Pediatric Speech-Language Pathology
Our speech-language pathologists use evidence-based treatment to increase communication, social interaction, and feeding and swallowing skills.
We serve kids of all ages with:
- Speech delay
- Autism spectrum disorder
- Picky eating
- Difficulty chewing/swallowing
- Motor speech problems (apraxia, dysarthria)
- History of Traumatic Brain Injury (memory/cognitive deficits)
- Limited vocabulary, grammatical errors
- Limited verbal speech (nonverbal)
- Speech that is difficult to understand
When a child’s speech is difficult to understand, it can be frustrating for the child and those around them. We work with the child to use accurate speech sounds so that they can communicate more effectively with family members, friends, and others in the community.
It is common to understand approximately 75% to 100% of a child’s speech at four years old, although there may be some noticeable speech sound errors.
Some children have difficulty speaking in complete sentences, answering questions, or understanding what others say. This can affect the child’s ability to make connections with friends, participate in school activities, and interact with people on a daily basis. We help the child improve their receptive and expressive language skills so they can communicate effectively with everyone in their life.
Important language milestones include:
- First words (12 months)
- Understanding their own name, responding to “no,” and understanding simple instructions (12 months)
- Using at least 50 words, although these may include sound errors or be difficult to understand (18-23 months)
- Speaking in 2-word phrases (2 years)
- Answering simple “wh” questions (who, where, what) (3 years)
When a child has difficulty with the skills required to eat, mealtimes can be stressful. Whether the child has challenges with oral motor skills, swallow dysfunction, bottling or they consume a limited diet because of sensory difficulties or behavioral difficulties, we offer a variety of services to improve feeding and swallowing skills.
What makes our program unique:
- Intensive feeding treatment
- South Dakota’s first and only speech-language pathologist who is board-certified in swallowing and swallowing disorders
- SLPs and OTs trained in Neuromuscular Electrical Stimulation (NMES) and the Sequential-Oral-Sensory (SOS) approach to feeding
- Behavioral principles to reinforce more advanced eating behaviors
Communication challenges are a hallmark of autism spectrum disorder, and early intensive intervention has been shown to be the most effective. Our therapists have specialized training in well-established treatment methods, and can help guide you and your family through the diagnosis process, from screening, to evaluation, to treatment.
Red flags of autism (talk with your child’s doctor, or call 444-9700 for a free screening):
- Limited eye contact
- Delayed speech or vocabulary regression
- Repetitive speech, behaviors, or body movements
- Sensory sensitivities to sounds, textures, movements
- Not responding to name being called
- Intense interest in a certain topic or item
- Limited play with peers
Treatment methods utilized include:
- Early Start Denver Model services for young children with autism
- Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC)
- Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS)
- Social skills intervention- individual and group
- Principles of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) to shape and reinforce target behaviors
For more information, you can download one of the following flyers:
Following an acute inpatient hospital stay, such as for a Traumatic Brain Injury or after an accident, illness, or injury, our speech-language pathologists provide intensive therapy to help patients return their communication and feeding/swallowing skills to their prior level of function, with the goal of discharging to the home environment.
For more information, visit our Inpatient Rehabilitation Program page.
We talk not just to share information, but to make connections with others. Taking turns in conversation, sharing stories, and showing an interest in what others say are essential to meaningful relationships. Our students and patients practice these skills in individual and group settings to emphasize generalization of skills.