Speech-Language Therapy

Your child’s speech-language pathologist will assess 4 main areas of your child’s development: receptive language skills, expressive language skills, oral-motor and feeding skills. 

Receptive Language Skills

Receptive language skills address what your child understands.  This includes how they receive and decode messages from others.  Activities that your child’s therapist may address include responding to sounds, identifying body parts and clothing, following directions, understanding concepts like “in” and “out” and “up” and “down,” etc. 

Expressive Language Skills

Expressive language skills address how your child communicates.  This includes how your child is sending messages to others and expressing their wants and needs. There are many different ways your child can communicate.  They include producing words and sentences, speech sounds, sign language, gestures, using pictures and a variety of alternative communication devices.   You and your child’s therapist will determine which one is the best option for your child and family.

Oral-Motor Skills

Oral-Motor refers to how well your child is able to move and coordinate the muscles in and around their mouth.  Some children have low tone (hypotonia) and some have high tone (hypertonia) throughout their body – which also includes the muscles in and around their mouth.  Other children need help coordinating their tongue and lips.  This may effect how well they are able to chew and swallow food, tolerate different food textures, move their tongue to produce specific speech sounds, etc. 

Feeding Skills

Feeding therapy refers to how well your child is eating a variety of tastes and textures.  This includes transitioning between textures (purees to solids, meltables, hard munchables, soft cubes, etc), self-feeding (finger feeding, spoon feeding, etc) and drinking (from a bottle, spout cup, straw cup, open cup, etc). 

When to seek help. . .

If you are concerned about your child’s speech and language development, please talk to your child’s pediatrician, contact Tennessee’s Early Intervention System (TEIS) or contact us and we can help address your concerns.  

If you are concerned about your child’s oral-motor and feeding skills and have noticed that your child is choking, coughing or gagging while eating and drinking, please talk to your child’s pediatrician and speech-language pathologist as soon as possible.  

Screenings and Evaluations 

We offer speech and language screenings for children from 12 – 36 months of age for a cost of $10.  The speech and language screenings are short (usually less than 20 minutes) and will allow us to determine if a full evaluation is necessary.  

Speech-language, oral-motor and feeding evaluations are also available from birth to 36 months.  These evaluations will determine if therapy services are recommended for your child.

Home Programs

If an evaluation has been completed, but therapy services are not recommended, your child’s therapist may recommend a home program.  The home program includes activities for your child’s specific needs that your family and your child’s teachers can work on during daily activities.  If a home program is recommended, the therapist will also recommend a follow-up evaluation in 6 months to make sure that your child’s speech and language skills are still progressing.