• Frequently Asked Questions: Speech and Language Disorders in the School Setting 
    What types of speech and language disorders affect school-age children?
    Children may experience one or more of the following disorders:
    • Speech sound disorders - difficulty pronouncing sounds
    • Language disorders - difficulty understanding what they hear as well as expressing themselves with words
    • Cognitive-communication disorders - difficulty with thinking skills including perception, memory, awareness, reasoning, judgment, intellect and imagination
    • Stuttering (fluency) disorders - interruption of the flow of speech that may include hesitations, repetitions, prorogations of sounds or words
    • Voice disorders - quality of voice that may include hoarseness, nasality, volume (too loud or soft)
    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, 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.
    How may a speech-language disorder affect school performance?
    Children with communication disorders frequently do not perform at grade level.  They may struggle with reading, have difficulty understanding and expressing language, misunderstanding social cues, avoid attending school, show poor judgment, and have difficulty with test.
    Difficulty in learning to listen, speak read, or write can result from problems in language development.  Problems can occur in the production, comprehension, and awareness of language sounds, syllables, words, sentences, and conversation.  Individuals with reading and writing problems also may have routable using language to communicate, think, and learn.
    How do parents and school personnel work together to insure that children get the speech-language support they need?
    Parents and teachers should refer any student who shows signs of a speech-language disorder or delay to the school-based study team.  This will usually involve the school counselor, psychologist, speech language pathologist, and teachers.  Screening, assessment, and treatment of communication problems may involve cooperative efforts with:
    • parents,
    • speech-language pathologist (SLPs),
    • audiologist,
    • psychologist,
    • social workers, 
    • classroom teachers,
    • special education teachers,
    • guidance counselors,
    • physicians,
    • dentists, and 
    • nurses.
    Speech-language pathologist work with diagnostic and educational evaluation teams to provide comprehensive language and speech assessments for students.  Services to students with speech-language disorders may be provided in individual or small group sessions, in classrooms when teaming with teachers or in a consultative model with teachers and parents.  Speech-language  pathologist integrate students' speech-language goals with academic outcomes and functional performance.
     What types of speech-language intervention are available in the schools?
    • Indirect intervention or consultation provided by the speech-language pathologist (SLP) to regular education and special education teachers.
    • Combination of indirect and direct intervention.
    • Direct intervention in the least restrictive environment.  
    • Direct intervention outside the least restrictive environment as needed.
    • Team teaching by the speech-language pathologist and teacher in the regular education and/or special education classroom.
    • Language and/or communication lessons/curriculum to the entire class by the speech-language  pathologist.
    • Speech-language groups in regular education classroom.
    • Curriculum-based intervention using materials adapted from the regular education classroom.
    • Home program with parents, siblings, and/or peers for generalization and carry-over.
    At the annual IEP meeting for a  student with a communication disability, the IEP team determines the appropriate intervention model and frequency of intervention given the least restrictive environment, the general education curriculum, the advantages of the educational environment and the continuum of service options listed above.