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Speech and Language

Child in speech therapy while sitting on her mother's lap
Our speech and language pathologists have extensive knowledge and experience working with patients with various communication, feeding and swallowing difficulties. They provide variety of state-of-the-art services for infants through young adults. They also work with families and caregivers to integrate them into the child’s treatment program. Referrals are accepted from pediatricians, specialists, parents and school systems. Services are provided at the Pediatric Rehabilitation Center in the Spaulding Outpatient Center for Children Salem.

Communication difficulties

An inability to communicate effectively can hinder a child’s ability to develop social relationships, make expected academic progress, and negatively impact self-esteem. A child with communication problems may experience difficulty with any of the following:

  • Using speech and language as a primary form of communication
  • Hearing
  • Attention/Active listening
  • Understanding language
  • Following directions
  • Orally expressing thoughts
  • Articulation
  • Social language skills
  • Fluency (stuttering/repetitions)
  • Reading and writing

Feeding difficulties

Feeding problems can take on many forms and may interfere with a child’s growth, health, nutrition, development and behavior. A child with feeding difficulties may display problems with eating or swallowing due to:

  • Oral motor and postural problems
  • Gastroesophageal reflux
  • Behavioral and sensory issues
  • Failure to thrive
  • Difficulty transitioning to textured foods
  • Transitions from feeding tube to oral feedings

Voice difficulties

A child may have trouble with pitch, loudness or voice quality. Voice disorders also include non-asthma related breathing difficulties and resonance issues. Voice disorders may interfere with a child’s ability to effectively communicate with others. Common conditions that may result in voice disorders include:

  • Vocal fold nodules or polyps
  • Laryngeal nerve paralysis or paresis
  • Laryngopharyngeal reflux (LPR)
  • Cleft palate
  • Vocal cord dysfunction
  • Neurologic conditions
  • Vocal abuse or misuse