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