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
- 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
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 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 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 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 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.
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.
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