What is a Pediatric Speech-language Pathologist?

Some children struggle in their development of verbal communication. These delays are often evident if a child is not communicating at least a few words by the time they are 16 months old. Speech delays are quite common and can normally be addressed early on to ensure a child is on a good path to alignment with their peers. A pediatric speech-language pathologist is generally the specialist who can help address speech delays in children.

Who is a pediatric speech-language pathologist?

A speech-language pathologist, or an SLP, is simply a master of communication. They have received training in evaluating, diagnosing, and treating patients who have a variety of complicated speech, language, interpersonal, and literacy difficulties. A pathologist who specializes in pediatric speech pathology looks for these barriers in kids of all ages.

In order to guarantee that a child is supported in the development of their communication abilities, a pediatric speech pathologist will collaborate with the child, their relatives, their teachers, and other significant individuals, regardless of the communication issue.

Pediatric speech-language pathologists are professionally trained individuals who help children work on their communication skills; they improve not only their verbal skills but also their non-verbal body language. They focus on all aspects of communication so that the affected children can live a better life and live like other children their age. 

Pediatric speech-language pathologists can help children of all ages., but addressing young children helps them learn better and adapt quickly. 

What conditions does a pediatric speech-language pathologist treat?

For numerous distinct kids, collaborating with a speech pathologist is helpful. The use of speech pathology therapy sessions can have a positive impact on a wide range of various illnesses, conditions, challenges, or general issues. Pediatric speech pathologists evaluate and treat children of all ages.

  • Early language acquisition that is delayed (late talkers)
  • Language-based literacy issues or learning disabilities
  • Stutters
  • Developmental lag
  • Understanding issues
  • Play, social, or conversational issues
  • Decreased attention span
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder
  • Speech or articulation that is difficult to understand
  • Dyspraxia

A speech therapist can also work with your kid to address several other issues that are only sometimes communication-related. Speech therapy can assist a child in overcoming developmental obstacles in crucial areas, such as:

  • Having trouble eating
  • Cleft palate
  • Difficulties swallowing
  • Previous ear infections
  • Having trouble reading 

Common Speech and Langauge Disorders in Children

  • Articulation disorders: This refers to syllabication problems or incorrect word pronunciation, making it difficult for listeners to understand what is being said.
  • Fluency disorders: These involve irregular pauses, partial syllable recurrence (like “b-b-boy”), and protracted pronunciations and sounds (like “ssssnake”), similar to stuttering.
  • Resonance or voice disorders: These are problems with the tone, quality, or volume of a person’s voice that detract from the message. These illnesses may cause pain or discomfort for a child when speaking.
  • Language comprehension or processing issues: These are referred to as receptive disorders and are characterized by difficulty comprehending or putting ideas into words.
  • Expressive disorders: These include difficulties putting words together, little vocabulary, or a lack of socially acceptable language use.
  • Cognitive communication disorders: These are issues with the retention, focus, understanding, organization, regulation, and problem-solving aspects of communication.

Role of a Pediatric Speech Language Pathologist?  

All children are unique with their own set of needs and abilities. Regarding speech and language therapy, the speech-language pathologist will conduct an initial examination and choose the most appropriate course of action based on the child’s specific needs. Various strategies are employed depending on whether the therapy goals are related to eating and swallowing or interpersonal communication.

Speech-language pathologists often use creative and engaging techniques to make therapy sessions feel like play, particularly for their young patients. For example, to help children with pronunciation, a therapist may have them pretend to feed a baby doll while naming and describing different foods. This activity can help the children articulate specific sounds while also having fun playing with the doll. Similarly, a therapist may design a fun and challenging obstacle course where the child must remember and follow detailed instructions to work on receptive language and executive functioning goals. Through these playful activities, children can receive therapeutic benefits while enjoying themselves.

As a parent, it can be challenging to determine whether your child needs to see a speech pathologist, especially if another physician hasn’t suggested it or if there isn’t a specific condition they are exhibiting. However, paying attention to your child’s social skills is essential to determine if speech pathology could benefit them.

Parents often become aware of their children’s difficulties when they struggle to understand others, have trouble expressing themselves, or become frustrated with communication. Some parents may not realize that their child needs a speech pathologist, especially if their other children have never required one. However, it’s crucial to understand that every child has unique needs. Additionally, speech difficulties may not resolve independently as a child ages, so seeking help early is essential. If you’re concerned about your child’s communication skills, please bring them to a speech pathologist for an assessment.

Techniques and Strategies utilized by Pediatric SLPs

Speech-language pathologists play an essential role in helping children overcome speech and language difficulties. They work with children on a one-on-one basis, in small groups, or in a classroom setting. Depending on the child’s needs, the therapist will determine the most suitable approach and schedule the sessions accordingly.

To facilitate language development, speech-language pathologists use a variety of techniques, including activities for language intervention. During these activities, the therapist engages the child in play and conversation using images from books, objects, or current events. They may also use repetition exercises to model appropriate vocabulary and grammar.

Articulation therapy is another technique used by speech-language pathologists. During this therapy, the therapist role-plays appropriate sounds and syllables in words and phrases for the child while playing games. The level of play is tailored to the child’s age and needs. The SLP may also demonstrate how to move the tongue to produce particular sounds, such as the “r” sound.

In addition to language development and articulation therapy, speech-language pathologists may also provide oral-motor/feeding and swallowing therapy. This therapy is designed to strengthen the muscles of the mouth for eating, drinking, and swallowing. The SLP may use a variety of oral exercises, including facial massage and different tongue, lip, and jaw exercises. They may also introduce diverse food textures and temperatures to enhance a child’s oral awareness while eating and swallowing.

What Role Do Parents Play?

It is crucial for parents to understand the significance of their role in their child’s language development or language rehabilitation. When parents actively participate in working with their children through exercises and encouragement, it can significantly impact their child’s progress and success.

To help their child, parents can start by asking the therapist for suggestions and understanding the recommended at-home activities. This ensures that the child’s newly acquired skills are being practiced and transferred effectively.

It is essential to create a supportive and positive learning environment at home, especially for children with language or speech problems. It would help if you were patient, understanding, and open with your child, making sure they feel safe and encouraged to learn. Older siblings or other people in the house should also be supportive and not intimidate the child.

Parents should take an active interest in their child’s progress and regularly check what improvements their speech therapist has made. Active recall is crucial, and parents can reinforce these skills by practicing them regularly with their children.

How and where can I get speech therapy?

Acute-care medical centers, outpatient clinics, skilled nursing centers, home care, and institutions are just a few of the places where speech therapy is offered, but for children, generally, a private or hospital clinic that focuses on pediatrics is the best option. Speech treatment typically requires a referral. This is why patients and caregivers must communicate their worries to their doctors. 

Depending on how severe the impairment is, a treatment plan is developed, including the number and frequency of appointments. Sessions for speech therapy typically run 30 to 45 minutes, and the speech-language pathologist arranges the session in advance with tasks that are thought to be “just right,” meaning not too tricky to annoy the patient and not too simple to prevent beneficial improvements and the development of new skills. 


Pediatric speech-language pathologists are an essential part of our society. They help children of all ages to communicate better and more efficiently. They can help with all sorts of disorders, provided that your child is brought to them early on and proper sessions are attended. Moreover, these specialists are not extremely expensive, and a few sessions with them can literally change the lives of your children. They can make their future brighter and shinier. So don’t let your child lag in this race of life, and bring them to a pediatric speech-language pathologist as soon as you feel like it is time to do so.