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Speech Therapy


Pediatric services

Skiff Medical Center pediatric speech therapy department serves toddlers and children in Newton, Jasper County and the Des Moines area with various types of speech and language disorders. Speech therapy for toddlers and children may include:

  • Articulation (speech sound errors, hard to understand)
  • Receptive/expressive language (understanding what is said, following directions, verbally expressing wants/needs/ideas)
  • Fluency (stuttering)
  • Augmentative communication (picture exchange communication system, or PECS, sign language)

We see toddlers and children who may have been diagnosed with:

  • Autism spectrum disorder
  • Down Syndrome
  • Hearing loss
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Apraxia
  • Speech delay
  • Developmental delays 

The initial evaluation:

  • The speech therapist will visit with parent(s) to try to understand their concerns
  • Background information as well as medical history will be obtained
  • Formalized testing may be completed
  • Therapist will provide ideas/suggestions to parents regarding speech therapy activities to do at home to improve their child’s communication skills
  • Handouts may be provided for parents to read regarding speech and language development
  • If warranted, speech therapy will be scheduled and goals discussed
  • Therapist will try to answer any questions parents may have

Two treatment areas are available for pediatric speech therapy. The larger room, or pediatric gym, provides activities which incorporate sensory stimulation (platform swing, scooter, macaroni tub, etc.) for those patients who need it. The smaller room is ideal for floor or table time. This room has a one-way mirror allowing parents to observe their child or teenager's therapy session and will promote carryover skills at home. During the session, therapists will conduct speech therapy activities for toddlers, elementary, or high school age groups.

Adult services

More than 14 million Americans are affected by speech, language and swallowing disorders. There are many different causes for these problems, some of which include:

  • Stroke
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Neurological diseases (Parkinson’s, ALS, cerebral palsy, etc.)
  • Head and neck cancer
  • Weakness and/or infection
  • Mental retardation
  • Other unknown causes

Some reasons why an adult may need to participate in speech therapy include:

  • Aphasia – Difficulty understanding language or expressing oneself, including decreased reading and writing skills (usually caused by a stroke)
  • Dysarthria – Slurred or tight-sounding speech
  • Apraxia – Difficulty coordinating the movements necessary for speech production
  • Decreased cognition – Difficulty with sequencing, problem-solving, insight, reasoning and memory, due to a change in medical condition
  • Swallowing – Difficulty chewing or swallowing food and/or liquids

What will happen when you come to see a speech therapist?

  • You will be asked to give a complete history of your problem
  • The therapist may administer tests as appropriate
  • You will work together with the therapist to design goals that will help to improve your functioning
  • If swallowing is a concern, the therapist might recommend a video swallow study in Skiff's Radiology department

Speech therapists

Why consult a speech therapist?

By the virtue of their education, professional certification, and licensure, speech therapists are the most qualified professionals to assess speech, language and swallowing disorders. They can then recommend the appropriate speech therapy or apraxia treatment.

Qualified speech therapists:

  • Hold a master's degree from an accredited university.
  • Have special training in identification, assessment, and treatment of speech, language, and swallowing disorders.
  • Have completed a full-time internship.
  • Have passed a demanding national competency examination.
  • Have a state licensure, where required.

Skiff Medical Center employs two speech therapists who can provide you or your loved one with a wide range of evaluation and treatment of the following:

  • Speech and language disorders, including apraxia and autism spectrum disorders
  • Swallowing problems
  • Voice disorders
  • Augmentative communication needs and devices
  • Speech therapy for stroke victims

Contact us

To learn more about speech therapy for autism, stroke victims, toddlers, other individuals or conditions, call (641) 791-4380 or e-mail speech therapist Lissa Ohrt, MS-CCC/SLP, at lohrt@skiffmed.com.

Skiff Medical Center
204 N. 4th Ave E.
Newton, Iowa 50208
Phone: (641) 792-1273
Toll-free: (888) 792-1273

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At Skiff, the best care is close to home.
Skiff Medical Center, a member of Mercy Health Network, is located in Newton, Iowa. We provide services to Jasper County residents in all major health areas, including general surgery, orthopedic surgery, radiology, obstetrics, emergency medicine, hospice, home care, laboratory, respiratory, audiology, physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy. The Skiff Specialty Clinic hosts more than 20 physicians specializing in cardiology, dermatology, ENT, gastroenterology, nephrology, neurology, oncology, pulmonology and urology.
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