Speech Language Pathology

Speech and Language Services in Schools

Speech and language problems can make it hard for your child to learn in school. Speech-language pathologists, or SLPs, can help your child succeed.

Communication Problems in School

Your child may have gotten help for speech or language problems before he started school. Or,  you may notice problems when he starts school. Your child may have issues that interfere with learning or access to the curriculum including:

  • Speech sounds. He may have trouble saying sounds. He may not speak clearly and be hard to understand.
  • Language and literacy. Your child may have trouble understanding what she hears. She may not follow directions or answer questions well. It may be hard for her to tell others about her thoughts. She may not say the correct words or say only short sentences. Language problems can also make reading and writing harder.
  • Social communication. Your child may have trouble talking with other children. He may not make friends easily. He may not understand what others think or how they feel.
  • Cognitive communication. These are the thinking skills your child needs to remember, solve problems, and use her imagination. Learning disabilities and brain damage can cause these types of problems.
  • Feeding and swallowing. It may sound strange to think of eating as a school problem, but it can be. Feeding and swallowing problems can make it hard for your child to eat and drink enough during the day. This can make it hard to learn. It can also make social times, like lunch or snack, harder for your child.
  • Stuttering. Your child may have trouble speaking smoothly. She may repeat sounds or words or have long pauses when she talks. Stuttering can make it hard to answer questions or give speeches in class. It can also make it hard to talk to friends.
  • Voice. Your child may sound hoarse or lose his voice. He may sound like he talks through his nose, called nasality. His voice may be too loud or too soft. Voice problems can make it hard to talk in class or with friends.

Effect of Speech and Language Problems on Learning

You need language skills to communicate. And you need to communicate to learn. Reading, writing, gesturing, listening, and speaking are all forms of language. The better your communication skills, the better you will do in school.

The Speech-language pathologist/school team will determine which specialized resources are most appropriate to help your child succeed. Each school has a process you need to follow to have your child seen. Your child may get referred to a child study team for testing. The SLP may be a part of this team, along with teachers, special education teachers, a psychologist, or others.

Role of the SLP

The SLP will assess your child’s speech and language skills and decide if your child needs further testing or treatment. Each school has a process to get services started. The SLP or others in the school will help you follow this process.

Speech and language problems do not have to keep your child from doing well in school.  SLP’s can help!