Pediatric Speech Language Pathology

Speech-language pathologists diagnose and treat children who have problems with language, hearing, communication and oral functions. They provide individualized treatments for children to help them grow and develop in school and at home.

MaineHealth speech-language pathologists (SLPs) evaluate, diagnose, treat and help prevent language and swallowing disorders in children. Our therapists work with parents, teachers and other care providers to create personal treatment plans that can be included in a child’s daily routine. 

What is pediatric speech therapy and swallowing therapy?

Pediatric speech therapy helps children who have trouble making sounds, putting words together, or who stutter.  Speech therapy can help with oral motor issues, such as feeding, swallowing and chewing. Our SLPs offer the highest level of personal care while helping children learn to help move their lips, mouth, and tongue to make sounds correctly.

What are the signs of a speech or swallowing issue?

Swallowing symptoms in young children

  • Trouble chewing

  • Breastfeeding difficulty

  • Coughing or gagging while eating

  • Spitting up or throwing up often

  • Not wanting to eat or drink

  • Taking a long time to eat (over 30 minutes)

Speech symptoms in young children:

  • Late to say first words

  • Trouble putting sounds together

  • Adding in extra sounds or words

  • Seeming to understand language much more than they are able to express themselves

  • People have a hard time understanding what’s being said

  • Does not stress the right syllables in words

Finding treatment

Talk to your child’s provider or pediatrician about your concerns. Getting treatment early can help improve your child’s progression and development. Your pediatrician will examine your child and may suggest a speech-language pathologist, sometimes known as speech therapist.

Speech-language pathologists work with children in small groups, one on one or sometimes right in the classroom to help develop their language skills. It is important to make sure the therapist is certified by the ASHA (American Speech-Language-Hearing Association).

Get to know the providers

  • Audiologists: Hearing specialists with the tools and training to diagnose and treat problems in your child’s ear.
  • Ear, nose and throat specialists (otolaryngologists): Doctors who treat problems that may affect hearing or speech. Otolaryngologists perform surgery on those parts of the head and neck.
  • Speech-language pathologists: Help people who have trouble speaking or understanding communication.