What is speech therapy?
Speech therapy is the evaluation, assessment and treatment of communication, swallowing and feeding disorders provided by licensed Speech-Language Pathologists (SLP) commonly known as Speech Therapists. SLPs work to prevent, assess, diagnose and treat speech, language, social communication, cognitive-communication, and feeding and/or swallowing disorders in children and adults.
In the outpatient setting (outside of the hospital), Pediatric SLPs commonly treat individuals from birth to 21 with feeding, speech and/or language disorders of unknown etiology or with developmental disabilities secondary to prematurity, traumatic birth, or neurological problems. Many of these children are medically fragile and some may present with medical diagnoses such as hearing loss and craniofacial anomalies, such as cleft lip and/or palate. Additionally, Pediatric SLPs provide augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) systems for children with severe expressive and/or language comprehension disorders, such as autism spectrum disorder (ASD) or progressive neurological disorders (ASHA.org).
Who are Speech-Language Pathologists?
SLPs are licensed service providers who are experts in communication. They may work in private practices, physicians' offices, hospitals, schools, colleges and universities, rehabilitation centers, long-term health care facilities and residential health care facilities
Certified SLPs have obtained the Certificate of Clinical Competence in Speech-Language Pathology (CCC-SLP) by earning a graduate degree, successfully completing the required clinical experiences, and passing a national examination. This certificate is awarded by The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA)-- the national professional, scientific, and credentialing association for audiologists, speech-language pathologists and speech, language and hearing scientists.
What are the benefits of speech therapy?
The main goal of speech therapy is to improve the child’s functional communication, which results in an improved quality of live by increasing the child’s opportunities for communication with their family, peers and in their communities. This is strategically achieved by:
Improving receptive language (comprehension)
Improving expressive language (both verbal and nonverbal)
Improving social skills
Improving cognitive skills
Improving vocal quality
Strengthening oral muscles
Research shows that the earlier speech therapy is started for a child with a communication delay or disorder, the better their prognosis and positive outcomes will be. Because brain plasticity is most prominent during the first five years of life, high-quality early intervention is important and can change a child’s developmental trajectory.
If you have any concerns regarding your child's development, please contact us for more information.