Speech and Languages Therapy

The Paediatric Services’ speech-language pathologists are experts in working with children who have communication deficits. They are trained to work with verbal and non-verbal children, using verbal language, sign language, and alternative & augmentative communication systems as appropriate.  They address deficits of articulation, receptive and expressive language, fluency, voice, and oral motor skills.  Our therapists provide treatment for children who have difficulty eating and swallowing.  Heartspring speech-language pathologists focus on early diagnosis and intervention for each child they serve.  Staffs works together with parents, families, physicians and other specialists, in order to better outcomes and greater intervention success.

  • Specific treatment approaches implemented in speech therapy sessions could include:
  • Auditory Verbal Therapy
  • PECS (Picture Exchange Communication System)
  • Floor Time
  • iPAD applications
  • Phonology approach
  • Buffalo Model
  • Earobics
  • Kaufman Speech Praxis Program
  • Kaufman Speech to Language Protocol
  • Augmentative and Alternative Communication Devices and Systems

Speech Disorders and Language Disorders

A speech disorder refers to a problem with the actual production of sounds, whereas a language disorder refers to a difficulty understanding or putting words together to communicate ideas.

Speech disorders include:

  • Articulation disorders:difficulties producing sounds in syllables or saying words incorrectly to the point that listeners can’t understand what’s being said.
  • Fluency disorders:problems such as stuttering, in which the flow of speech is interrupted by abnormal stoppages, repetitions (st-st-stuttering), or prolonging sounds and syllables (ssssstuttering).
  • Resonance or voice disorders:problems with the pitch, volume, or quality of the voice that distract listeners from what’s being said. These types of disorders may also cause pain or discomfort for a child when speaking.
  • Dysphagia/oral feeding disorders:these include difficulties with drooling, eating, and swallowing.

Language disorders can be either receptive or expressive:

  • Receptive disorders:difficulties understanding or processing language.
  • Expressive disorders:difficulty putting words together, limited vocabulary, or inability to use language in a socially appropriate way.

When Is Therapy Needed?

Kids might need speech-language therapy for a variety of reasons, including:

  • hearing impairments
  • cognitive (intellectual, thinking) or other developmental delays
  • weak oral muscles
  • excessive drooling
  • chronic hoarseness
  • birth defects such as cleft lip or cleft palate
  • autism
  • motor planning problems
  • respiratory problems (breathing disorders)
  • feeding and swallowing disorders
  • traumatic brain injury

Therapy should begin as soon as possible. Children enrolled in therapy early (before they’re 5 years old) tend to have better outcomes than those who begin therapy later.

This does not mean that older kids can’t make progress in therapy; they may progress at a slower rate because they often have learned patterns that need to be changed.

  • Asssessment

The quantitative assessments shall be done using standardized language tests that are currently available at our center such as :
– PEDI (pediatric evaluation of disability inventory)
– TOLD ( test of language development primary and secondary)
– Fluharty 2 (language and speech screening for preschool children)
– Stuttering prediction instrument
-Stuttering Severity instrument
-Functional Assessment of communication.

Therapeutic Methods used:

The Speech-Language Pathologist will assess and treat across the different areas of Communication Disorders:

1) Speech sound production

  1. articulation
  2. apraxia of speech
  3. dysarthria
  4. ataxia
  5. dyskinesia

2) Resonance

  1. hypernasality
  2. hyponasality
  3. cul-de-sac resonance
  4. mixed resonance

3) Voice

  1. phonation quality
  2. pitch
  3. loudness
  4. respiration

4)  Fluency

  1. stuttering
  2. cluttering

5) Language (comprehension and expression)

  1. phonology
  2. morphology
  3. syntax
  4. semantics
  5. pragmatics (language use, social aspects of communication)
  6. literacy (reading, writing, spelling)
  7. prelinguistic communication (e.g., joint attention, intentionality, communicative signaling)
  8. paralinguistic communication
  9. cognition
  10. attention
  11. memory
  12. sequencing
  13. problem solving
  14. executive functioning

6) Feeding and Swallowing

  1. oral, pharyngeal, laryngeal, esophageal
  2. orofacial myology (including tongue thrust)

oral-motor functions