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