Speech-Language Frequently Asked Questions

What type of problem would qualify a child to receive the services of the speech-language pathologist?

A child may have an articulation, language, hearing, fluency or voice disorder that could make him or her eligible for these services. In the school setting, there must be an adverse effect on communication in the educational setting.

What is the goal of the speech/language program?

The goal is to help students develop the speech and language skills necessary to achieve academic success and communicate effectively with others.

How is it determined if a child should be placed in the program?

If either the teacher or the parents are concerned about a student's speech/language proficiency, the classroom teacher will initiate a request for pre-referral educational support services through the Early Intervention Program (EIP). An EIP team will meet to discuss the concerns and offer some prereferral strategies. As part of those strategies, the speech-language pathologist may determine that an observation/conversation with the student is appropriate. This is completed after written parent permission is received. It must be kept in mind that this is NOT diagnostic. To see a copy of the Early Intervention form, refer to page 17 of Guidelines for Speech and Language Program. If further information is deemed necessary, the student is referred to the Planning and Placement Team (PPT) to determine the need for a diagnostic evaluation.

If, following evaluation, the student is found by that team to be eligible for speech-language programming as a special education or related service, an Individual Educational Program (IEP), including goals and objectives, will be developed to meet the student's needs. For school-based services, there must be an adverse affect on communication in the educational setting. (See Determining Eligibility for Special Education Speech and Language Services)

What types of tests are administered?
Articulation tests are administered to assess speech sound development. There are also various language and fluency tests. The speech-language pathologist will select those most appropriate for your child's suspected problem. Voice disorders are usually referred to the therapist AFTER a student's physician has evaluated the child and recommended voice therapy. An evaluation includes all of these components, with an emphasis on the area of concern.

Is the program open to eligible students in all grades?

Yes. The services are available to children from age 3 through high school graduation. For children of pre-school age, the parent should contact Katherine Coffey (794-8679), the social worker who handles intake at that level. The procedure for children in kindergarten through grade eight is described above.

Are parents involved in the program with their child?

Yes. Parents may be furnished with suggested ways in which they may help their child develop better speech/language skills. If the SLP thinks it would prove beneficial, the student may be assigned home activities to reinforce the skills being addressed in the therapy sessions.

How will the services be provided?

Speech/language therapy services are provided in a variety of ways, depending on which setting is appropriate to address student needs. Services can be provided in individual and small group sessions in the speech language room or within the classroom. In some cases, the SLP may provide services by consulting with the teacher and other staff. Depending on grade level, sessions vary from approximately 30 to 45 minutes and are scheduled after consultation with the classroom teacher. Sessions may be conducted by the school SLP or by a paraprofessional, under the supervision of the SLP.

How long will my child remain in the program?

The length of time in the program varies, depending upon the type and severity of the disorder. A yearly review (Annual Review) discusses progress on goals and objectives and develops a new IEP for the following year if appropriate.  Re-evaluation for eligibility must be completed every three years (Triennial Review).

What services does the SLP perform?

• Pre-referral strategies for classroom teachers or parents
• Diagnostic evaluations with standardized or informal instruments, observations, speech and language sampling, curriculum-based assessment.
• Individualized, instructional/habilitative programs
• Hearing Screenings and other services to the hearing impaired
• Interdisciplinary team conferences (Planning and Placement Team) for student evaluation, planning and program monitoring
• Referral to and liaison with outside medical or clinical professionals
• Augmentative Communication