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Speech Language Pathologist


The Speech and Language Pathologist serves children with communication disorders that adversely affect their education. Poor communication skills can interfere with a student’s ability to understand and participate in classroom instruction and may impair their relationships with teachers and other children. Good communication is important for speaking, thinking, writing, reading and learning. Speech-Language Pathologists provide support for students, ages 3 years through 21 years, in all areas of communication. Services are delivered in the least restrictive environment in all district area schools.

Language difficulties include spoken language, reading and/or writing difficulties. Speech encompasses such areas as articulation and phonology (the ability to speak clearly and be intelligible), fluency (stuttering), voice, and pragmatic or social language difficulties.

Communication disorders may result from many different conditions. For example, language-based learning disabilities are the result of a difference in brain structure present at birth. This particular difficulty may be genetically based. Other communication disorders stem from oral-motor difficulties (e.g., an apraxia or dysarthia of speech), aphasias (difficulties resulting from a stroke which may involve motor, speech and/or language problems), traumatic brain injuries, and stuttering, which is now believed to be a neurological deficit. The most common conditions that affect children's communication include language-based learning disabilities, attention deficit disorder, attention deficit hyperactive disorder, cerebral palsy, mental disabilities, cleft lip or palate, and autism spectrum disorders.

Students with language disorders may have difficulty expressing ideas coherently, learning new vocabulary, understanding questions, following directions, recalling information, understanding and remembering something that has just been said, reading at a satisfactory pace, comprehending spoken or read material, learning the alphabet, identifying sounds that correspond to letters, perceiving the correct order of letters in words, and possibly, spelling. Students with speech disorders may exhibit unintelligible speech which may impact their social relationships, participation at school, or developmental spelling and writing. Sounding hoarse, breathy or harsh may be due to a voice problem. Fluency or stuttering also affects speech intelligibility because the child's flow of speech is interrupted.

A strong relationship exists between communication and academic achievement. Developing and improving communication skills support both a student's academic and social success and progress in the educational setting. Our teachers and speech-language pathologists focus on classroom interactions and the language and communications used in the academic environment to assist students in being active participants in their learning.

Last Updated: 7/11/16
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