• Speech Pathology
  • Appointments


  • Additional Information

    We accept referrals from parents, physician offices, behavioral health programs and local school programs. In-house (inpatient) patients are seen upon physician consult. Appointments for outpatient testing are scheduled throughout the week in a variety of time slots.

Pediatric Language and Speech Therapy in North Carolina

Speech-language pathologists at Brenner Children's Hospital specialize in treating children who have speech and language problems, including motor speech disorders, verbal delays, or difficulties communicating that result from brain injury or other disease.

We customize therapies based on each individual child. As part of the initial evaluation, we perform an oral motor examination and have the child do simple activities like respond to questions, name objects, repeat words and perform reading and writing tasks. We make these activities fun for the child and then use this information to create a personalized therapeutic treatment plan.

Speech and Language Conditions We Treat

Motor Speech DisordersMotor SPeech Disorders_KarenL_125px

Motor speech disorders can make it difficult for children to clearly and effectively express themselves, which can be very frustrating. Children with motor speech disorders may know what they want to say, but cannot say the right words. The two types of motor speech disorders are:

  • Dysarthria - Dysarthria occurs when the muscles of the mouth, face and respiratory system are weak, move slowly or do not move at all. People may refer to dysarthric speech as slurred speech.

  • Apraxia - Children with apraxia of speech have trouble sequencing the sounds in syllables and words. Sometimes a child cannot say a word, and then later the child can say the same word without any difficulty. Children with apraxia have problems imitating words but often can produce automatic speech without any problem (for example, saying "hello," "I'm fine," "OK," etc.).

If a child has problems speaking clearly because of weak muscles, our speech-language pathologists may perform oral exercises and teach strategies to improve the clarity and rhythm of speech.

Receptive/Expressive Language DelaysReceptive_Expressive..AgeDelay_125px

Children with receptive language deficits demonstrate difficulty understanding what is spoken to them. They may have trouble following directions, answering questions and identifying commons objects in their environment. 

Children with expressive language deficits exhibit difficulty communicating their wants or needs. They may have difficulty naming common objects, combining words into sentences for communication and asking questions.

Articulation and Phonological Processing DisordersArticulation_Phonolog..Disorders_125px

Our outpatient speech-language pathologists are highly trained to evaluate and treat articulation disorders, articulation delays and problems with phonological processing in children. An articulation disorder involves problems making sounds. Sounds can be substituted, left off, added or changed. These errors may make it hard for people to understand you. Young children often make speech errors. For instance, many young children sound like they are making a "w" sound for an "r" sound (e.g., "wabbit" for "rabbit") or may leave sounds out of words, such as "nana" for "banana." The child may have an articualtion disorder if these errors continue past the expected age. Not all sound substitutions and omissions are speech errors. Instead, they may be related to a fewture of a dialect or accent. For example, speakers of African American Vernacular English (AAVE) may use a "d" sounds for a "th" sound (e.g., "dis" for "this"). This is not a speech sound disorder, but rather one of the phonological features of AAVE. A phonological process disorder involves patterns of sound errors. For example, substituting all sounds made in the back of the mouth like "k" and "g" for those in the front of the mouth  like "t" and "d" (e.g., saying "tup" for "cup" or "das" for "gas"). Another rule of speech is that some words start with two consonants, such as broken spoon. When children don't follow this rule and say only one of the sounds ("boken" for broken or "poon" for spoon), it is more difficult for the listener to understand the child. While it is common for young children learning speech to leave one of the sounds out of the word, it is not expected as a child gets older. If a child continues to demonstrate such cluster reduction, he or she may have a phonological process disorder. Information about Articulation and Phonological Processing taken from the American Speech and Hearing Association website:

Stuttering (Fluency Disorder)Stuttering_Fluency Disorder_125px

Stuttering can be frustrating and embarrassing for children. It is an abnormally high frequency and/or duration of stops in the forward flow of speech, usually with hesitations, repetition of whole words and repeated phrases. Although it typically begins in early childhood, onset of stuttering can occur at any time during life.

Tracheostomy and Speaking ValveTracheostomy_SpeakingValve_125px

In some cases, a Passy Muir Speaking Valve (PMV) is appropriate for hcildren who have a tracheotomy (breathing tube). This device allows voicing and coughing, and enhances swallow function. Our speech-language pathologists work closely with the physicians and respiratory therapists to place PMVs as appropriate for the child, and we thoroughly evaluate tolerance with the valve. We provide children and caregivers with thorough education regarding use and care of the valve.

Brain InjuriesBrain Injuries_Ana_125px_croppd

Children with brain injuries may have trouble communicating, completing tasks or understanding activities that they used to be able to do. Therapy often targets comprehension activities. 

Cochlear ImplantsCochlear Implants_125px_crpd

Our speech-language pathologists work together with audiologists and ENT/head and neck surgeons to perform evaluations on children who may benefit from cochlear implants. They perform speech, vocabulary and language testing before and after implantation and conduct yearly follow-up evaluations. We also help children who have cochlear implants develop new communication strategies. Learn about our pediatric cochlear implant program.

Cleft PalateCleft Palate_125px_croppd

We have a clinic, paired with Wake Forest Baptist's plastic surgery team, to treat communication and swallowing deficits specific to children with a cleft lip and/or palate. Learn more about cleft palate.

Augmentative and Alternative CommunicationAugmentative-Alterna..comm._125px

Our speech-language pathologists provide pediatric evaluations for children who are not able to communicate verbally, either as a result of developmental delay or acquired brain injury. We help identify and select the most appropriate augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) device for each patient. Learn more about AAC.


  • Speech Pathology
  • Appointments


  • Additional Information

    We accept referrals from parents, physician offices, behavioral health programs and local school programs. In-house (inpatient) patients are seen upon physician consult. Appointments for outpatient testing are scheduled throughout the week in a variety of time slots.