Pediatric Speech and Language Therapy

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Pediatric Speech Language Therapy: Who’s it for?

Children may require speech-language therapy with or without the presence of a medical condition. Kids with the following medical conditions are considered to be ‘at risk’ for communication or feeding disorders and should be monitored for speech-language delays.

  • auditory processing disorders
  • hearing loss
  • traumatic brain injuries (brain or spinal cord)
  • learning problems
  • autism/pervasive developmental disorders
  • developmental delays
  • cerebral palsy and other chronic illnesses
  • Down syndrome and other genetic conditions

What is Speech and Language Therapy?

Pediatric speech-language therapy helps children improve their verbal and/or nonverbal communication skills. Speech-language pathologists (SLPs) work with children who exhibit speech or language disorders, such as developmental receptive/expressive language delays, social communication disorders, articulation disorders, stuttering disorders, and feeding disorders.

Speech therapy and occupational therapy overlap in many areas, due to how directly connected the different parts of the human body are with one another. Typically, physical therapy treats the lower body, occupational therapy treats the upper body and speech therapy focuses on treating the jaw, lips, throat and tongue. The interrelatedness of speech and language skills and occupational therapy is a perfect example, as many areas of difficulty addressed by SLPs relate directly to an occupational therapist’s (OT) approach to helping a child take in information from the environment, organize that information and then respond and adapt to their surroundings. The SLP and OT will often work closely together to focus on maximizing functional progress during therapy, in order to help our patients advance to their next therapeutic level.

Why choose Speech-Language Therapy?

Communication is essential to a child’s ability to learn about and interact with others in the world around him/her. Our pediatric SLPs evaluate a child’s current communication skills and compare them with what is developmentally appropriate for the child’s age group. SLPs then work with the family and doctor to develop a treatment plan targeting goals to improve the child’s ability to communicate in a more functional manner.

What can be accomplished through Speech-Language Therapy?

Speech-language pathologists work with children in the following areas:

  • increasing understanding of the verbal language used by caregivers and peers
  • improving ability to express wants, needs, and thoughts in multiple modalities (words, sign language, communication device, etc.)
  • teaching children with social delays how to interact more appropriately with peers in social settings
  • improving speech sound production skills so that a child can be better understood by communicative partners
  • evaluating the need for specialized equipment, such as speech-generating devices or adapted feeding materials