SPEECH-LANGUAGE SERVICES IN THE SCHOOLS
A speech/language therapist provides speech-language therapy in public schools for students who have difficulties in articulation of speech, receptive language skills and expressive language skills. The goal is to help them with the communication skills they need to succeed academically and socially. Development of those communication skills relies heavily on the child’s hearing, so it is important for babies and young children to have their hearing screened and any issues with their hearing be addressed as early as possible.
There are many areas of communication that a school speech/language therapist can help a student with, including articulation (or production of speech sounds), social language, vocabulary, grammar, listening skills, fluency (for students who stutter), voice, and pre-reading skills. Some students with reduced or absent verbal skills need other ways to communicate, such as pictures, sign language, or communication devices. Speech/language therapist’s can help put individualized communication systems in place for such students, in order to maximize their ability to participate in their school and home environments.
Speech/language therapist’s also work with students who have difficulty with eating or swallowing, due to medical issues like reduced muscle strength or coordination.
Referrals to school speech/language therapist’s may come from many sources, including teachers, parents, and preschool screenings in the community. Speech and language services are considered part of special education and are intended to help students succeed in school.