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Speech-Language Pathology

Patient Lilly laughing, reading a book

What Does a Speech-Language Pathologist Do?

A speech-language pathologist evaluates and treats children and adolescents with speech, language and swallowing problems. At St. Jude, speech language-pathologists create individual treatment plans and provide services to inpatients and outpatients. Play-based therapy is often used to encourage patient participation.

Children may see a speech-language pathologist if they have problems with:

  • understanding language
  • communicating wants and needs effectively
  • eating and drinking safely

Speech-language pathologists can also help if your child has:

  • voice problems
  • facial weakness
  • problems talking because of coordination or muscle issues
  • limited jaw range of motion

Speech-language pathologists can provide equipment or devices to help improve your child’s ability to communicate effectively and eat and drink safely. These services include:

  • Augmentative and alternative communication (AAC): methods of communication to supplement oral speech; may include gestures, symbols, pictures and voice-output devices
  • Speaking valve: a one-way valve that can be used by a child with a tracheostomy or ventilator to allow speech by directing air through the vocal cords, mouth and nose
  • Jaw range of motion device: a system that can help improve jaw range of motion, mobilize joints and reduce pain through passive stretching of the jaw muscles

Read Speech-Language Pathology Education Materials