Speech-Language Pathology

Speech-Language Pathology aims to help children with communication challenges, in both expressive and receptive aspects. 

9 Areas Of Communication

The following are nine areas of communication that a Speech-Language Pathologist might focus on:

Speech Sounds

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Speech sounds is an umbrella term referring to any difficulty or combination of difficulties with perception, motor production, or phonological representation of speech sounds and speech segments. Your child’s symptoms depend on what type of speech sound disorder your child has. A child who does not say sounds by the expected ages may have a speech sound disorder. You may hear the terms “articulation disorder” and “phonological disorder” to describe speech sound disorders like this. Therapy addresses learning the correct way to make sounds, including:

  • Learning the correct way to make sounds
  • Learning to tell when sounds are right or wrong
  • Practicing sounds in different words
  • Practicing sounds in longer sentences

Fluency

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Disruptions in the smoothness of speech, usually in the form of stuttering or cluttering, which can impact a person socially and emotionally. Therapy addresses both the physical and social/emotional impacts of the disorder by focusing on effective communication and reducing the impact that stuttering/cluttering have on the person’s life and self-image.

Expressive Language

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Expressive Language refers to the ability to transform thoughts into words, gestures, writing and other communicative acts that convey the intended meaning to others in a grammatically appropriate way.  Therapy might focus on increasing vocabulary, length or complexity of phrase and/or accuracy of grammatical structures, in addition to the appropriate social use of language with others.

Pragmatics

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Pragmatics refers to the social language skills that we use to communicate in our daily lives, which includes what we say, how we say it, and our non-verbal communication. People with pragmatic disorders may have difficulty from greetings to continuing a conversation and misinterpreting nonverbal social interactions such as facial expression and body language. Therapy addresses difficulties related to social interactions by using scripts, role playing, social stories, and modeling to help teach and facilitate appropriate social interactions.

Receptive Language

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Receptive Language refers to the ability to understand what is communicated by others speech or writing.  Therapy focuses on increasing a child’s ability to decipher information and then respond appropriately, so that the child can reduce the need to learn solely through imitating others. Therapy targets may include following directions of increasing complexity, answering WH and/or YES/NO questions, categorization of stimuli, and comprehension of pronouns among others.

Feeding/Swallowing

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Feeding is the process of eating and drinking a variety of foods and liquids for nourishment. While swallowing is the complex process during which food motility (movement of food from the mouth down the throat) and mastication (chewing) occur. Therapy addresses difficulties related to these processes such as avoidant/restrictive food behaviors, helping to achieve age-appropriate eating skills to maximize quality of life.

Resonance/Voice

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Voice and resonance refer to the quality of phonation, loudness, pitch, and nasality. People with voice and/or resonance disorders may have anatomical and/or behavioral difficulties that make any or all of these qualities impaired, often impacting communication and quality of life. Therapy addresses behavioral aspects of these disorders, sometimes in conjunction with medical interventions (e.g. ENT collaborations to address anatomical aspects).

Alternative and Augmentative Communication (AAC)

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AAC is a term that’s used to describe various methods of communication that can help people who are unable to use verbal speech to communicate. AAC methods vary and may be personalized to meet each individual’s needs. It encompasses a wide range of nonverbal communication methods, from sign language and picture boards to mobile device apps and sophisticated, dedicated speech-generating devices (SGDs). Therapy focuses on using AAC to improve functional communication, increase language and literacy skills, improve speech production and use of multiple modalities, decrease challenging behaviors, and improve social communication.

Apraxia of Speech (AOS)

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AOS is a neurological disorder that affects the brain pathways involved in planning the sequence of movements involved in producing speech.”  Frequent therapy sessions with a focus on high repetition of target utterances is generally warranted.  Use of tactile facial prompts and biofeedback are common.

Services & Therapies Offered

Therapy for each individual is customized and may include the following:

Individual Therapy

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Clinic-based one-on-one therapy

Communication Dyads

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Therapy with a peer present, often a sibling or good friend

Social Groups

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Therapy with one or more professionals present and at least 2 peers

School/Home Visits

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Therapy done in one of the child’s natural environments

Alternative and Augmentative Communication (AAC) Programming

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Planning and programming of a device used to communicate instead of or in addition to speech

Consultation

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Meeting with parents, caretakers, educators to help determine appropriate carryover of therapy goals

Asessment

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Evaluation of all appropriate areas of communication to determine if intervention is warranted and determine appropriate goals and services