Pediatric Evaluation and Treatment
Areas of Expertise
Expressive and Receptive Language Disorders
Language disorders impair a person's ability to formulate, process, and express their thoughts and ideas out loud, or in written form. "Language" is an umbrella term that encompasses many specific skills including prelinguistic skills (e.g., joint attention, sharing interest, etc.), para-linguistic skills (e.g., gestures, signs, body language), listening, understanding, reading and literacy, using words appropriately, producing age-appropriate phrases or sentences, engaging with peers socially, and using age-appropriate grammar. I guide families in helping children unlock his/her inner voice.
Feeding and Swallowing Disorders
Feeding disorders may or may not be accompanied by problems with swallowing, but typically include picky eating, behaviors disruptive to meal-times, aversions to certain food textures or types of foods, failure to use developmentally appropriate utensils, and less than typical growth or weight. Swallowing disorders (also called dysphagia) involves difficulties with various phases of swallowing (e.g., oral, oral-pharyngeal, pharyngeal, esophageal). Causes may be due to delayed or disordered chewing, limited sensation, difficulties drinking, ect. and could be accompanied by symptoms of gagging or vomiting.
Fluency disorders are frequently referred to as, "stuttering," and is characterized by a disruption in the flow of speech, including sound prolongations, repetitions, and/or blockage of sounds, syllables, words, or phrases. Disfluent speech is experienced by everyone on occasion and is considered normal, but I can help to determine if treatment is necessary through a thorough assessment that includes speech fluency, language factors, emotional/attitudinal components, and the impact that stuttering has on an individual's life.
Social delays refers to an impairment in the ability to communicate and interact with others effectively, characterized by limited eye contact, joint attention, imitation in play, turn-taking, and sharing. I focus on working with families to support non-verbal language and peer-to-peer interaction. I work with a variety of needs from Down syndrome, autism spectrum disorder (ASD), sensory processing disorder, and neurogenic disorders.
Articulation and Phonological Disorders
As children learn to produce new words, it is common for him/her to make mistakes. A speech sound disorder occurs when these mistakes continue past a certain age. Articulation disorders focus on speech sound errors such as distortions and substitutions (child produces /w/ for /r/ or "wabbit" for "rabbit"). Phonological disorders focus on predictable, rule-based errors such as fronting, stopping, and final consonant deletions, that affect more than one sound. Children with phonological disorders are at an increased risk for difficulties acquiring literacy skills once they are of school-age.
Childhood Apraxia of Speech
Childhood Apraxia of Speech (CAS) is a motor speech disorder in which the child's brain has difficulty coordinating the complex oral movements needed to produce sounds, syllable, and words. These difficulties are not due to muscle weakness or paralysis, but rather a disconnect between the brain the body parts (e.g., lips, jaw, tongue) needed for speech. The child knows what he/she wants to say, but his/her brain has difficulty coordinating the muscle movements necessary to produce these sounds, syllables, and words. Children with CAS are often extremely difficult to understand. CAS is often confused with other speech sound disorders and can only be diagnosed by a Speech and Language Pathologist.
Initial Assessment: I understand the importance of communication and determine speech and language therapy goals through a comprehensive assessment. Using parent interview, play observation, formal and information assessment tools, I create a custom treatment plan to support communication success.
Review of Results: Post assessment process includes a full evaluation report, plan of treatment, and consultation to review strengths, areas of need, and discuss frequency of services.
Therapy Plan: Frequency of services is determined on a case by case basis. Therapy sessions are 30 minutes in length, at the frequency of 1-2 days per week depending on the child's needs.
You choose your preferred service delivery method: in-home, community, school, or after school.
All sessions include time for parent training and/or explanation of home programming in the last 5 minutes.
Payments are due at time of service (in-home, community, and after school) for private-pay, or may be paid in advance (school sessions must be paid in advance). I currently accept Highmark insurance and private payment ONLY.
I DO accept cash, checks, credit cards, and health savings account cards (HSA). I am happy to provide a superbill upon request, in which I provide appropriate codes for the services rendered that you would then submit to your insurance company for "possible" reimbursement. I only deal directly with Highmark insurance, and do not deal directly with any other insurance companies at this time.
I individually design therapy sessions for each client, involve caregivers in each session, and teach parents and caregivers how to address communication needs throughout daily routines to promote the most optimal amount of progress.
I can meet you anywhere in the community from parks, to play groups, to stores and restaurants in order to help with increasing social skills and generalizing skills across all settings.
I believe in working around a family unit and their unique schedules. I offer on-site speech therapy in your child's daycare, or preschool. If a parent is unable to attend sessions, I provide detailed daily session notes for carryover of skills into the home.
To serve our school aged population, I have expanded our availability to provide flexible scheduling during after school hours either on location, or in the home.
This the perfect option for children receiving online learning but benefit best from face to face services.