MetroEHS Speech Language Pathologists carry experience providing services to our pediatric clients from the ages of birth through adolescence. They assess and treat children that may have difficulties in areas of communication, swallowing, speech or language.
This may include:
Articulation Delays – If a child is having difficulty making certain sounds then this is classified as an articulation disorder. The child may substitute one sound for another (i.e., saying “wabbit” for “rabbit” or “dig” for “pig”), leaving a sound out completely (i.e., saying “oat” for “boat”) or any other type of sound error.
Phonological Processing Delays – If a child is showing a consistent pattern of a sound error, this might be considered a phonological processing disorder rather than an articulation disorder. There are many different phonological processes. For example, ‘final consonant deletion’ is where the last sound in a word is consistently dropped (e.g. “buh” for “bug” or “ca” for “cat”). The term ‘fronting’ is an example of another phonological process where a sound in the back of the mouth such as ‘g’ or ‘k’ is consistently replaced with a sound made in the front of the mouth such as ‘t’ or ‘d’ (e.g. says “doe” for “go” or “tee” for “key”).
Voice Disorders – Sometimes children may have difficulty with vocal loudness (abnormally high or low intensity), quality (nasal/hoarse/breathy/strained), or pitch (abnormally high/monotone/or pitch breaks) with their voice. Sometimes this can be the result of a physical problem such as vocal polyps.
Swallowing/Feeding – If children have difficulty swallowing/chewing foods or liquids, then they may have what’s called pediatric dysphagia. Signs may include coughing, choking, gagging, retaining food in the mouth, avoiding certain textures, losing weight, inability to coordinate suck/swallow reflex (in newborns), and limited food preferences. Causes may be congenital (cleft lip/palate or large tonsils), behavioral, sensory related, or caused by a variety of other factors.
Aphasia – Aphasia is a neurological disorder that is often the result of a stroke in adults. However, it can occur across ages and is known as acquired childhood aphasia in children who may have suffered an injury to the brain after developing language appropriately. Aphasia may include deficits in the ability to speak, comprehend speech/language, read, or write.
Apraxia of Speech – A child may have difficulty sequencing oral motor movements for speech. This is known as childhood apraxia of speech. This is a neurological disorder where the brain has difficulty coordinating the movements needed for speech.
Head Injury – In the case of a closed head injury, the speech and language center of the brain may be affected making it difficult to communicate. It can also affect areas such as oral motor control, swallowing and sensory processing.
Stuttering – Many children have disfluencies (pauses and minor repetitions) in their speech, usually during the preschool years. However, if a child has a large number of disfluencies in their speech, it may be an indicator that they have a stutter. Stuttering on more than 10 words out of 100 may indicate that the child is having a problem. Other factors must also be considered, but a speech language pathologist must evaluate and treat to make a firm diagnosis.
Auditory Processing – Children may take a longer amount of time than usual to hear and process information before their brain understands it. This may indicate that they have difficulties in auditory processing (listening skills).
Augmentive & Alternative Communication (AAC) – For children with limited speech or no speech at all, other options may be considered to help them communicate, even while speech is still developing. This can include low tech AAC such as sign language, communication boards, picture exchange systems or high-tech alternatives such as speech generating devices and communication apps. A child must be evaluated and treated by a speech language pathologist to know which system is most appropriate for their level of development.
Receptive language refers to a child’s ability to understand spoken language. A child with a receptive language disorder may have difficulty understanding words, sentences, conversations, or even responding to their name. They may also have difficulty following directions, identifying objects or basic concepts (colors, shapes, body parts, prepositions).
Expressive language refers to a child’s ability to express communication. This can be expressed verbally through words, sentences, conversation level speech and through nonverbal means such as gestures, pointing, vocalizing, body language and facial expressions. If a child uses AAC to communicate, this is also considered a form of expressive language.
Pragmatic Language disorders often affect social skills such as turn taking during conversation, asking and answering all types of questions and overall appropriateness of communication. A child with a pragmatic language disorder may have difficulty initiating communication for a variety of intents including requesting for items/assistance, gaining attention, sharing information, and commenting.
MetroEHS serves Metro Detroit area clients with conveniently located Pediatric Therapy Centers. Please visit our locations page to view our other Therapy Centers.