Pediatric Language Disorders


Speech-language pathologists play a central role in the assessment, diagnosis and treatment of infants and children with communication, swallowing and feeding disorders. The Pediatric Language and Communication Disorders (PLCD) Clinic is a specialty track that offers speech, language and feeding therapy to children with varying diagnoses and behaviors:

  • Autism spectrum disorder
  • Augmentative and alternative communication (AAC)
  • Developmental delay
  • Receptive and expressive language disorder
  • Pragmatic language disorder
  • Avoidance or restriction of food intake
  • Refusal of age-appropriate or developmentally appropriate foods or liquids
  • Acceptance of a restricted variety or quantity of foods or liquids
  • Disruptive or inappropriate mealtime behaviors for developmental level
  • Failure to master self-feeding skills expected for developmental levels
  • Failure to use developmentally appropriate feeding devices and utensils
  • Experience of less than optimal growth


Graphic of the profile of a child's face.



Treatment Options

  • Individualized service plans created in close consultation with families to help children uncover and strengthen skills, allowing them to function to the best of their abilities
  • Behavioral interventions and sensory integration techniques, as needed, while providing speech-language therapy
  • Complete speech-language evaluations, including AAC assessments, for both verbal and nonverbal children as young as six months 
  • Services for adults with cognitive impairments
  • Feeding services for clients who are picky eaters, have food aversion or sensitivity or exhibit oral motor impairment
  • Specialized treatment for clients with sensory, oral aversion and oral motor disorders focused on improving food quality and quantity intake


Pediatric Feeding Disorders

Feeding disorders are problems with a range of eating activities that may or may not include problems with swallowing. The long-term consequences of feeding and swallowing disorders can include:

  • Food aversion
  • Oral aversion
  • Aspiration pneumonia and/or compromised pulmonary status
  • Undernutrition or malnutrition
  • Dehydration
  • Gastrointestinal complications such as motility disorders, constipation and diarrhea
  • Poor weight gain velocity and/or undernutrition
  • Rumination disorder (unintentional and reflexive regurgitation of undigested food that may involve re-chewing and re-swallowing of the food)
  • Ongoing need for enteral (gastrointestinal) or parenteral (intravenous) nutrition
  • Psychosocial effects on the child and family
  • Feeding and swallowing problems that persist into adulthood, including the risk for choking, malnutrition or undernutrition


Clinician in This Area

Laura Barrett headshot

Laura Barrett, CCC-SLP

Primary Supervisor, Pediatric Language and Communication Disorders Track and Social Communication Disorders Track