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Speech-Language Therapy

Speech & Language Therapy!

So, what is a Speech-Language Pathologist (SLP) and a
Speech-Language Pathology Assistant (SLPA)?

An SLP is a person who can diagnose communication disorders, write therapy plans, and provide treatment for a variety of communication and swallowing disorders. An SLPA is able to provide speech therapy and assist with other everyday functions.

So, what is a Communication Disorder?

Articulation and Phonology Disorders: This is when a person does not correctly make their speech sounds. For instance, they may say "thun" instead of "sun" or "tate" instead of "cake". This is often based on a person's age, as articulation can develop through age 9.

Expressive Language Disorders: This is when a person has difficulty putting words together to communicate a message. They may have deficits in vocabulary, which limits the ideas they can express. They may have difficulties using correct grammar. Or they may have difficulty forming a message altogether. There are a variety of ways in which an expressive language disorder can manifest itself.

Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC): Related to expressive language disorders, this is when a person has such difficulty with verbal expression that other technology needs to be used for them to communicate. This can be as simple as a button they push to "say" a pre-made message, to as complex as using an iPad app to create complex messages. 

Receptive Language Disorders: This is when a person has difficulty understanding what others say. They may have difficulty "holding" onto the language in their mind in order to follow directions. They may not understand the meaning of vocabulary words or basic concepts. Again, there are a variety of ways in which a receptive language disorder can manifest itself.

Pragmatic Disorders: This is when a person has difficulty with social skills, often related to Autism. For instance, a person may have difficulty making eye contact during conversation, or only talk about a narrow range of subjects.

Voice Disorders: This is when the voice or vocal chords are not functioning correctly. A person with a voice disorder may have a harsh, quiet, breathy, or raspy vocal quality.

Stuttering and Fluency Disorders: This is when a person stutters, or has difficulty fluently conveying a message. A person may repeat sounds, words, or phrases, take a long time to produce a sound, or get "stuck" on a sound. 

Motor Speech Disorders: This is when a person has difficulty with the motor movements needed to make and sequence speech sounds. This may be a problem with the brain or neurons, in that they have difficulty getting the speech "order" correct. Or it may be a problem with the muscles being unable to produce certain movements or sounds.

Swallowing Disorders: This is when a person has difficulty swallowing, or cannot swallow at all, creating a potentially dangerous situation when eating. This is most often diagnosed and treated in a hospital or clinic, but school SLPs can provide support in this area.

Hearing Disorders: While an SLP cannot diagnose or treat a hearing impairment, we often provide support in the schools to the students with hearing impairments and their DHH teachers through making sure that they have the equipment and technology necessary to succeed in schools and case manage their IEPs.

So, what can I do if I suspect my child might have a Communication disorder?

If you suspect your child has a communication disorder, you can contact any one of the SLPs with your concerns. You can also talk to your child's teacher, and they will refer the child to us. Once we get a referral, we will complete an observation and a screener to check if there is a possibility that your child has a communication disorder. If your child fails the screening, we would complete a comprehensive evaluation in order to determine if your child has a communication disorder.

So, what happens if my student has a Communication disorder?

If your student is diagnosed with a communication or swallowing disorder, we will have a meeting to discuss the diagnosis, and I will develop a plan for your student's speech therapy. During speech therapy, your students will engage in activities specifically designed for them to help them remediate their communication disorder. Sometimes it's hard work, but I try to make it as fun as possible so they will want to work toward their goals. Every year, we will meet again to discuss your student's progress and decide to continue with the goals we have set or develop new goals. And every three years, we will reevaluate your student's needs to see if they will continue to need speech therapy.

If you ever have any concerns or questions, please feel free to contact us at anytime! You will find our contact information on our individual web pages.