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How are speech impairments diagnosed?

Dr. Jeanne Morrison, PhD
Family Practitioner

Children and adults who are suspected of having speech impairments will have their speech evaluated by a speech-language pathologist. Sometimes an exam that includes speech and language tests and a discussion of medical history with this expert is enough to diagnose a condition, while other times further testing into the causes of speech impairment is necessary. For instance, hearing tests may be performed to see if hearing loss is the cause of the impairment.

Rebecca Jarzynski
Speech Therapy Specialist

Speech impairments are usually diagnosed by a speech-language therapist. People are often referred to a speech and language therapist by their doctor, who will help them find a speech therapist that will work with them. Speech therapists work in a variety of settings, such as, but not limited to: early intervention programs (for toddlers), schools (for school age children), clinics (for those with a medical diagnosis), and hospitals (for those who have had strokes or other illness/injury).

Amy Reno
Pediatrician

The parents, the pediatrician and/or your child's teacher can refer your child for an evaluation with a Speech Language Pathologist. The Speech Language Pathologist (SLP) will see your child for a speech and language evaluation. This "evaluation" usually takes approximately 1.5-2 hours and is very specific to the concerns you have regarding your child's speech and/or language. The SLP will do a series of age appropriate tests/games/activities to find the exact abilities of your child. The SLP will also look closely at your child's mouth, including the lips, cheeks, jaw and tongue. Typically the SLP will go over some of the findings with the parents immediately following the evaluation. The SLP will also send a thorough report to you within the next couple of weeks. Most SLP's will give parents some activities/homework to begin working on immediately to improve their child's speech and/or language abilities.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.