Speech therapists evaluate and treat patients from birth to 18 years-old who have deficits or disorders related to communication, feeding and swallowing. Therapy sessions are geared to meet goals through play and activities that impact their success at home, daycare, school and in the community. Speech therapy addresses a variety of communication and feeding areas including:
Expressive language: The ability to say words, combine words into sentences, and talk about events to form meaningful messages using age appropriate grammar.
Receptive language: The ability to understand language and follow directions.
Articulation/speech: The ability to produce age appropriate sounds for clear communication.
Apraxia: Sometimes referred to as dyspraxia. The inability to correctly sequence speech sounds. The brain has problems planning to move the body parts (e.g. lips, jaw, tongue) needed for speech and difficulty coordinating the muscle movements necessary to say those words
Social language/Pragmatic skills: The ability to successfully make eye contact while speaking, take turns in conversation, initiate and maintain a conversation, and follow the social rules of conversations including appropriate distance from the speaker to the listener.
Voice: Use of the appropriate pitch, loudness or quality in relation to an individual's age, gender and culture.
Augmentative: Assisting non-verbal patient's communication with a communication device or PECS (Picture Exchange System).
Auditory Processing: The ability to appropriately recognize and interpret sounds that are heard.
Language Processing: The ability to attach increasing complex layers of meaning to incoming auditory language.
Dysphagia: The inability to safely swallow liquids or food.
Oral Motor: The ability of the muscles of the mouth to move correctly for speaking and eating.
Feeding Aversion: Self-limiting food intake by type, texture or amount. This could present as feeding refusal or extreme food selectivity.
Vocal Cord Dysfunction: Difficulty breathing due to closure of the vocal cords during exercise, sports or singing.