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Speech-Language Therapy

Our speech-language pathologists evaluate and treat children with a wide range of communication and feeding disorders.

Children with developmental disorders, traumatic brain injury or deformities of the oral structures and throat may have difficulties learning to communicate or problems with swallowing and eating.

Our speech-language pathologists evaluate and treat children with a wide range of communication and feeding disorders, including:

  • Aphasia
  • Apraxia
  • Articulation delays and disorders
  • Cleft lip and palate
  • Dysarthria
  • Hearing loss
  • Speech delays or disorders
  • Stuttering and other speech fluency disorders
  • Tongue thrust
  • Swallowing and feeding disorders
  • Voice disorders
  • Vocal cord dysfunction
  • Written language disorders

We offer several advanced diagnostic tests to determine if patients have the muscle control and oral motor skills necessary to swallow.

Our special services include:

Augmentative/Alternative Communication
When physical impairments make children unable to communicate through speech or writing, they may need augmentative (supplemental) or alternative communication to help them express their thoughts, ideas, needs and wants. We help patients and their families choose from a variety of electronic communication devices to find one that best meets their needs for self expression. These devices can boost self-esteem by improving social interaction and participation in school.

Encouragement Feeding Program
For children with deformities of the oral structures (the lips, tongue, palate or jaw) or those who have received nourishment through a feeding tube for an extended period of time, learning to eat normally can be an unpleasant experience. Not only are they unaccustomed to the taste and textures of different foods; they also have not developed the ability to regulate their hunger because tube-feeding schedules do not mimic typical feeding schedules.

The Encouragement Feeding Program initiates the process of weaning children from feeding tubes and helping them transition to normal, age-appropriate eating habits. The program lasts about two weeks and requires the participation of parents or other caregivers, who are shown how to overcome a child’s avoidance or resistance to eating.

Craniofacial Clinic
Our speech-language pathologists are part of the UVA Craniofacial Clinic team, a group that involves doctors from specialties like dentistry, head and neck surgery, eye and neurosurgery. We evaluate the speech and swallowing abilities of children with abnormalities such as cleft lip or cleft palate before and after surgical repair and provide follow-up treatment options.