, there will be noted difficulty, or in some severe cases the complete inability, to carry out basic oral functions such as saliva secretion control, drinking, eating, and speaking.
  • Oral-apraxia is the term used to diagnose an individual who has difficulties controlling oral muscles on demand. In basic terms, this individual is unable to open and close his or her mouth when verbally asked to do so, but has no difficulty opening and closing his or her mouth when voluntarily yawning.
  • Speech-language pathologists are the professionals who are able to evaluate oral-motor skills and identify oral-motor deficiencies, and disorders.
  • Oral-motor treatment is dependant on the needs of the specific individual clients, but typically focuses on increasing the functional use of oral movements through oral musculature massage, and oral-motor exercises such as blowing, sucking, and chewing.
  • Oral motor exercises help the muscles in the mouth and face for speech, eating, and saliva control. Below are some things you can do with any child just for fun, and target better oral motor control at the same time!
    1. Blowing bubbles: This works on exercising the muscles that make our lips round for the /w/ sound, works on breath control and support, and just about all children love bubbles!
    2. Licking peanut butter or marshmallow crème with the tongue after it has been placed on the roof of the mouth or behind the top front teeth. These exercises work on tongue lifting and if you put some on one side of the cheek it helps for the tongue to move side to side.
    3. Put cheerios or applejacks on the table and have your child 'spear' one with his tongue. This may be difficult for him to understand but you can show him! The child has to aim and protrude tongue past the lips. This exercise works on tongue protrusion and can aid with producing the /th/ sounds.
    4. Rub syrup, frosting or peanut butter on the outside of your child's lips so he can lick his lips with his tongue. This works on tongue control and protrusion.
    5. Play a funny face making game with a mirror. Make silly faces in the mirror while you are brushing your child’s teeth at night and try to get him to imitate. This is a natural time to be in front of a mirror, so it's a perfect time to try some oral-motor exercises! These exercises work on overall facial muscle control and movement, and allow your child to see what happens when he moves his lips, cheeks, and tongue in different ways. These can help aid articulation difficulties. Some examples include sticking out your tongue, puckering your lips and opening your mouth. Try to play a funny face making game without the mirror as well.
    6. Get some harmonicas, horns, party horns, and/or flutes, (available at most discount or dollar stores) and allow your child to play them a few times a day. These promote sucking and blowing skills, including lip closure, lip rounding, breath control, and breath support. You can also try blowing through a straw. A fun game to try is to 'race' blowing cotton balls off of the table.
    7. Get rid of sippy-cups! Sippy-cups can promote tongue thrust, which causes the tongue to push forward when swallowing, can cause dental problems, and can promote the development of deviant speech production. Instead, use a cup with a lid and plastic straw. You can find these items at Target, Wal-Mart, etc.
    8. Use vibrating toys around the face and mouth, use a vibrating toothbrush for their mouth (move the toothbrush around their entire mouth if they will let you). These stimulate the muscles, and promote more musculature awareness.
    9. Give your child different textures of foods. Try various foods such as spicy foods, crunchy foods, sour flavors, etc.
    10. Use some 'chewy' toys. These are great for kids that like to chew on things, put things in their mouth and have problems with controlling their drool. You can find some great ones at www.integrationscatalog.com, and www.superduperinc.com.

Fluency Treatment:

  • Fluency is the smoothness with which sounds, words, and phrases are put together verbally. Fluent speech should be void of hesitations, extraneous pauses, or repetitions. Everyone is dysfluent to a slight degree, however dysfluency becomes a problem when a speaker's message is overtaken by the dysfluencies, and listeners focus on the speaker's sound and word production, versus the intended message. Dysfluency is commonly known as stuttering. Stuttering is a disturbance in the normal flow of speech.
  • Some common types of dysfluencies include:
  • Repetitions:
    • sound or syllable repetitions (i.e.: "t-t-t-t-toy", "sa-sa-sa-same", "abou-abou-about")
    • word repetitions (i.e.: "I-I-I want to go", "he wants to-to-to play", "my mom is-is not home")
    • phrase repetitions (i.e.: I want-I want-I want a snack")
  • Prolongations:
    • sound prolongations (i.e.: "Sssssssssssssam is my friend", "Mmmmmmmmy name is Mmmmmmmmelissa")
    • silent prolongations (i.e.: a silent period where the lips are pursed and ready to produce the "b" sound for the name "Betty")
  • Broken words:
    • silent intervals within words (i.e.: "I am playing a g-(silent pause)-ame")
  • Interjections:
    • sound or syllable interjections (i.e.: "I am uh going to the uh grocery store")
    • word interjections (i.e.: "I want to well play")
    • phrase interjections (i.e.: "I can you know-you know take care of it")
  • Pauses:
    • excessively long pauses at inappropriate times (i.e.: "I want a Game Boy for [long pause] Christmas")
  • Revisions:
    • changes to the words but retain the same message (i.e.: "I will take a cab-bus")
  • Incomplete phrases:
    • productions that suggest the speaker changed his or her mind on what to express (i.e.: "I am going to go-but let me tell you this")
  • There may also be secondary characteristics noted with an individual who stutters. These characteristics may include excessive eye blinking, head jerking, fist clenching, and/or facial grimacing.
  • Many children experience a normal period of dysfluency during the ages of 2-5. A child experiencing this may produce word and phrase repetitions.
  • A speech-language pathologist is the professional who is able to diagnose and effectively treat fluency disorders.
  • Treatment of fluency disorders is dependent upon several factors, such as the severity, the age of the individual, the presence or absence of secondary characteristics, and the profession (or desired profession) of the individual. Speech therapy for fluency disorders is not a "cure"; there is no "cure" for fluency disorders. Treatment focuses on teaching the individual strategies for fluency (such as breathing or relaxation techniques).

“Trusted by parents, Chosen by therapists”

Contact Information

Venture Rehab Group
P.O. Box 2417
Winterville, NC 28590
[email protected]

Patient Referral Line:
888-551-2163 (Fax)
Contracting & Employment:

At A Glance...

Our patients are our passion! Venture is committed to providing state of the art, one on one therapy services for children, allowing them to reach their greatest potential. This is achieved through a team approach including the therapist, client and caregiver. We provide unique, innovative, “kid-friendly” interventions coupled with a high standard of professional excellence.

Speech Therapy Services

Receptive Language Therapy
Expressive Language Therapy
Articulation/ Phonology
Pre-Literacy/ Phonological Awareness
Feeding Therapy
Swallowing Therapy
Oral Motor Therapy
Fluency/Stuttering Therapy
Language / Literacy Therapy

OT Services

Fine Motor Delay
Visual Perceptual Delay
Feeding difficulties
Sensory Integrative Dysfunction
Dysgraphia (handwriting difficulty)
Gross Motor (uncoordinated)
Fine Motor Planning Problems
Attentional Difficulties
Autism Spectrum Disorders
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