For Families

I’m Afraid My Child Has a Speech-Language Disorder: What Do I Do?

  • Don’t panic – professionals called speech-language pathologists (SLPs) work in schools and can help your child.
  • Talk to your classroom teacher and share your concerns.  Ask about your child’s communication within the classroom environment.
  • Ask what the process for getting a speech language screening is in your child’s school?
  • If your child has been referred for a speech-language evaluation and you are in agreement, make sure you sign the documents to begin the evaluation process.
  • Contribute to the evaluation process by sharing your thoughts on your child’s speech-language abilities.
  • Participate in meetings about the evaluation and, if your child qualifies for services, the Individualized Education Planning (IEP) meeting.

My Child Has Qualified for Speech-Language Services – Now What?

  • An IEP meeting will discuss your child’s present levels of performance and goals for the future.
  • If you don’t understand something during the meeting, be sure to ask questions.
  • Your SLP will probably give you ideas about how to help your child at home.  If not, be sure to ask.
  • Keep track of your child’s progress by reading their progress reports from the SLP and asking questions.
  • Keep talking to your child.  Have conversations during dinner, when riding in the car, while playing at the park, etc. 

Types of Speech and Language Disorders

  • Articulation Disorders: difficulty producing speech sounds, such as substituting /w/ for /r/
  • Fluency Disorders: disruption in the flow of speech, such as stuttering
  • Expressive Language Disorders: difficulty expressing needs, ideas, or information to others
  • Receptive Language Disorders: difficulty following directions or understanding what others say
  • Pragmatic Communication Disorders: difficulty with the social aspects of language, such as eye contact, facial expression, turn-taking, topic maintenance, etc.
  • Voice Disorders: difficulty with respiration, phonation, or resonance resulting in atypical vocalizations (breathy voice, hoarse voice, etc.)

What Is an SLP?

  • A speech-language pathologist, or SLP, evaluates and treats children for speech-language disorders
  • SLPs are specially trained to provide treatment for children with speech-language disorders
  • They are highly-qualified professionals with advanced educational degrees and extensive clinical practicum experience
  • Your SLP can work with children in any grade level
  • They might see children individually or in groups
  • Your SLP may even help out in classrooms to work on communication skills, such as phonological awareness and vocabulary development

A Day in the Life of an SLP

SLPs can participate in a lot of activities at your school including…
  • Screening and evaluating for speech-language disorders
  • Addressing needs within the classroom
  • Writing reports and progress notes
  • Collaborating with teachers and paraprofessionals
  • Providing direct instruction to students in a variety of settings
  • Educating staff about communication disorders
  • Consulting with parents
  • Participating in meetings

Where Can SLPs Provide Speech-Language Services?

  • In a therapy room
  • In a classroom
  • During specials
  • On the playground
  • In the cafeteria
  • At a job placement