DeAnne Richter, MSLP/CCC-SLP/L, Speech Language Pathologist
WELCOME TO SPEECH!
As the school’s speech language pathologist, my function is to facilitate your student’s success in the educational setting and to be a resource support to your child’s teacher(s) as well as to you and your child. Speech therapy is an IEP service and must be qualified through the IEP process to receive treatment. Once qualified through an IEP, services such as frequency of treatment, type of treatment, and goals of therapy, will be outlined in this plan. If you are seeing concerns that could be speech or language related, please contact both myself and your child’s teacher, in order to share more information about what you are seeing and possibly identify if the teachers are seeing the same. The following is a brief description of the various speech and language difficulties that students in the school setting may exhibit and thus benefit from therapy for:
-Articulation and Speech intelligibility: Sound errors at the middle school age is less frequent than one might think. Developmentally, all the speech sounds should be in by the age of 8 with the later developing sounds being /r/ and /th/ as well as lateral or frontal lisps. However, persistent sound distortions can appear and still can be treated in the middle school setting.
-Fluency: Commonly known as stuttering, this speech condition is described as rhythmic breaks in a student’s speech that may take the form of sound prolongations, as well as sound, word and phrase repetitions. Speech may be filled with non-count words such as “umm” or “Uh”, voicing may become blocked with difficulties initiating a statement, physical secondary movements may be observed such as head/neck jerking or groping, eye blinking, etc. which many unfortunately believe can help a student move through the dysfluency.
-Expressive and Receptive Language: Students at this level of education predominantly receive receptive and expressive language support during speech sessions which target vocabulary development, grammar and sentence formulation, making predictions, making and understanding inferences, identifying cause and effect, problem solving and reasoning, sequencing, summarizing, identifying main ideas, details and describing.
-Word Finding/Word Retrieval Deficits: This is described as having the word on the 'tip of your tongue'. When speaking, the students appear to know the word they want to say, but can’t get it out. They may start describing what they mean because they cannot retrieve the label for the specific word they need.
-Pragmatic Social Language: Many students have difficulties socializing but a marked impairment in this area that may be concurrent with their disability may warrant pragmatic language goals to be targeted in therapy. Pragmatic language encompasses understanding and usage of the rules of conversation appropriately such as eye contact, personal space, verbal turn taking and topic maintenance, making requests and providing responses to questions, identifying and using social cues and body language as well as understanding perspective taking of others. Perspective taking takes into account the understanding of other’s thoughts, feelings and behaviors as a result of present behaviors and how to modify our own actions as a result of others. District 202 had the pleasure to host Michelle Garcia Winner as a guest speaker many years ago. She is an accomplished therapeutic clinician and author whose practices are often utilized in our therapy groups each and every day.
-Processing and Memory: This is described as having difficulties retaining information on a short and/or long-term basis that a student read, heard or may have seen. Difficulties processing the information encompasses a student’s ability to hear the information, interpret what was said or heard, and act on it, as a result of what was taken in. There may be increased “wait times” when processing difficulties are observed.
-Voice: Treating vocal difficulties is not common in the educational setting as many difficulties may be medical in nature and as a result, temporary versus a true deficit. It is recommended that if persistent vocal changes or difficulties are observed, to first seek guidance from your child’s pediatrician or medical doctor for further medical diagnosis and vocal treatment. Common vocal difficulties seen include hoarseness, harshness, hypo or hypernasality. Developmental vocal pitch changes (i.e. Boy's voice lowering/deepening) that are common during adolescent years are not vocal impairments but normal to your childn's development. However if you are unsure if there is a new impairment or a developmental change, please always seek the guidance of your pediatrician first.
The aforementioned areas of difficulty are not exclusive as they are meant to guide you in trying to ascertain whether your child may need additional support and in what areas. Many of the above difficulties are directly related to classroom expectations and academic success. If you are in question about your child's speech language function and how it may be playing a role in your child's academic performance, please do not hesitate to contact me anytime at email@example.com