Speech-Language and Learning

Speech-Language and Learning

Service to the Community Since 1921

At Cleveland Hearing & Speech Center, our speech-language pathologists provide comprehensive services to help children and adults develop or regain effective listening, speaking, reading and writing skills.

We provide a variety of services to promote effective communication among people of all ages and ability levels. Starting with infants and toddlers, we work to develop speech-language skills that will serve as the child's foundation for all future learning. We assist parents by teaching strategies used to help children build strong listening, speaking, reading and writing skills as they grow. We help adults who have lost communication abilities due to stroke or other neurological diseases, as well as those who want to improve speaking or interpersonal communication skills.

Speech-Language Screenings

Early detection and intervention with speech and language issues has been shown to improve communication skills before reading and/or behavioral problems arise. CHSC clinicians provide screenings primarily at locations in the community, including preschools, day care centers, private schools and Head Start programs. We also can conduct screenings in our offices. Screenings are a brief assessment of speech-language and hearing abilities that help us determine whether you or your child might need a more comprehensive evaluation.

Speech-Language Evaluations

Comprehensive speech-language evaluations involve an in-depth analysis of:

  • Speech production (including sound production, speech fluency/stuttering)
  • Language comprehension (listening and/or reading)
  • Language use (including verbal, written and social communication skills)
  • Voice quality

We also provide evaluations in certain specialty areas. For individuals who are unable to communicate verbally, we can assess their abilities for various augmentative-alternative communication devices (also called speech-generating devices). Our speech-language pathologists can complete a language-learning evaluation for older children who may have language-based learning disabilities. However, some children may benefit from an even more comprehensive assessment by a neuropsychologist. 

Speech-Language Interventions

When the results of an evaluation reveal the need for intervention, we discuss all options with the family. At CHSC, we offer individual or group therapy sessions. We inform consumers of services that may be available through schools and other agencies in the community.

Individual treatment is provided with your input or that of the primary caregiver. An individualized treatment plan is developed to address your long-term goals and short-term objectives. This plan is reviewed frequently and modified as needed based on the client's progress. 

Group treatment is utilized to improve communication skills, provide an opportunity for peer-learning and carry over skills with other communication partners. CHSC offers therapeutic and support groups.  

Additional Services We Provide

  • Community education through lectures in the community and participation in area health fairs
  • Community-based services (screenings, evaluations and intervention) for Head Start programs, schools and day care centers
  • Support groups for survivors of stroke or traumatic brain injury. Click here to learn more about our Speak Easy Support Group
  • Parent training and education
  • Dispensing SpeechEasy Device (anti-stuttering device). Click here to learn more about our Fluency Enhancing Devices
  • Equipment loaning program (you can borrow devices such as voice amplifiers, speech-generating devices, etc.) 

Where You Will Find Us

We offer services at three office locations (University Circle, South Euclid, Broadview Heights, and Westlake). Additionally, we provide services at various schools, day care centers and Head Start programs throughout Cuyahoga, Lake and Geauga counties. We do provide in-home services on an individual basis pending clinical availability.  

Services for Adults

Services for Adults

Adults with various communication challenges seek our services. The individuals we serve may have developmental delays or communication problems frequently associated with medical conditions such as autism, Down syndrome or other genetic disorders, cerebral palsy, stroke or progressive central nervous system diseases (such as Parkinson's disease, multiple sclerosis, etc.). 

On the other hand, some adults who have no identified disorder seek our services to help them improve pronunciation of the English language or to improve their public speaking skills, vocal projection and other professional or interpersonal communication skills. 

Common Disorders

There are many different disorders that may be associated with changes in communication abilities. Some, such as apraxia or dysarthria, affect speech-sound production; others, such as aphasia, may affect your ability to understand or use language, making it difficult to understand people or to express your own ideas. Common communication disorders include:

  • Aphasia (language disorders acquired following stroke)
  • Apraxia or dysarthria (speech disorders acquired following stroke)
  • Cognitive-communication disorders (often following traumatic brain injury)
  • Deafness or hearing loss affecting speech production
  • Fluency disorder (stuttering)
  • Nonverbal communication needs (augmentative/alternative devices)
  • Stuttering
  • Voice disorders 

In addition to a variety of treatments and devices to assist with these changes in communication abilities, we also offer these support programs:

Communication Improvement

Adults who do not have any specific disorders may contact us for intervention in the following areas:  

  • Foreign accent modification
  • Professional communication
  • Reading and writing (literacy)

Comprehensive assessments are offered in all of these areas.

Accent Modification Program

Success in life and business depends on one's ability to communicate clearly and effectively. The purpose of the accent modification program through the Cleveland Hearing and Speech Center (CHSC) is to shape your accent to sound more like Standard American English. Every cultural group has its own melodic pattern (pitch, stress pattern, tone) and linguistic features (grammar, speech sound repertoire) for speaking. When someone learns a second language like English, it is normal to speak it in the style of your first language which is what constitutes an accent. We start with examining the cultural and linguistic features of your first language and how that impacts your production of English. We also examine your pronunciation of sounds and the muscular force you use in your speech which further contributes to accentedness. Collaboratively, we then create an individualized program to shape your accent so that you can speak with greater clarity and confidence. You will be instructed by a speech-language pathologist who specializes in accent reduction and will help you become a more effective communicator.

Click here to learn more about the program.

Northeast Ohio Adults Communicating Together (NEO-ACT)

NEO-ACT is a one-of-a-kind program developed by Cleveland Hearing & Speech Center for adults with communication disorders related to: 

  • Stroke
  • Brain Injury 
  • Aneurysm 
  • Parkinson's Disease 
  • Dementia 
  • Alzheimer's Disease 
  • Other Neurological Conditions

NEO-ACT is designed to provide individuals with communication difficulties (and their caregivers) an opportunity to improve quality of life through participation in activities that provide enrichment for listening, speaking, reading, writing, and socialization. 

Click here to learn more about our NEO-ACT program.

Services for Children

Services for Children

As a community-based agency, we strive to serve as many people as possible. Given the broad scope of practice, our consumers span all ages, ability levels and medical diagnoses. Children (infant to 17 years) are regularly seen at CHSC offices, in schools, day care programs, and Head Start programs.

Common Pediatric Communication Disorders

  • Apraxia of speech
  • Articulation or phonological disorder
  • Dysarthria (slurred speech)
  • Language delay or disorder
  • Language-learning disabilities (language-based reading and writing differences)
  • Nonverbal communication needs (augmentative/alternative devices)
  • Social skills impairments
  • Speech, language or reading difficulties associated with deafness or hearing loss
  • Voice or resonance disorders (including those common with cleft palate)

Treatment of Pediatric Communication Disorders

When therapy is recommended, following an evaluation, the clinician will work with you to develop a treatment plan that is based on your child's individual goals. You will participate in developing the plan and be active in the treatment process as you work to help your child develop effective communication skills.

Treatment may be conducted in individual or group sessions, depending on your child's goals and the best practices in treating the communication difficulties. We strongly encourage family involvement and enjoy working with you and the people with whom your child interacts most frequently. With your permission, we will include training and education for family members, caregivers and others as needed.

Treatment sessions may be 30 to 60 or 90 minutes and may occur once to three times weekly, depending on the treatment program. The overall duration of treatment is estimated after the initial assessment and adjusted as your child progresses through the program.

Look Who’s Talking! Parent-Toddler Communication Play Group

A critical period of development is your child's first five years!

Looking to have fun with your toddler – or – looking for a new playgroup space? You can find both with Look Who’s Talking at CHSC. Build vocabulary and learn new strategies to help your child become a successful communicator. A CHSC certified Speech-Language Pathologist (SLP) will provide tips and tricks that focus on:

  • Language enrichment strategies to use at home during your daily routine
  • Modeling developmentally appropriate speech sounds
  • Identifying social skills needed for play time with peers
  • Pre-literacy skills to prepare for preschool

Look Who’s Talking at CHSC

  • Thursdays 9:00 am – 10:00 am for 5 consecutive weeks (Schedule varies based on needs of family groups.  Currently, programs are being offered in the community with Early Childhood PTA groups, Lake Erie Nature & Science Center, and the Upside of Downs)
  • Play time with other children ages 15 months to 3 years
  • SLP trained in Hanen Lanugage Principles
  • Maximum 6 children per group

Look Who’s Talking is not a therapy program. If you have concerns about your child’s speech or language development, please call 216-231-8787 and ask for the Look Who’s Talking program. 

Parent-Toddler Therapy Group

The Parent-Toddler Therapy Group is designed for toddlers who have a delay in speech-language development. This 90-minute weekly session uses family-friendly and natural language strategies based on the Hanen Centre’s principles.

Between the ages of 12 months and 3 years, children develop rapidly. When there is a delay in speech-language development, therapy can be helpful. Since young children spend most of their time with parents or caregivers, the most effective therapy includes the adults in their life in the process.

Parents and caregivers provide important input regarding their child’s communication needs at home and treatment goals are developed accordingly. In addition to working directly with the child toward developing vocabulary and communication skills, parents are coached to feel comfortable communicating with their child in a way that helps to develop his/her skills. Parents feel more confident in understanding their children and in using effective strategies for developing communication skills in their children.

Parent-Toddler Therapy Groups are facilitated by Speech-Language Pathologists (SLPs) who are effective at teaching the adult caregiver(s) successful strategies for improving language in their toddlers at home. The group is staffed by a licensed, certified, speech-language pathologist with some assistance by graduate students from Case Western Reserve University. Five to eight toddlers and their parents participate in a group. The format of the group is 60-90 minutes of child-directed, free-play, a structured group activity, a song time, and a group snack time. 

Through play and structured learning activities, children are exposed to vocabulary and simple sentences to communicate their wants and needs. Parents learn how to help their child use words and phrases. SLPs work directly with the children to provide models for parents to observe, and then coach the parents in using the targeted strategy. Suggestions for using these strategies in the home and community are also provided for parents.

This group is offered at the University Circle location on Wednesday and Thursday mornings. Please call Cleveland Hearing & Speech Center at 216-231-8787 for more information.

       Click here for details

Visual Biofeedback Therapy

Visual biofeedback technology provides visual information about the position of the tongue in real time - information that would otherwise be unavailable to the client or the speech-language pathologist. The visual information is displayed on a computer screen, and can include features such as a three-dimensional view of the tongue, or visual indications of the tongue's contact with the roof of the mouth.

In traditional speech therapy, clients have only two forms of feedback available to them - auditory feedback (how the sound sounds when they say it, and how it sounds when their speech-language pathologist says it) and somatosensory feedback (how the tongue feels when they are making the sound).

For children and adults who have not made progress or have stopped making progress in speech therapy, adding an additional form of sensory input through the use of visual biofeedback can be helpful. The clear visual indicating the tongue's position can help the client finally make changes to their tongue shape for the sounds they struggle to produce correctly.

CHSC currently offers two forms of visual biofeedback, Opti-Speech and SmartPalate.


A New Frontier in Speech Therapy

What is Opti-Speech?

Opti-Speech is a compliment to traditional speech therapy. State-of-the-art technology is used to visualize the tongue based on the position of tiny sensors. Seeing the tongue and how it should move can enhance and accelerate results from traditional speech treatment.


Who is a candidate?

Children (8 years of age and older) and adults who have found limited success in traditional speech therapy, or whose progress has stalled. Especially helpful for individuals working on the “r” and “s” sounds.

What is treatment like?


You will be asked to say the sound(s) you have trouble with many times, and asked to move your tongue, lips, and jaw in different ways. You will have sensors glued to your tongue so you can see how they feel. You will be audio recorded while you read a personalized list of words.

Visual Fitting

Based on the movement of your tongue, the treating speech-language pathologist will create visual targets for you that will be used during all treatment sessions.

Treatment Sessions

Each of the 10 treatment sessions is one-hour long. You will be able to view the visual of your tongue and work on hitting custom targets to help you correct the sound(s) you have trouble with.

Download our Opti-Speech PDF here.

Opti-Speech at Cleveland Hearing and Speech Center from Jennell Vick on Vimeo.


The SmartPalate is a biofeedback device that lets kids (over eight years of age) and adults see their tongue movements during speech. Speech therapists use the SmartPalate to treat clients with pervasive speech sound production disorders, such as continued difficulty producing the /r/ sound after receiving traditional therapy.

The device itself is a thin sheet of molded plastic that conforms to the client’s upper palate and detects tongue movements using electronic sensors. It resembles a very thin, clear retainer. The client only wears the device during therapy. The therapist coaches the child on improving production of target sounds moving toward independent production of the sounds in conversation and outside of therapy.

What sounds may be treated using the SmartPalate?

According the device manufacturer, the following sounds have been successfully treated using the SmartPalate: r l ch j t d s z k g sh

Each SmartPalate device comes with a practice palate, which the client may wear to acclimate to the device before therapy begins.

FACEtime for Pre-Teens and Teens Who Stutter

CHSC offers a year-round therapy program called FACEtime: Fluency, Attitude, and Communication Effectiveness. FACEtime is designed for older children and young teens who stutter and want to communicate more fluently and confidently.

Children and teens in the FACEtime program participate in three individualized therapy sessions per month targeting their individual goals. At the end of the month, they attend one group session with everyone enrolled in the FACEtime program. The group session allows participants the opportunity to practice their fluency strategies in real-life situations. The group will take outings to restaurants and Cleveland area attractions as a way to practice their skills in real-life situations.

Teens who have been involved in FACEtime said: “It is so much fun… I have learned a lot from the group and love meeting other kids who stutter… I feel more confident when I talk and I’m not afraid to stutter anymore.” 

Please contact CHSC at 216-231-8787 if you know an older child or teenager who may benefit from some FACEtime!

FACEtime Summer Camp

This four-day summer session is offered for older children or teenagers who are looking for a more intensive stuttering program that focuses on individual goals and group participation with peers. Space is limited. Register your child today! 

Additional Resources

Contact Us