Pediatric Speech and Language Therapy
Who we are: Pediatric speech-language pathologists evaluate and treat children with a variety of diagnoses which impair the child from understanding and communicating effectively and functionally with others around them. Speech-language pathologists use therapeutic and play based activities in order to improve understanding and use of language, sound production, fluency of speech, healthy voice, social language skills and more. Our speech-language therapists obtain a state license and are certified members of the American Speech and Hearing Association (ASHA) with backgrounds in early intervention, outpatient and school-based settings, and special interests in American Sign Language, language disorders, voice disorders and beyond.
Who we treat: As pediatric speech-language pathologists, we can treat any child who is having difficulty understanding or expressing themselves so that they may functionally communicate with others in their environment and daily activities.
This includes but it not limited to children with a primary or secondary diagnosis of:
- Expressive/Receptive Language Delay
- Pragmatic (Social) Language Deficits
- Language and Auditory Processing Disorders
- Fluency Disorders
- Sound Production Deficits
- Apraxia of Speech and Oral Motor Deficits
- Voice Disorders
- Down syndrome
- Cerebral Palsy
- Rett Syndrome
- Barth Syndrome
- Learning Disabilities
- Deaf and Hard of Hearing
- Traumatic Brain Injury
- Autism Spectrum Disorders
- Cleft Lip and Palate
How we evaluate and treat: In conducting an evaluation, a speech-language pathologist will look at a child’s speech and language skills within the context of total development. Besides observing your child, the speech therapist will conduct standardized tests and scales, and look for milestones in speech and language development.
The speech-language pathologist will also assess:
- What your child understands (receptive language)
- What your child can say (expressive language)
- If your child is attempting to communicate in other ways, such as pointing, head shaking, gesturing, etc.
- Sound development and clarity of speech
- Your child’s oral-motor status (how a child’s mouth, tongue, palate, etc., work together for speech as well as eating and swallowing)
- Whether the child may need to utilize augmentative and alternative communication methods (i.e. forms of communication not including oral speech). Examples would include picture and symbol communication boards, electronic devices, etc. These methods are often used to supplement existing speech or to provide the child with a functional way to communicate their wants, needs, thoughts, and ideas to others.
- If the speech-language pathologist finds that your child needs speech therapy, your involvement will be very important. You can observe therapy sessions and learn to participate in the process. The speech therapist will show you how you can work with your child at home to improve speech and language skills.
A child’s goals are what drive his or her therapy sessions. These goals or objectives are determined by both the evaluating and treating therapists, along with the invaluable input provided by the family, teachers, and even the child. The outcome for every child is to be able to clearly and effectively communicate with others within his or her environment. Your child’s goals will be specifically tailored to this end. The therapist will work to encourage and expand your child’s strengths while providing direct intervention to areas of weakness. Both you and your child will be provided with instruction and strategies during therapy sessions to aid in goal achievement. Your child’s therapist will also use the session as a means to engage your child directly in play and/or drill based activities to rehearse the strategies and skills taught. Extension activities specific to your child’s needs will also be provided by your therapist to increase the carry-over of skills learned within the therapy setting to the home environment. It is recommended that you observe your child’s therapy sessions when possible to aid you in working with them at home more effectively.
KidsHealth.org/Jacquelyn Kellogg M.S., CCC-SLP/Ranae Ruffalo M.S. CCC-SLP