Education Station  Speech Therapy  Who diagnoses communication disorders in children and how is it determined that a child has a disorder?

Speech-language pathologists (speech therapists) diagnose and treat or remediate communication disorders in children. In the United States, they are licensed by the American Speech-Language Hearing Association. In Canada, they are licensed by the Canadian Association of Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists. Links to Audiology and Speech-Pathology Associations worldwide.

Developmental pediatricians and pediatric neurologists will also sometimes diagnose a speech or language disorder and refer you to a speech therapist for treatment.

The assessment is made by using a combination of parent input, looking at the child's physical oral motor structures, and engaging the child in communication.

Recommendations of frequency of speech therapy are made based upon the severity of the speech disorder and typically range from speech therapy once a week for a half hour to speech therapy four or five times per week for an hour per session.

For more information, see:

Speech-Language Assessments

Speech Therapy Matrix (recommendations of frequency of speech therapy)

Finding a speech-language pathologist or other professional

Speech Disorder Diagnosis Destination (information about specific communication disorders in children)