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Together is a new resource for anyone affected by pediatric cancer - patients and their parents, family members, and friends.

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Speech-Language Therapy

What is speech therapy?

Speech therapy helps people with speech, language, communication, and swallowing problems. Speech disorders occur when a person has difficulty producing sounds correctly or has voice problems. Language disorders may be issues in understanding (receptive language) or expression (expressive language). People may also have problems with social aspects of communication and cognitive skills such as memory and word finding. Swallowing disorders (dysphagia) can result from problems at different phases of the swallowing process.

A speech-language pathologist (SLP, sometimes called a speech therapist) can do tests to learn about problems and understand the cause. The therapist may recommend treatments to address specific concerns. A speech-language pathologist can also help to select equipment or devices, such as a communication aid.

Speech-language pathologist works with pediatric cancer patient at bedside.

A speech-language pathologist can perform tests to determine the causes of speech, language or swallowing disorders and offer specific treatments to address each.

Speech therapy can help with:

  • Language skills and development
  • Speech sound production
  • Stuttering and fluency
  • Literacy including reading, writing, and spelling
  • Social communication
  • Feeding and swallowing
  • Motor speech difficulties
  • Voice problems
  • Facial weakness
  • Jaw range of motion

Finding a speech-language pathologist (SLP)

Therapists who work to address speech and language disorders are known as speech-language pathologists or speech therapists. They are licensed health professionals with a graduate degree in a field such as communication sciences and disorders. They work in a variety of settings including hospitals, clinics, and schools. Talk with your doctor about whether speech therapy could help your child.

Reviewed: June 2018