"The child begins to perceive the world not only through his eyes, but also through his speech."
                                                                      Lev Vygotsky
?What is speech therapy
Speech therapy involves a wide range of disorders. The most common three disorders include:

  • SPEECH PRODUCTION DISORDERS: a speech production disorder refers to a problem with the actual production of sounds.
  • LANGUAGE DISORDERS: a language disorder refers to a problem understanding others (receptive language) and/or sharing thoughts, ideas, and feelings (expressive language).
  • FEEDING/SWALLOWING DISORDERS: a feeding disorder refers to oral or pharyngeal phase dysphasia. This also includes sensory feeding disorders.

Our pediatric speech therapists specialize in the treatment of children ranging from birth to 18 years of age.

Feeding and Swallowing Disorders 
What are feeding disorders?

Feeding and swallowing disorders can occur at different stages of the swallowing process:
  • Oral Phase: sucking, chewing, and moving food or liquid into the throat
  • Pharyngeal Phase: starting the swallow, squeezing food down the throat and closing off the airway to prevent food or liquid from entering the airway (aspiration) or to prevent choking
  • Esophageal Phase: relaxing and tightening the openings at the top and bottom of the esophagus and squeezing food through the stomach

​​What are some signs and symptoms of feeding and swallowing disorders in children?

  • Arching or stiffing the body during feeding
  • Irritability or lack of alertness during feeding
  • Refusing food or liquid
  • Failure to accept different textures of food (e.g., only pureed food or crunchy cereals)
  • Long feeding times (e.g., more than 30 minutes)
  • Difficulty chewing
  • Difficulty breast feeding
  • Coughing or gagging during meals
  • Excessive drooling or food/liquid coming out of the mouth or nose
  • Difficulty coordinating breathing with eating and drinking
  • Increased congestion during meals
  • Gurgly, hoarse, or breathy voice quality
  • Recurring pneumonia or respiratory infections
  • ​Less than normal weight gain or growth

Our therapists provide exceptional services in the area of feeding and swallowing disorders. The following approaches are used during therapy:
  • Food Chaining
  • Sequential Oral Sensory Approach to Feeding (SOS)
  • Affiliation with UAMS Centers for Children involving monthly collaboration with a registered dietician and psychologist

What Causes
Communication Disorders
When one or more of the speech and language processes are disrupted, a communication disorder may result. Often the cause of a speech and language disorder cannot be determined. The following may cause a communication disorder:

  • Brain injury or disease
  • Autism
  • Hearing loss
  • Neurological disorders
  • Cerebral Palsy
  • Drug abuse
  • Vocal abuse
  • Oral-facial malformations such as cleft-palate
  • Environmental factors
  • Neglect or abuse
  • Lack of stimulation
  • Poor speech-language modeling
  • ​Prevalence of speech and language disorders

It is estimated that 1 of every 10 Americans is affected by communication disorders, including speech, language, and hearing. An estimated 2% of all newborns each year have a disabling condition, and many of these children will have speech or language delays and disorders that may have a major impact on their personal, academic, or social life.