Helping Children with Speech and Language Difficulties
Speech-language pathologists provide evaluation, treatment, and consultative services to young children and their families in the following areas:
- Speech sound production and articulation – How a child pronounces sounds and words
- Language – How a child understands spoken language as well as expresses ideas to others
- Aural Habilitation - The development of listening and speaking skills for children with hearing loss
- Resonance and Voice Disorders – Differences in a how a child’s voice sounds
- Pediatric Dysphagia – Feeding and swallowing disorders
Children are served to best fit their level of development. Treatment may be provided through consultations, direct treatment and/or family education.
Speech and Language
Speech and language difficulties are treated through consultation, direct treatment, family education and/or home programming. Treatment programs are designed to meet each child’s individual developmental needs in a playful and functional environment. Dedicated staff support children with language delays, language disorders, autism, hearing loss, speech sound disorders (e.g., articulation delay, phonological disorders, dyspraxia), resonance disorders and social communication difficulties.
Aural (re)habilitation is a special type of therapy for children with hearing loss. This therapy works on improving a child’s ability to hear sounds and speech and to use speech to express him/herself. At the Mary Bridge Speech and Hearing Clinic, we offer comprehensive, family-centered care for children who are deaf and hard-of-hearing.
Clinicians at Mary Bridge are specially trained to provide aural (re)habilitation therapy, using an auditory-oral approach, which focuses on communication development through listening and speaking using hearing aids and/or cochlear implants.
Resonance Disorders/Cleft Lip and Palate
A resonance disorder may exist if a child’s voice sounds “too nasal” or as if “sound is coming out of the nose.” These differences in a child’s voice may be due to problems with the anatomy. Resonance disorders can be associated with cleft palate and some syndromes.
The Mary Bridge Speech and Hearing Clinic is an active member of the Southwest Washington Maxillofacial Review Board, one of four regional teams in the state of Washington serving children with cleft lip and/or palate and their families. Evaluation of feeding, swallowing, language development, speech sound production, resonance, and velopharyngeal function are available. Speech pathologists work collaboratively with plastic surgeons, dentists, orthodontists, otolaryngologists, geneticists, audiologists and oral surgeons in the community.
Speech-language pathologists with specialized training in feeding and swallowing disorders serve infants and young children in both the hospital and in the outpatient clinic. Feeding specialists provide clinical feeding evaluation and feeding therapy to assist with pre-feeding skills and transition to oral feeding, to improve oral-motor control for eating and drinking and to maximize feeding and swallowing safety.
Videofluoroscopic Swallow Study (VFSS)
A videofluoroscopic swallow study (VFSS) is a test completed in conjunction with the Radiology Department to further evaluate a child’s swallowing ability. Food and liquid can be visualized as it moves through the mouth and throat. Results are used to develop the most appropriate feeding plan for each child.