Pediatric Speech Therapy
What is Pediatric Speech Therapy?
Pediatric Speech Therapy is the treatment of communication and feeding/swallowing disorders in children. Speech – Language Pathologists (SLP) and Speech-Language Pathologist Assistants (SLP-A) treat patients who exhibit difficulties with comprehending or expressing spoken and/or written language as well as weaknesses with articulation, voice and fluency disorders. SLP’s can also assist in the development of rehabilitation of the oral and pharyngeal stages of swallowing.
Components of language include phonology, the manipulation of sound according to the rules of the language; morphology, the understanding and use of the minimal units of meaning; syntax, the grammar or principles and rules for constructing sentences in language; semantics, the interpretation of meaning from the signs or symbols of communication; and pragmatics, the social aspects of communication.
Components of speech production include: phonation, the process of sound production; resonance, opening and closing of the vocal folds; intonation, the variation of pitch; and voice, including aeromechanical components of respiration.
Speech Therapy Treatments
You may feel as though providing your child with an AAC device is the equivalent of giving up on speech therapy, but in actuality, studies have shown that children who use AAC devices are encouraged to increase their nonverbal and verbal communication. These children are also less likely to be socially isolated or to become frustrated because they cannot express themselves. AAC devices are intended to complement speech therapy, not replace it. Consider AAC devices to be another tool in your arsenal of speech therapy treatments, much like using Speech Buddies to encourage correct pronunciation.
Aquatic therapy is water-based physical, occupational and speech therapy treatment. It includes exercise or therapeutic activity/movement that benefits our patients who exhibit difficulty with weight bearing activities or have an inability to move their bodies against the weight of gravity. The water allows buoyancy, helps reduce joint pain and provides resistance during therapy based activity.
Each discipline uses this environment to help meet the outcomes specific to the goals set for the patient. We utilize many aquatic therapy techniques and principles including NDT-based aquatic techniques and the Bad Ragaz Ring Method.
During an evaluation, an SLP will note the number and types of speech disfluencies a person produces in various situations. The SLP will also assess the ways in which the person reacts to and copes with disfluencies. The SLP may also gather information about factors such as teasing that may make the problem worse. A variety of other assessments (e.g., speech rate, language skills) may be completed as well, depending upon the person’s age and history. For younger children (ages 1-5), it is important to predict whether the stuttering is likely to continue. Factors that are noted by many specialists include a family history of stuttering, stuttering that has continued for 6 months or longer, presence of other speech or language disorders, and/or strong fears or concerns about stuttering on the part of the child or family. It is typical for children between the ages of 1 and 5 to have some speech disfluencies or stuttering. Pediatric clients who are determined to be appropriate for therapy based on the assessment criteria listed above are taught to use fluency enhancing techniques to reduce or eliminate the occurrences of stuttering during spontaneous speech.
For older children and adults, the question of whether stuttering is likely to continue is somewhat less important, because the stuttering has continued at least long enough for it to become a problem in the person’s daily life. For these individuals, an evaluation consists of tests, observations and interviews that are designed to assess the overall severity of the disorder. In addition, the impact the disorder has on the person’s ability to communicate and participate appropriately in daily activities is evaluated. Information from the evaluation is then used to develop a specific treatment program, one that is designed to help the individual speak more fluently, communicate more effectively and participate in more fully in life activities.
Reach Therapy is an NDTA Center of Excellence(NDTCOE). As an NDTCOE, Reach partners with NDTA in education dedicated to training as many therapists as possible in the Neuro-Developmental Treatment Approach. In addition to our trained staff, Reach has hosted many NDTA courses including the 8-week pediatric certification course. Because of our dedication and commitment to this treatment philosophy, we have been named one of the first facilities designated as an NDTA “Center of Excellence”.
What our parents have to say…
“I really love that the therapists include my personal goals for my son into his therapy goals. They work not just on fulfilling standardized tests but also to make home life easier.”
“I love the open and honest communication between myself and staff members. The constant communication ensures I’m always well informed and we don’t forget anything. I feel like our therapists were picked specifically for each of my children based on their needs. Each therapist has worked diligently to understand my children quickly and find methods that work best for them.”
“Speech therapy has helped my child feel very confident of herself. She loves to use her voice for everything. She has learned many exercises and techniques for her muscles due to her right side weakness. I am so grateful to every single therapist that has helped my child. Thank you so much.”
“Great services and have improved my child. My child’s greatest accomplishment is his speech and being social with other children. My son’s speech therapist is the best.”
“We love Reach because they create an inviting environment from the moment you walk in. We are greeted by name, even by those who don’t directly work with us. When we started with Reach our son was almost nonverbal. Through the hard work and dedication of his therapists he now has a growing vocabulary. He’s able to effectively communicate his wants and needs using his new language skills.”