What is speech therapy?
Many people think speech therapy is only to work on sounds that your child is not able to produce (articulation). While that is one thing a speech-language pathologist (SLP) can work on with your child, we also address language, social communication, stuttering, and more.
At school, children need to be able to understand spoken language to follow classroom directions, to effectively express themselves to others using age/grade-level vocabulary, grammar, and sentence structure, and to ask and answer a variety of questions in order to be successful learners. They also need to be able to speak fluently without repetitions or prolongations (stuttering) and use a quality of voice that is appropriate for their age.
If you have concerns that your child's speech or language is affecting his/her educational performance, they may qualify for services at school. Please reach out to your child's general education teacher or the school SLP to find out what your next steps should be!
Here is a list of sounds most children are able to consistently produce by age:
Age in Years:
P, M, H, N, W
B, T, D, K, G, F, Y
L, SH, CH, J, V
TH, ZH (as in measure)
R, S, L
What should you do if you have concerns about your child's speech-language development?
First, talk to your child's classroom teacher about your concerns. Outside of you, they know your child best and can discuss with you if they are observing your same concerns within the classroom. If your child's teacher shares your concerns, he or she will contact one of the SLPs for a consultation. This consultation may lead to your child participating in a speech/language screening. This screening would be completed while your child is at school after receiving your written permission.
If a screening is completed, the results will be shared with both you and the teacher, and then, next steps will be discussed. These next steps will be documented through our school's Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS) process which your child's teacher will initiate. Possible next steps include: (1) development of a home program; (2) implementation of classroom interventions by your child's teacher with guidance from the SLP, (3) enrollment in a Speech Improvement Class (SIC) facilitated by the SLP or the SLP-A (speech-language pathology assistant); (4) a referral for a Special Education Speech-Language evaluation; or (5) no action (while your child continues to be monitored through MTSS).