The speech-language pathologist specializes in communication disorders.
She or he helps children learn to communicate, to say words clearly, and to understand and use language. Some children may need to use “augmentative communication devices” to communicate. These devices range from simple communication boards with pictures to more complex machines that “speak” for the child. The speech-language pathologist also facilitates oral motor development for eating, drinking and talking.
The physical therapist is a specialist in gross motor (large muscle) activity used for balance, movement, coordination, strength and range of motion. The focus of physical therapy is to assist clients to attain, improve, or maintain their maximum level of functional movement. A physical therapist also helps with special equipment that assist clients in moving more freely throughout their environment.
The occupational therapist specializes in fine motor (small muscle) skills, oral motor skills, cognitive perceptual skills, visual-motor coordination, visual-spatial processing and daily self-care tasks including: feeding, dressing, toileting, and functional mobility. Occupational therapists also work with children who have difficulty processing sensory information. Sensory processing is a neurological process of organizing sensations for our use in everyday life.
Also called special instruction, it includes the design of learning environments and activities that promote the child’s acquisition of skills in cognitive, social, emotional, and behavioral areas of development. The developmental therapist provides families with informational skills, and support related to enhancing the skill.