Pediatric Speech Therapy

Speech therapists help children of all ages with various speech and language disorders. Speech therapists can assist with articulation disorders, fluency disorders, communication challenges, swallowing/feeding disorders, and language disorders.

At Little Steps, we love children and wanted to make a special place for kids to heal. That place became the Little Steps in Glenview, Illinois.

We specialize in evaluating and treating speech, language, oral motor and feeding disorders. Our therapy goals aide in the development of your child’s receptive and expressive language, articulation and social skills. We promote your child’s ability to understand and express their needs and wants. Speech and language skills develop rapidly from birth to roughly age five; therefore, pediatric speech therapy at Little Steps is an especially important tool for young children who exhibit communication problems that could affect their social or academic skills as they get older.

We offer the highest level of individualized speech, swallowing, language and social communication services, including diagnostic and therapeutic. Working closely with children and their families, Little Steps provide a complete range of speech therapies to help patients overcome speech, language, developmental and neurological disorders.

Pediatric speech therapists at Little Steps care for kids from birth to adolescence, using a team approach that is kid-friendly and involves parents every step of the way. This coordination is particularly important for children who require a blend of services, including pediatric physical therapy, pediatric occupational therapy, and pediatric developmental therapy.

Chicago Pediatric Speech Therapy

Here’s more information on the conditions and issues our pediatric speech therapists treat:

  • Picky eating
  • Swallow disorders/dysphagia
  • Language disorders
  • Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC)
  • Genetic disorders
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)
  • Fluency disorders
  • Articulation and phonological disorders
  • Hearing impairment

Here are some of the speech and language issues that our therapists can help with:

  • Receptive Language: The way a child understands language
    • A child who has receptive language issues has difficulty understanding age-appropriate basic concepts, following directions, and responding to questions. They may have difficulty understanding new vocabulary or identifying objects.
    • This is treated through play-based intervention addressing specific concepts, following multistep directions, and understanding a variety of questions. Speech-language pathologists utilize a hierarchy of cueing to improve a child’s independence in order to complete these tasks.
  • Expressive Language: The way a child communicates with others
    • A child who has difficulty with expressive language may have difficulty expressing their wants and needs, naming objects, using phrases or sentences, or age-appropriate grammar.
    • This is treated through both structured and unstructured tasks depending on the needs and skill level of the child. Strategies such as creating opportunities for communication, social routine building, verbal prompts, and modeling specific language can help. Some children benefit from forms of Alternative Augmentative Communication (AAC), which include signs, pictures, and both high- and low-tech communication devices.
  • Oral-Motor and Feeding Difficulties, and Dysphagia:
    • A child may have difficulty chewing and swallowing foods, drinking from age-appropriate cups, excessive drooling, and eating age-appropriate tastes and textures. They also might be described as a “picky eater.” They may experience signs of distress when eating, such as coughing, gagging, and choking. They may overstuff their mouths or pocket foods. For infants, they may seem to take a long time to finish their bottle.
    • This is treated through utilizing a variety of strategies to improve mealtimes, including pacing strategies, oral-motor stimulation or exercises, and positioning. A speech-language pathologist can also assist in introducing a variety of tastes and textures that are similar to those already accepted by a child to increase a child’s food repertoire.
  • Phonological disorders:
    • A phonological process disorder involves a pattern of speech sound errors. For example, a child might substitute “k” and “g” for “t” and “d” (e.g., saying “tup” for “cup”). A child may be difficult to understand, omit consonant speech sounds, or substitute other speech sounds.
    • This is treated through auditory bombardment of target phonemes and instruction on accurate production of these speech sounds. The child then practices producing these phonemes in isolation and at the word, phrase, sentence, and conversational speech levels.
  • Articulation:
    • A child with an articulation issue, such as a lisp, has difficulty producing speech sounds accurately. A child may be difficult to understand or may get frustrated when others do not understand them.
    • This is treated through instruction on accurate production of these speech sounds. The child then practices producing these phonemes in isolation, and at the word, phrase, sentence, and conversational speech levels.
  • Childhood Apraxia of Speech (CAS)
    • Childhood apraxia of speech is a motor speech disorder. Children with CAS have problems saying sounds, syllables, and words. They often have inconsistent errors. For example, “cup” may be “tup,” “pud,” “gud.” The child knows what he or she wants to say, but his/her brain has difficulty coordinating the muscle movements necessary to say those words. They have difficulty imitating movements of the mouth, such as blowing, sticking out their tongue, or puckering.
    • This is treated through tactile, verbal, and visual cues to accurately produce speech sounds in words, phrases, sentences, and conversational speech.
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)
    • A child with ASD may have difficulty with receptive, expressive, and social language skills. They may have difficulty communicating with peers. Some red flags include difficulty maintaining eye-contact, repetitive behaviors, limited play skills, echolalia (repetition of familiar phrases) and narrowed interest. Autism Spectrum Disorder is diagnosed by a specially trained medical professional such as a developmental pediatrician, neurologist, psychiatrist or psychologist.
    • Difficulty with social skills and expressive and receptive language are treated using a variety of modeling, cueing, and prompting strategies.
  • Cleft lip and palate
    • This is a congenital disorder which can range in severity. The two sides of the lip and palate do not join when the baby is developing in utero. Because the lip and the palate develop separately, it is possible to have a cleft lip, a cleft palate, or both.
    • A child may have difficulty with feeding or production of speech sounds which can treated by a speech-language pathologist.
  • Executive Functioning
    • A child with executive functioning issues has difficulty sequencing, organization, problem-solving, and making decisions.
    • This is typically treated through play-based intervention addressing specific concepts, following multistep directions, and problem-solving tasks. Speech-language pathologists utilize a hierarchy of cueing to improve a child’s independence in order to complete these tasks. Speech-language pathologists also teach compensatory strategies to improve independence in completing these tasks at home, in the community, or school settings.
  • Central Auditory Processing Disorder
    • A child who has CAPD has difficulty hearing and understanding language even though there is no measurable hearing loss. A child may have difficulty following directions in busy environments or seem to “tune out” things said to them.
    • This is typically treated through play-based intervention addressing responding to questions, following multistep directions, and problem-solving tasks beginning in quiet places and moving towards busier environments. Speech-language pathologists utilize a hierarchy of cueing to improve a child’s independence. Speech-language pathologists also teach compensatory strategies to improve independence in tackling these tasks in various settings.
  • Fluency
    • A child who has a fluency disorder repeats sounds, syllables, words, or phrases. They may have pauses and breaks in speech. They may show tension in their mouth and neck muscles and have trouble saying sounds in words. Some repetitions are part of typical development up to age five.
    • Speech-language pathologists instruct and model a variety of strategies to improve fluency and practice these strategies at the word, phrase, structured and unstructured conversational speech levels. Speech-language pathologists also may provide information to parents on strategies to improve their child’s fluency at home.

To learn more about speech therapy, please take a look at our Frequently Asked Questions.

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