Speech Language Pathology

What Is A Speech Language Pathologist?
Speech Language Pathologists are regulated health professionals, licensed with the College of Audiologists and Speech Language Pathologists of Ontario (CASLPO). At the Children’s Treatment Centre, Speech Language Pathologists work with children from 0-19 years experiencing difficulties in the areas of speech, language and/or communication as well as feeding and swallowing, to help them achieve their maximum potential. Speech Language Pathologists complete an evaluation that can include an assessment of language components such as vocabulary and sentence structure, speech components such as articulation and dysfluency (stuttering), overall communication which includes the effectiveness of the child’s communication attempts as well as feeding and swallowing skills with a variety of foods and textures.

The Speech Language Pathologist may then provide suggestions to promote speech and language, foster more enriched communication and increase participation in daily activities and routines at home, school, daycare and in the community. Speech Language Pathologists also work with Communicative Disorders Assistants (CDA) or Rehabilitation Assistants who carry out therapy plans set out by the therapist.

Types of Therapy Services
The type(s) of intervention chosen will depend on the needs of the child, parents and caregivers.

  • Direct therapy
  • Monitoring in which the therapist trains someone else involved with the child on a more regular basis to carry out the therapy plan. The therapist is in regular contact with the person who carries out the program.
  • Consultation with parents, caregivers, day care staff, school staff, etc.
  • Collaboration with children and their families, caregivers, daycare and school staff, paediatricians and other agencies to provide individualized treatment plans suited to the child and family’s strengths and needs.
  • Development of home programs for use by parents, caregivers, day care staff, school staff
  • Parent/caregiver education and training

Frequently Asked Questions

What causes a speech and language disorder?
Unfortunately, there is not a straight answer to this question as there are many possible “causes” for a speech and/or language disorder in children. Some are obvious and some are still uncertain. Some causes are: hearing loss; chronic ear infections; congenital birth defects; brain injury before, during or after birth; stroke; syndromes; global developmental delay; delayed development related to prematurity; oral motor weakness or disorders; motor planning disorder; physical deformities; and muscle disorders to name a few. Some children are delayed in language/communication for no apparent reason. They may be developing in a typical progression at a slower pace.

What is the difference between the Children’s Treatment Centre, (CTC) and Wordplay?
CTC and Wordplay both provide speech and language services to preschoolers under the provincial Preschool Speech and Language Initiative. The difference between the 2 services is the populations we serve. CTC provides a full range of speech language services to preschool children who:

  • are also referred for and receiving ongoing physiotherapy and /or occupational therapy services
  • have a diagnosis of Down Syndrome
  • have a diagnosis of Cleft Lip and Palate
  • require a feeding/swallowing evaluation
  • are non verbal requiring Assistive Communication Services

Wordplay provides a full range of speech language services to any preschool child who lives in the Sudbury/Manitoulin District up to 70 months of age. Services are provided to children in junior kindergarten who have been referred prior to school entry in September.

Why would the Speech Language Pathologist use gestures, signs or pictures if my main goal is for my child to talk?
The Speech Language Pathologist may recommend the use of gestures, signs or pictures as a way to assist a child to express themselves in a way that they are able to when the words are not coming easily or quickly. By providing another way for a child to say what they want to say, frustration can be reduced and confidence gained. Sometimes this is a temporary step and may encourage a child to attempt to imitate the words they hear as the adult uses the gesture, sign or picture and word(s) together.