Speech-Language Pathologists (SLPs), commonly referred to as Speech Therapists, are educated in the study of communication, its development, and its disorders.
During your child's evaluation, our SLPs will carefully assess their speech, language, cognitive-communication, and oral/ feeding/swallowing skills to identify any communication issues.
After this assessment, our SLPs will develop a treatment plan for your child that directly addresses these difficulties.
Types of Speech & Language Difficulties
Speech refers to the actual production of sounds, whereas language refers to understanding or putting words together to communicate ideas.
Speech / Oral Motor / Fluency difficulties include:
Language difficulties can be Receptive or Expressive:
Articulation difficulties: difficulties producing sounds in syllables or saying words incorrectly to the point that listeners can’t understand what’s being said.
Fluency difficulties: problems such as stuttering, in which the flow of speech is interrupted by abnormal stoppages, repetitions (st-st-stuttering), or prolonging sounds and syllables (ssssstuttering).
Resonance/voice difficulties: problems with the pitch, volume, or quality of the voice that distract listeners from what’s being said. These types of disorders may also cause pain or discomfort for a child when speaking.
Dysphagia/oral feeding difficulties: these include difficulties with drooling, eating, and swallowing.
Receptive difficulties: difficulties understanding or processing language.
Expressive difficulties: difficulty putting words together, limited vocabulary, or inability to use language in a socially appropriate way.
What diagnoses can most benefit?
Individuals might need speech-language therapy for a variety of reasons, including:
Cognitive (intellectual, thinking) or other developmental delays
Weak oral muscles
Birth defects such as cleft lip or cleft palate
Motor planning problems
Respiratory problems (breathing disorders)
Feeding and swallowing disorders
Traumatic brain injury
Why Speech Therapy?
In speech-language therapy, our SLPs will work with your child to overcome difficulties involved with specific speech abnormalities.
Therapists use a variety of strategies, including:
Language intervention activities: The SLP will interact with a child by playing and talking, using pictures, books, objects, or ongoing events to stimulate language development. The therapist may also model correct pronunciation and use repetition exercises to build speech and language skills.
Articulation therapy: Articulation, or sound production, exercises involve having the therapist model correct sounds and syllables for a child, often during play activities. The level of play is age-appropriate and related to the child’s specific needs. The SLP will physically show the child how to make certain sounds, such as the “r” sound, and may demonstrate how to move the tongue to produce specific sounds.
Oral-motor/feeding and swallowing therapy: The SLP will use a variety of oral exercises — including facial massage and various tongue, lip, and jaw exercises — to strengthen the muscles of the mouth. The SLP also may work with different food textures and temperatures to increase a child’s oral awareness during eating and swallowing.
Therapy should begin as soon as possible. Children enrolled in therapy early (before they’re 5 years old) tend to have better outcomes than those who begin therapy later.