“Speech and language skills are essential to academic success and learning. Language is the basis of communication. Reading, writing, gesturing, listening, and speaking are all forms of language. Learning takes place through the process of communication. The ability to communicate with peers and adults in the educational setting is essential for a student to succeed in school.”
–American Speech-Language-Hearing Association
What is Speech and Language?
Speech and language services in the school setting are provided by speech-language pathologists (SLPs). SLPs are trained to evaluate, diagnose, and treat speech and language disorders. SLPs work collaboratively with teachers, psychologists, principals, parents and others, to improve communication skills for students with demonstrated educational needs.
How Do I Know if My Child Needs Speech and Language?
Students may exhibit disorders of articulation (speech sound production), receptive/expressive language (understanding what is heard/expressing thoughts and ideas with words), fluency/stuttering (hesitations, repetitions, prolongations in speech), pragmatics (social language skills), or voice. If concerns exist about a child’s communication abilities in one of these areas, the SLP may be consulted. Information is gathered through observations, consultations with teachers/staff, and formal assessments. Based on these results, the team determines whether or not the child’s difficulties with communication are causing an adverse educational impact, or negatively affecting the child’s ability to communicate within the educational environment.
What Happens if My Child Qualifies for Speech and Language Services?
If a child qualifies for speech and language services, the SLP provides services in a variety of placements and an Individualized Education Program (IEP) is created. Services may be provided in individual or small group “pull out” sessions (where the child goes to a separate room to work with the SLP), in regular education and/or intervention classrooms in collaboration with the teacher, or in a consultative/monitoring model (the SLP confers with the student’s teacher regarding communication skills and progress).