SPEECH LANGUAGE PATHOLOGY
Infants and children requiring speech language pathology services are in need of treatment to address receptive and expressive language delays, speech disorders, or feeding/swallowing difficulties. Evaluations of skills in these areas are performed to determine current skill levels and appropriate goals for intervention.
Specific problems and diagnoses requiring services from the pediatric speech language pathologist (SLP) include:
Delays in language development (as compared to other children of the same age) may be characterized by the child who unable to express wants/needs, follow simple directions, or produce intelligible speech.
Disorders of speech may include dysfluency/stuttering, apraxia, voice, aphasia, etc.
Feeding/swallowing problems may include choking during or after meals, reflux, and/or sensitivity/avoidance of certain textures/foods.
Articulation disorders will restrict the child’s ability to produce certain sounds and impair speech intelligibility.
Neurological disorders after an illness, traumatic brain injury, or surgery may be characterized by presence of swallowing problems, receptive/expressive language deficits, cognitive disorders, voice disorders, dysarthria, aphasia, apraxia, etc.
Birth defects or prenatal conditions may affect the child’s oral motor skills, speech, and/or swallow function.
The pediatric speech language pathologist provides therapy in the child’s natural environment…in the home, school, or daycare…and is part of a multidisciplinary team. It is the SLP’s goal to help the child improve his/her ability to communicate effectively in daily life and to safely swallow without aspiration the least restrictive diet possible. An on-going assessment is continued throughout treatment to determine progress toward goals and need to update goals. The child is discharged from therapy when targeted skills reach an age appropriate level or when maximum improvement is made.