From birth, children learn to communicate in a variety of ways. They lock eyes with you. They gesture. They babble, and eventually those babbles turn to words, sentences, and questions.
But when your child has a hard time communicating — either because of a language disorder or an underlying medical condition — pediatric speech therapy can help overcome these difficulties.
At Children’s Hospital & Medical Center, our pediatric speech therapy team is ready to begin helping your child even before their first birthday. And we are prepared to help all the way through adolescence.
What Sets Children’s Apart?
At Children’s, we know that every child who comes through our doors is unique, which is why your child’s treatment plan will be tailored to their needs and goals. This means we will:
- Ensure that we understand how your child’s communication challenges are affecting your family and your relationship with your child.
- Use both standardized and informal evaluation tests to determine what types of communication problems exist.
- Discover your child’s communication strengths and weaknesses.
- Develop a treatment plan to improve your child’s ability to communicate.
Children achieve targeted goals, learn functional skills, and show quicker progress when parents and therapists work together. Your active involvement and follow through is key to your child’s success. This can include:
- Making sure a parent or caregiver attends every therapy session
- Practicing skills learned during therapy on a daily basis
- Arriving 15 minutes before your appointment to allow time for check-in
- Attending scheduled appointments: Frequent canceling of appointments will negatively impact your child’s progress, so we expect consistent attendance
During each appointment, your child’s speech therapist will talk with you about:
- Progress towards your child’s goals and recommended plan of care
- Your child’s and family’s successes/challenges in completing home activities
- Activities that you and your child will be working on in preparation for your next session
You are a valuable member of our team and we are here to help you. Please ask any team member if you have questions or need assistance.
Conditions We Treat
Pediatric speech therapy can help with many different medical conditions and disorders, including:
Articulation DisorderArticulation disorders are speech sound disorders. This means your child has difficulty making the sounds that form language, such as syllables. This can stem from physical conditions, like cleft palate or neurological conditions, like apraxia.
ConcussionConcussions are traumatic brain injuries that occur when a blow or jolt to the head or body causes the brain to bounce off of the bony surface of the skull. These are serious injuries that can affect how the brain functions.
Many concussions heal on their own with plenty of rest and limited physical activity. However, depending on the extent of the damage to your child’s brain, your child may need physical, speech, or occupational therapy.
Feeding/Swallowing DisorderFeeding and swallowing disorders can affect your child’s ability to chew, swallow, or move food down the esophagus. These disorders may be caused by health issues — such as cleft palate, asthma, or a heart condition — or by sensory or behavioral problems.
If your child has a feeding or swallowing disorder, speech therapy can help teach them how to strengthening the muscles involved in eating and swallowing, and provide them with the skills needed to address how and what they eat.
Fluency DisorderFluency disorders affect the rate and smoothness of your child’s speech. There are two main types of fluency disorders:
- Stuttering occurs when your child hesitates, pauses, adds interjections (e.g. “uh” or “um”), or repeats words or phrases while speaking
- Cluttering occurs when your child speaks rapidly and/or irregularly (e.g. “I donwangoto bed” rather than “I don’t want to go to bed.”)
Language DisorderIf your child has a language disorder, they may have difficulty understanding what others are saying to them (receptive language), finding the right words to express themselves (expressive language), or both.
Voice DisorderVoice disorders impact the sound, pitch, and volume of your child’s voice. This may be because of physical issues (e.g. nodules on the vocal chords) or functional issues (e.g. fatigue or poor muscle tension).
Our team is also involved with the Cochlear Implant Program, helping children who have received a cochlear implant for a hearing disorder.
What To Do Next
You will need a referral from your child’s primary care provider to schedule an appointment. Once you have a referral, appointments for speech therapy can be made by calling any of our Rehabilitation Services locations.
Children’s Hospital & Medical Center Specialty Pediatric Center
111 N. 84th Street
Omaha, NE 68114
Monday through Thursday: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Friday: 8 a.m. to 12 p.m.
17819 Pierce Plaza
Omaha, NE 68130
Monday through Thursday: 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Friday: 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Outpatient Rehabilitative Services Clinic – Lincoln
5930 Vandervoort Drive, Suite A
Lincoln, NE 68516
Monday through Thursday: 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Please have the following information available when you call to make your appointment:
- Reason for therapy
- Insurance information including: insurance name, member ID number, group number, customer service phone number, and subscriber name
- Name of the referring physician
- Your home, work, and cell phone numbers
For Referring Providers
The physicians’ priority line is your 24-hour link to pediatric specialists at Children’s for referrals, emergency and urgent consults, physician-to-physician consults, admissions, and transport services. Call 855-850-KIDS (5437).
Learn more about referring patients.