Pediatric Language Clinic

Contact Us

Vickie Barnes, Program Director
909 Mountcastle Street
Knoxville, TN 37996-3508
Phone: (865) 974-6702
Fax: (865) 974-4766

The Pediatric Language Clinic (PLC) is a family-focused early intervention program for children birth to three years of age who are in need of intensive services due to significant social/communication/ behavior delays and/or Autism Spectrum Disorder. The developmental program is funded by the State of Tennessee's Department of Education as an Early Intervention Resource Agency (EIRA) at no cost to the families. A child, however, must meet eligibility criteria for the Tennessee Early Intervention System (TEIS) and receive services through TEIS in order to qualify for the program.

40 + Voices for 40 Years of Service to the East Tennessee Community



PLC 40th year - September 7, 2012


PLC 40th year - September 7, 2012


Developmental Services

Developmental therapy services are provided in natural environment settings that are individualized to meet the needs of the child and family. These areas include:

  • communication
  • cognitive/play
  • socialization
  • fine motor
  • gross motor
  • self-help

Center-Based Groups

Our center-based group program is the primary service delivered by PLC. Children are referred to PLC due to concerns primarily in the areas of communication, social interaction, and behaviors that are interfering with learning. They may be showing 'red flags' of autism, or they may have an existing diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder. The center-based program incorporates the principles of incidental and structured teaching to create a positive learning environment. The curriculum used at the PLC is the SCERTS Model which is designed to assist the staff in targeting appropriate skill sets in the areas social communication and emotional regulation, and providing adequate supports for learning to take place in a variety of environments and with a variety of communication partners. The low child-to-staff ratio is designed to enhance social, communication and play relationships. Children attend in a small group once weekly. Family training is a key component of the group services, as a family member or caregiver is expected to stay with their child, participate in all activities, and identify skills to practice during the week. Activities are designed to address specific developmental objectives using multiple teaching methodologies based upon child need in a small group setting, and simulate activities a child may experience at home or child care. PLC's center-based program provides service to families in Knox and surrounding counties who qualify through TEIS.

Home/Community Visits

Home visits may be provided for children who may be too young to enter the center-based program, for children who may be waiting for a center-based slot to become available, or for children who may need a temporary change in service delivery model due to circumstances such as a new baby, change in work hours, etc. Availability of home-based slots is limited, and decisions regarding the need for home-based sessions will be made by the IFSP team.

Consultation Services

Consultation services for children enrolled in PLC's center- or home-based services vary, depending upon the needs of the child and family. For children enrolled in PLC's center-based services, consultations may be with a child care facility or Mother's Day Out program to work with the teachers. Consultation visits may also include family participation in workshops to provide information on related topics such as Communication, Behavior Management, Feeding, Sleep/Bedtime Routines, etc.

Consultation services by PLC Staff are also available to other Early Interventionists serving TEIS children in the home. As with children enrolled in the center-based program, there should be concerns about red flags of autism, or an existing diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder. These consultation services are primarily available to families in the East Tennessee TEIS District which includes Knox and surrounding counties, and need is determined by the IFSP team.

Family Involvement

Family involvement is an integral component of the PLC program as parents participate in both center-based and home-based sessions, assist in the development of the Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP), and help develop specific outcomes for their child. PLC staff members collaborate with TEIS, the designated service coordinator, and other members of the professional team to ensure the best provision of services to a child and their family. Staff members work with the child and their family/caregivers to implement and promote successful carry-over of goals in a variety of environments.


The PLC staff is comprised of licensed and certified speech-language pathologists who utilize their extensive training and experience to provide early intervention services with emphasis on development of social-communication skills . PLC also serves as a training site for UT graduate students pursuing a master's degree through the Department of Audiology and Speech Pathology.


Referrals for services through PLC must come from the family's TEIS Service Coordinator. Children must meet eligibility criteria through TEIS and services must be designated on the IFSP.