Children's Hospital Colorado
Audiology, Speech and Learning Care
Audiology, Speech and Learning Care
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Speech-Language Therapy at Children's Hospital Colorado

At Children's Hospital Colorado, our specially trained pediatric speech-language pathologists provide current and evidence-based care for your child’s communication, feeding and swallowing and learning needs. We are a national leader in comprehensive, family-centered therapy care for children and their families. Our goal is to give you the knowledge and skills needed to maximize your child's progress and to help them achieve their full potential in communication, learning, growth and development.

Services provided by our speech-language pathologists

Pediatric speech-language pathologists provide a wide range of evaluation and treatment services for children from birth through adolescence in both inpatient and outpatient settings. These include:

  • Extensive diagnostic evaluations
  • Individual and group speech-language therapy programs
  • Parent-child interaction programs
  • Parent counseling and support
  • Family assistance with community services
  • Speech-language, learning and feeding telemedicine
  • Evaluation and treatment for children who speak Spanish
  • Support for multilingual children and their families

Our experts have unique skills and training to address communication, feeding, swallowing and learning needs in such specialty areas as:

  • Apraxia of speech
  • Articulation disorders
  • Autism spectrum disorders
  • Feeding and swallowing problems
  • Hearing impairments
  • Language disorders (delayed speech development, difficulty understanding, word confusion, etc.)
  • Resonance disorders
  • Speech-sound disorders
  • Social skills
  • Stuttering
  • Voice disorders
  • Augmentative and alternative communication (AAC)

Augmentative and alternative communication services

Augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) strategies are for anyone with unmet communication needs. This can include children who are verbal, minimally verbal or non-verbal, with a variety of diagnoses (e.g., cerebral palsy, autism spectrum disorders, Down syndrome, apraxia or traumatic brain injury).

AAC involves using multiple modalities to help our patients communicate, including:

  • Vocalizations and verbal approximations
  • Gestures and sign language
  • Facial expressions and eye-gaze
  • Postural change/tone
  • Tactile cues, tangible symbols and objects
  • Pictures (labels, photographs, Picture Communication Symbols)
  • Speech generating devices

AAC strategies can also be used to increase learning and reduce challenging behaviors by:

  • Increasing understanding of concepts through the use of auditory and visual input
  • Using visual schedules to help patients follow directions within tasks and across activities
  • Using selected software and/or apps to provide motivation, structured learning opportunities and active participation in learning tasks

AAC evaluation

To determine a child's need for augmentative or alternative communications, our team provides comprehensive multidisciplinary diagnostic evaluations. These AAC evaluations include:

  • Skill and needs assessments
  • Coordination of physical access and positioning needs
  • Assistance in obtaining funding for recommended equipment and services

AAC treatment and support

Once the need for AAC is identified, our team offers comprehensive treatment services for children birth to age 21. These services include:

  • Individual and/or group therapy by age group
  • Parent and caregiver training in technology use and implementation
  • Coordination of assessment and treatment services with school and other support networks
  • Opportunities for sessions with occupational and/or physical therapists
  • Intensive one-week training at the "Talking With Technology Camp"
  • Extended weekend training for families new to augmentative communication at "First Steps Camp"

Multidisciplinary clinic support

In addition to evaluation and therapy services within the Department of Audiology, Speech-Language Pathology and Learning Services, our pediatric speech-language pathologists also participate in multidisciplinary clinics to support children with complex needs. If needed, our experts are part of the following teams:

Speech-language therapy we offer

Studies have shown that children reach goals and show more rapid progress when caregivers and professionals work together, which is why pediatric therapists at Children's Colorado have access to a variety of models of therapy. Therapy goals are designed to work toward developing new skills that will make your child more successful at home, in school and in the community. Your child's progress is assessed at each session and parents are given progress reports at regular intervals. Your child's therapy plan includes information about the number of therapy sessions that will be given, the length of each therapy visit and when to expect therapy to end.

There are five models of therapy used at Children's Colorado:

Weekly therapy

Weekly therapy is the most common option for speech-language needs. With weekly therapy, your child is seen once a week in either an individual or group program. Weekly therapy is ideal for children who are making rapid changes from week to week and demonstrating regular, steady skill growth in speech and language.

Periodic therapy

Periodic therapy is provided once a month, twice a month, every other month or at another schedule that best meets your child's needs. This type of therapy is used if progress towards speech or language goals is slow, or if noticeable changes do not happen from one weekly session to the next. It may also be best if:

  • The child is moving to a new school or other private therapy program
  • The child needs practice blending speech and language skills into daily life
  • The length of a family's commute makes it hard for them to take part in weekly therapy

Consultative therapy

Consultative therapy is a one-time visit used to evaluate the progress or maintenance of a child's speech-language skills. During consultative therapy, you can talk about changes in your child's development and the possible need for therapy. It is also ideal if challenging behavior or health issues previously prevented your child from participating in weekly, periodic or group therapy, but now you think your child may be ready.

Intensive therapy

Intensive therapy is generally two or more times a week for a limited number of visits. It is typically used for children with apraxia of speech who need more intense support and show rapid gains from increased frequency of visits. This is short-term and often recommended for children who've experienced a sudden neurological event, such as a traumatic brain injury or a stroke. Intensive therapy may also be recommended for families with a long commute who cannot accommodate weekly trips for therapy.

Group therapy

These therapy sessions are 8 or more weeks, depending on the group. Group therapy may be recommended for children who need practice using speech and language skills in a social setting, or if the child is a social learner.

Speech-language telemedicine

Telemedicine speech-language therapy is provided through video with a computer or tablet. Occasionally, families seeking services at Children's Colorado do not have access to appropriate, pediatric-trained clinicians in their home communities. In these cases, our team can provide telemedicine consultations.

Speech-language camp programs we offer

Camp Zenith is a five-day overnight camp for children ages 8 to 18 years old who have sustained traumatic brain injuries at some point in their development. The Breckenridge Outdoor Education Center provides the structure and stability needed for children with traumatic brain injuries and they facilitate a safe environment where children can try new things, meet new friends and excel at activities that may not be available otherwise.

Campers participate in a variety of activities, including:

  • Rock climbing
  • Canoeing/kayaking on Lake Dillon
  • Climbing the high ropes course
  • Crafts (such as making tie dye shirts and homemade "pop rockets")
  • Movie nights
  • Group games
  • A modified campfire

Dori's Discovery Days is a weekend camp for children ages 7-11 years who are deaf or hard of hearing and their parents/guardians and siblings. Parents will build new skills through educational sessions while the children participate in fun camp activities at the Easter Seals Camp facility in Empire, Colorado. Dori's Discovery Days includes lodging, meals and all activities. A generous gift from Doris A. Segar makes this weekend camp available at little cost to families.

First Steps Camp is a weekend-long camp for children and their families who may have recently received their augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) device or are waiting to receive it. The camp supports kids in learning to use their AAC device, as well as families learning to support use of the device. This camp is held at the Easter Seals Camp facility in Empire, Colorado and supports kids learning to use their AAC device. The beautiful camp provides cabins, showers and rustic accommodations with a range of activities for children with special needs. These activities include fishing, horseback riding, swimming and more.

Talking with Technology Camp is a week-long program developed for young people ages 6 to 21 who use augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) systems.

Children's Colorado contracts with Easter Seals Colorado to hold this event each summer at their Empire, Colorado facility. The goal of the camp is to provide intensive intervention within the context of a motivating and meaningful environment surrounded by peers, and to enhance the development of communication partners and those facilitating AAC use.

Kids who attend Talking with Technology camp can also enjoy:

  • Fishing
  • Horseback riding
  • Swimming
  • Sports
  • Hiking
  • Skits
  • Talent shows
  • Cook-outs
  • Singing around the campfire
  • Computers
  • Arts and crafts
  • Zip line
  • Climbing wall

Why choose the speech-language pathology services at Children's Colorado?

Our speech-language pathologists are pediatric experts trained to evaluate and treat a wide range of communication, feeding and swallowing disorders. Our team model centers around the child's individual needs by creating a partnership between caregivers, children and therapists to maximize progress. Our pediatric experts have the knowledge, skills and latest technology available to empower you and your child to grow and achieve.

Contact us

You can contact the speech-language team at Children's Colorado by calling 720-777-6800.

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