Speech, Language, and Swallowing Disorders Program

The Section of Speech-Language Pathology in the Speech and Hearing Department of the Ambulatory Care Network provides a wide range of consultative, diagnostic and therapeutic services to the greater New York metropolitan area. The energetic, talented, and dedicated professionals of the Speech Pathology team provide advanced, high-quality, and evidence-based speech, language, voice, and feeding/swallowing services to all pediatric populations from premature birth through age 21.

Description of the program

Our team of pediatric speech-language pathologists works with the full range of speech-language, voice, and swallowing disorders that may occur in infants and children with cardiac conditions and those who underwent cardiac surgery. Services are provided in the inpatient and outpatient settings. We provide evaluation and management of:

  • Feeding/Swallowing Disorders. Patients with cardiac conditions or those who underwent cardiac surgery may develop weakness of mouth and throat muscles, reduced endurance for feeding, and incoordination of suck-swallow-breath pattern that can cause a child to cough/choke during meals and develop complications such as aspiration pneumonia and failure to thrive.
  • Voice Disorders. Patients who require placement of tracheostomy/breathing tube or ventilator-dependence can be evaluated to determine if they can benefit from using a Passy-Muir speaking valve to help with the weaning process, assist in recovering the ability to talk, and improve swallowing abilities.
  • Speech-Language Disorders. Delays in speech and language development related to cardiac conditions are assessed and managed. This service is only available in the inpatient setting at this time.

Identify unique aspects to our program

The Speech Pathology team works closely with the Pediatric Cardiology and Cardiac Surgery team as well as related medical and allied specialties in the hospital to accurately assess needs of pediatric patients. The team then works collaboratively with the Departments of Nutrition, Respiratory Therapy, Occupational Therapy and Physical Therapy to facilitate advancements in safe feeding/swallowing and overall nutritional status. The team also facilitates communication through speech-language intervention and use of speaking valves. Our team has the capability to perform objective swallowing evaluations such as Modified Barium Swallow Study and Flexible Endoscopic Evaluation of Swallowing.

Staff members

  • Amy Horton, MA CCC-SLP
  • Michelle DiMattia, MA CCC-SLP
  • Dawn Sithian, MA CCC-SLP
  • Jessica Bottone, MS CCC-SLP

Our team can provide services in English, Spanish, and French. For other languages, we collaborate with the hospital’s interpreter services to ensure adequate understanding for families of all languages and nationalities.

Our team was recently awarded a $5,000.00 Patient-Centered Care Grant to establish the “Enhanced Life Through Feeding (ELF)” program. This program aims to provide patients and caregivers adaptive feeding and therapy equipment and supplies to optimize the patients’ feeding and swallowing skills and safety.

To Refer A Patient:


An order for “Feeding/Swallowing Evaluation” and/or “Speech-Language Evaluation” can be entered in Eclipsys XA.


Please call 212.342.3242 to schedule an appointment.
Our fax number is 212.342.2112.

Our Outpatient Office:
Speech Pathology
622 West 168th Street
Vanderbilt Clinic, 10th Floor, Room 1001
New York, NY 10032
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Please call us at 212.342.3242 with any questions or concerns.