Pediatric speech therapy focuses on language, social communication, cognitive development, fluency of speech, voice production, and swallowing disorders. Our goal is to help every child reach his or her full potential and communicate as efficiently and as effectively as possible.
Who can benefit?
Our speech therapists treat children from birth to school age. A variety of diagnoses and conditions may affect a child’s communication skills including, but not limited to:
- Chronic ear infections
- Genetic syndromes
- Complications from a premature birth
- Developmental delays
- Unknown causes
Scope of practice
Our speech therapists develop individual treatment plans for each child. We base these plans on patient evaluations and their medical diagnoses. Sessions address many of the following conditions:
- Childhood Apraxia of Speech (CAS)
Apraxia is a problem with how the brain sends signals to the muscles used for speech. Childhood apraxia of speech can range from mild to severe.
- Articulation Disorder
The atypical production of speech sounds characterized by substitutions, omissions, additions or distortions that may interfere with intelligibility.
- Fluency Disorder (Stuttering)
An interruption in the flow of speaking characterized by atypical rate, rhythm, and repetitions in sounds, syllables, words, and phrases. This may be accompanied by excessive tension, struggle behavior, and secondary mannerisms.
- Voice Disorders
For normal speech, your vocal cords need to touch together smoothly inside your larynx. Anything that interferes with vocal cord movement or contact can cause a voice disorder.
- Phonological Process Disorder
Referring to a child’s difficulty in understanding speech and other sounds, which other children seem to acquire naturally. These disorders are broader in scope and more complex than simple articulation deficits. A child with phonological disorders may mispronounce a sound in certain words, yet pronounce it clearly in others. Children mispronouncing entire groups of sounds need special approaches for learning to produce these sounds correctly.
- Receptive Language Disorders
Receptive language disorders occur when a child has difficulties:
- Understanding what people mean when they use gestures, like shrugging or nodding
- Following directions
- Answering questions
- Pointing to objects and pictures
- Knowing how to take turns when talking with others
- Expressive Language Disorders
Expressive language disorders occur when children have difficulties with expressing themselves, including:
- Asking questions
- Naming objects
- Using gestures
- Putting words together into sentences
- Learning songs and rhymes
- Using correct pronouns, like "he" or "they"
- Knowing how to start a conversation and keep it going
- Changing how they talk to different people and in different places
- Social or Pragmatic Problems
Social communication disorder is characterized by difficulties with the use of verbal and nonverbal language for social purposes. Primary difficulties are in social interaction, social cognition, and pragmatics. Specific deficits are evident in the individual’s ability to:
- Communicate for social purposes in ways that are appropriate for the particular social context
- Change communication to match the context or needs of the listener
- Follow rules for conversation and storytelling
- Understand ambiguous language
- Understand implied language
- Central Auditory Processing Disorders
Central auditory processing disorder (CAPD) is a problem with listening. It may be from a problem with the way the brain processes sound (auditory) information. It causes a child to have trouble hearing and understanding speech and sounds.
- Feeding and Swallowing Disorders
Feeding therapy includes intensive parent training to help you better learn how to work with your child at home and carry over skills learned in therapy.
What to expect
- Telephone inquiry: Gather more information about your child to determine if an evaluation and/or therapy are appropriate
- Scheduling: Discuss how soon an appointment can be scheduled, day and time preferences, insurance information and referring pediatrician
- Evaluation: Determine if a comprehensive evaluation is needed for your child. If your child has a current and comprehensive physical therapy evaluation, Individualized Education Plan (IEP), or Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP), we can typically develop a therapy plan based on those tests.
- Plan of care: Develop appropriate goals and frequency of care based on evaluation results and family input.
We encourage parents to get involved in the therapeutic process and learn how to work on therapeutic and behavioral goals at home. There are opportunities to observe by either being in the room or through an observation window. Home practice materials and suggestions will be provided on a case-by-case basis depending on your child’s response to treatment techniques. Supporting and practicing skills at home or in the community should expedite your child’s progress.
Coverage is dependent upon your individual plan. You will want to check to see if you are in-network or out-of-network with Saint Luke’s Hospital of Kansas City. You may have a deductible or co-pay for services and there may be exclusions to your plan regarding therapy that is covered.
Family assistance program
We believe that all children deserve the best possible start in life. Our Family Assistance Program provides support to families who are uninsured or under insured, and is made possible by gifts and grants from individuals, corporations, and foundations in the Kansas City metro area.
We are committed to provide the best possible care for your child, and your family but we do need your help. Your child’s success depends on attending every therapy session and arriving on time. If you are unable to attend a scheduled appointment, please call us as soon as possible before the appointment at 816-932-3832 to cancel or reschedule. We have many children in need of services. Multiple cancellations may result in termination of services.