|Emma Folk, Speech Therapist|
What is a speech-language pathologist?
Speech-Language Pathologists identify children with specific disorders and delays related to communication, and provide therapy to help these students overcome the impact of these challenges on their academic success. This includes completing diagnostic assessments to determine the presence/absence of a communication disorder, and providing support in areas of articulation, language, voice and/or fluency. In addition, additional support may include the use of technology to help students become more independent, such as devices that assist students with complex communication needs.
Speech language pathologists work closely with teachers and parents to build speech-language skills and help students apply those skills to all learning opportunities by reinforcing strategies in the classroom and at home.
What types of speech and language disorders affect school-age children?
Children may experience difficulties in one or more of the areas:
- Articulation – A student may have difficulty saying a certain sound(s), such as saying “wabbit” for “rabbit” or “wamp” for “lamp”.
- Phonology – A student may have difficulty with a certain “pattern” of sounds, such as leaving off the beginning or ending sounds in words, one only producing one sound in consonant clusters (“tar” for “star”).
- Receptive Language – Understanding language; A student may not understand what certain words mean or how they go together. They may have a hard time following directions or answering questions appropriately.
- Expressive Language – Using language; A student may have difficulty putting words together in the right form or order (grammar) or knowing the appropriate names for things (vocabulary).
- Pragmatic Language – Understanding and using social communication; A student may have difficulties knowing what is appropriate to say and when, reading other people’s nonverbal cues, and interacting with others.
- Fluency – Difficulty with flow of speech that may include hesitations, repetitions and prolongations of sounds or words
- Voice – quality of voice that may include hoarseness, nasality, volume
Do speech-language disorders affect learning?
Speech and language skills are essential to academic success and learning. Language is the basis of communication. Reading, writing, 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.