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Pavilion West
6569 N. Charles St
Suite 402
Towson, MD 21204
Park:Daffodil — (Directions)
Mon - Fri
9:00AM - 4:00PM

Sat - Sun

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Pediatric Speech-Swallowing and Voice

What is a speech-language pathologist?

Speech-language pathologists diagnose and provide treatment for children and adults with a variety of speech-language, cognitive, voice, and feeding/swallowing problems.

Our Team

Select a provider below to learn more
Melissa Bidlack, MS, MM, CCC-SLP
Melissa Bidlack, MS, MM, CCC-SLP
Speech Coordinator
Stephanie Kwiatkowski, MS, CCC-SLP
Stephanie Kwiatkowski, MS, CCC-SLP
Speech-Language Pathologist
Deirdre O'Mara, MS, CCC-SLP
Deirdre O'Mara, MS, CCC-SLP
Speech-Language Pathologist
Claire Wilson, MSP, CCC-SLP, CLC
Claire Wilson, MSP, CCC-SLP, CLC
Senior Speech-Language Pathologist

Our Services

Our pediatric speech-language pathologists at the Milton J. Dance Jr. Head and Neck Center evaluate and treat children of all ages who have difficulty communicating.


Children who need help with their speech development may be hard to understand. They may have trouble saying sounds and words correctly or may not be speaking at all. At our Center pediatric speech pathologists specialize in helping children with a variety of speech problems including: articulation difficulty, apraxia of speech, phonological processing disorders, stuttering, voice disorders, and speech-resonance issues associated with cleft lip and palate.


Children who need help with language development may struggle with understanding spoken or written information such as directions, questions, and stories (receptive language). They may have trouble using words or symbols to communicate, using correct grammar, or may not speak at all (expressive language). Children with language disorders or delays may also have trouble with social communication (pragmatics) and have trouble interacting with others, making proper eye contact, or staying on topic. Our pediatric speech-language pathologists specialize in helping children who have language difficulty due to these communication barriers.

Feeding and Swallowing Services

What are feeding and swallowing disorders?

Children with feeding and swallowing disorders may present with a variety of symptoms including:
  • Refusal of different textured foods
  • Prolonged feeding times
  • Excess drooling or spilling of food and liquids from the mouth
  • Frequent spitting up
  • Wet, gurgly voice or breath sounds
  • Coughing or gagging during meals
  • Recurrent pneumonia and/or respiratory infections
  • Slow weight gain
  • Younger children may demonstrate stiffening of body, irritability, and/or lack of alertness during feeding
(American Speech Language and Hearing Association, 1997-2003)


Preparing for Your Child’s Evaluation
  • Please complete the Speech-Language Developmental History Packet.
  • Plan to arrive 15 minutes early to check-in and complete any paperwork.
  • It is preferable that siblings not accompany your child to the appointment so that we can obtain your child’s full attention.
  • Please bring any relevant information or documentation with you including: hearing tests, previous speech-language evaluations, educational testing, neuropsychological testing, developmental evaluations, and current or previous individualized family service plans (IFSP) or individualized education plans (IEP).
  • Your child may also bring a favorite toy to the evaluation, as long as it will not be distracting from the evaluation.
  • If you need to cancel or reschedule your appointment for any reason please call 443-849-2087 as soon as possible.
  • Your child’s speech and language may be assessed using formal tests, observation, parent interview and play as appropriate for your child.
  • Please allow 2 hours for the evaluation to be completed.
  • At the end of the evaluation we will provide information about your child’s speech-language abilities and develop with you a personalized plan to address your child’s speech-language needs. This may include appropriate medical, educational, and therapy recommendations, ideas for home practice, and answer any questions you may have. A written report will be mailed to you and your child’s doctor following the evaluation.

What happens during a feeding and swallowing evaluation?

Prior to the evaluation

Parents complete a questionnaire regarding their concerns and the child's medical, developmental, and educational history. We will request medical information from your child's pediatrician, and may also request information from other medical or educational professionals who have evaluated your child. You may be asked to keep a food diary for several days and bring this on the day of the evaluation.

During the evaluation

Your child's medical, developmental, and feeding history is carefully reviewed. Parents are interviewed regarding their concerns and the child's history. This information helps the speech-language pathologist identify areas to evaluate more closely. Your child will be provided with an age-appropriate snack (you may be asked to bring in favorite foods and feeding utensils from home). The speech-language pathologist will assess your child's oral structures and movements, sensory responses to food and touch, posture and positioning, oral movements during eating and drinking, swallowing, and behavioral responses. Parents are encouraged to observe during the evaluation.

Following the evaluation

Initial results of the evaluation and recommendations are reviewed with you (and your child if age appropriate). A written report detailing evaluation results will be mailed to your home and to your child's physician. The report will include a detailed analysis of your child's feeding/ swallowing behaviors. If your child has indications of a feeding/ swallowing disorder, an individualized plan of care will be developed with you, your child, and the physician. The plan may include recommendations for special instrumental diagnostic tests to further evaluate your child's feeding/ swallowing. Treatment varies greatly depending on the causes and symptoms of the feeding-swallowing problem.

Specialized Diagnostic Evaluation and Treatment Modalities

State-of the art diagnostic and treatment modalities are available to provide the most effective assessment and treatment to meet your child's speech-language needs. The following are available at our center: Palatography, Computerized Speech Lab, Nasometry, Ultrasound, Endoscopy, and Videofluroscopy.


Speech therapy may or may not be covered based on your child’s diagnosis and insurance plan. Your insurance plan may require a referral, a prescription, a co-pay, a deductible, co-insurance, and /or pre-certification for a certain number of visits each year or for a specific period of time. Your insurance plan may require that you receive services at a provider other than the Dance Center. You may be required to make a co-payment at the time of your visit.

Insurance coverage for speech therapy varies with each insurance plan and group. Please contact your insurance carrier to determine your plan benefits and eligibility for outpatient speech therapy. It is recommended that you specifically ask about any plan exclusions related to speech therapy or certain diagnosis codes (provided by your therapist after the evaluation). Our insurance specialist will also contact your insurance company to verify coverage and ask about your plan benefits. However, the best information frequently comes from your direct contact with your insurance provider.
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