What is a Speech-Language Pathologist?
A Pediatric Speech-Language Pathologist is a specialist who works to improve articulation, language understanding and expression, social communication, and cognitive-communication. At Beyond Limits Pediatric Therapy Center, our Speech-Language Pathologists work with children and their families to support and facilitate growing communication. We provide assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of a variety of Speech and Language Delays and Disorders.
Why Choose Speech-Language Therapy?
Children with communication disorders often have low self-esteem, feel isolated, frustrated, or embarrassed. Our Pediatric Speech-Language Pathologists focus on helping your child build confidence by equipping them with tools and strategies they can use to better communicate in the world around them.
Speech-Language Therapy is a fun environment in which a Speech-Language Pathologist works with children to develop skills to become confident and successful communicators. Whether it is with words, signs, facial expressions, gestures, or augmentative and alternative communication, our goal is to teach your child how to communicate effectively.
Our Pediatric Speech-Language Pathologists specialize in:
- Articulation and Phonology: The formation and production of sounds and sound combinations
- Apraxia: A motor speech disorder
- Fluency: Such as stuttering, blocking and repetitions
- Voice: Monitoring appropriate voice quality, pitch, and loudness
- Receptive Language: Understanding of information and others
- Expressive Language: Sharing of thoughts, feelings, ideas, wants and needs
- Social Communication: Pragmatics –understanding and using language in social situations
- Cognitive-Communication: Typically associated with traumatic brain injury in children
- Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) support
Who may Benefit from Pediatric Speech-Language Therapy?
Speech-Language Therapy can be beneficial for children with a variety of diagnoses including but not limited to:
- Delays in sound acquisition
- Delays in Receptive-Expressive Language development
- Autism Related Disorders
- Down Syndrome and other genetic disorders
- Cerebral Palsy and other neurological diagnoses
- Traumatic Brain Injury
- Developmental Delay
- Apraxia of Speech
- Hearing Impairment
- Auditory Processing and Discrimination
- Oral Motor Weakness
What Should a Parent Expect from Speech and Language Therapy
First, a Speech-Language Pathologist will evaluate your child. This will involve a parent interview, observing how your child communicates, interacts with others, and plays in their environment. Standardized testing will be administered to gain perspective on how your child is functioning when compared to other children his or her age. The Speech -Language Pathologist will choose the assessment tools that best fit diagnosing the nature and extent of the impairment. All of this information is carefully considered by the therapist in light of how a parent describes their child’s strengths and weaknesses in many areas of their life such as social interactions, school, communication, and play skills to name a few. The evaluation is a time for you the parent/caregiver to voice your concerns and ask for help in areas that are a struggle for your child. The speech-language therapist will then write a plan of care with goals and objectives that will help your child improve and experience successful outcomes. The therapist will also collaborate and may refer to other specialists when needed such as Audiologists, Occupational Therapists, your child’s teacher and/or your child’s doctor.
Beyond the Evaluation
Once a plan of care is determined, therapy is initiated. Play is the ‘occupation’ of childhood! Maria Montessori said it long ago: “Play is the work of the child.” Children learn by playing! So, don’t be surprised that if you look in on your child’s sessions that it appears as if the therapist is ‘just playing’ with your child. Yes, we do play! Speech therapy sessions involve fun and engaging activities to promote and improve things like social interactions, correct production of sounds and words, understanding of spoken language, expressing thoughts, ideas, and needs. Your child will learn new skills and gain new abilities by the therapist skillfully guiding a play session in order to provide a ‘just right’ challenge for your child. It is in this challenge that your child will grow a new skill!
Therapists will also often provide specific education about your child’s weaknesses that will allow you to carry therapy strategies over to the home environment where you can also practice with your child. This can be as simple as reading together and naming pictures, asking questions, listening and responding, engaging in interactive play, participating in activities that require turn-taking and following direction, and so much more.
Our goal is that through fun and challenging therapy, coupled with providing answers and education and programs for parents, that your child will progress in therapy, learn new skills and become more independent with all the areas of childhood that are so important for you, your child and your family. So please, ask questions, attend sessions and observe, and work hard at home with your child. They will make progress!