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What is Speech therapy/Speech Language Pathology?

Pediatric speech-language pathology includes the evaluation and treatment of patients from birth to 18 years old. As such, it can require specialized skills in several differing age groups, including infants, toddlers, preschoolers, school-aged children and adolescents. Common disorders found in the pediatric population, particularly in a medical setting, include apraxia and other articulation or phonology disorders, autism, language disorders, central auditory processing disorders, and stuttering. Dysphagia is very common in a pediatric medical setting. The evaluation and treatment of children with dysphagia requires a special knowledge of the anatomy and physiology of babies and children and the usual causes of dysphagia in the pediatric population.

Children referred for communication or swallowing problems often have one or more of the following etiological factors: cleft lip/palate, craniofacial anomalies, velopharyngeal insufficiency, dental malocclusion, macroglossia, oral-motor dysfunction, neurologic disease/dysfunction, head trauma, brain stem injury, respiratory compromise, tracheostomy, vocal fold pathology, paralysis/paresis of the vocal fold, developmental delay, mental retardation, prematurity, autism, psychosis, hearing loss/deafness, environmental deprivation, or traumatic birth history. (

Goals and Benefits of Speech Therapy:

The goal of speech therapy is simple enough — improved skills that will allow your child to communicate more effectively with peers, family and within the community. There are other benefits as well. Some of these benefits include:

  • Increased independence
  • Greater self-esteem
  • Increased quality of life
  • Increased preparedness for school in regards to pre-literacy skills and developmental concepts
  • Increased problem solving
  • Increased intelligible speech so the child can be understood by others
  • Improved ability to express ideas, thoughts, and feelings
  • Improved vocal quality
  • Increased social skills
  • Fluent speech
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