Pediatric speech clinic opens in Vestavia Village

Connect Pediatric Speech-Language Services recently opened in Vestavia Village, offering parents a way to find early intervention for their children and treatment for a number of developmental issues.

Owner and speech therapist Courtney Hamilton said they see patients from birth to age 18, offer evaluations, and treat developmental issues such as talking, swallowing, and not eating, among others.

Hamilton worked for a school system for a while, which she said was a great way to get to know the world of pediatric speech therapy work.

Vestavia Hills is a somewhat deprived area when it comes to pediatric speech-language treatments, Hamilton said, and she hopes to ease some of that. The company is located in Vestavia Village, the shopping center along US 31 with Walgreens opposite Publix. Hamilton said they have been getting new referrals daily since opening on Feb. 22.

“I felt we would fit in well,” said Hamilton.

A resident of Vestavia, Hamilton has a background in public relations and worked in that field for time before realizing it wasn’t for her. After seeing a relative struggle with dyslexia, she said she felt the Lord lead her to deepen her knowledge of speech therapy and help people overcome language and other related problems.

The company comprises six individual therapy rooms, with room for expansion. One specialist focuses on nutritional therapy, while another works with children, especially early intervention for those who don’t speak as they should. Hamilton also continues to work with patients himself.

“We actually all do it in the areas of children and communication,” said Hamilton.

Parents should visit if their child shows signs of difficulty communicating, is not imitating sounds, is babbling or growing in their language skills, or if they are behind in school.

For children with special needs, Hamilton said they start treatment often because problems are so common. Early intervention is essential to help children with language difficulties, she said.

Parents should expect a newborn to imitate sounds, babble and learn consonants, Hamilton said. By age 1, they should be following some pointers and answering questions, and as they age, they should identify colors and grow in their academic skills, she said.

“Communication is one of, if not the most important tools that someone has,” said Hamilton.

Often times, students who are left behind in school may have to deal with language impairment, Hamilton said.

Hamilton said she wants to help kids get the tools they need to interact with everyone around them, and if something is noticed earlier, they are more likely to correct it.

COVID-19 presents a number of challenges, she said, because pathologists and patients need to see each other’s faces so the therapist can understand how they can help. Children do not have to wear a face mask and the specialists wear clear shields. Parents are required to wear masks, she said.

The clinic also offers telecare for those whose treatment can be done over the internet. In addition, Connect also takes out insurance, Hamilton said.

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