Speech-Language and HearingThe Speech-Language and Hearing Department is committed to provide diagnostic, therapeutic and support services to children with communication delays/disorders so they can maximize their potential and achieve academic success. Our staff members are trained and certified to diagnose and treat speech, language, voice and fluency disorders. Many of the Speech-Language Pathologists and Teachers of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing have areas of specialization within their field and are dedicated to providing quality treatment to students with special needs. In addition, these professionals also disseminate information to staff about identification, prevention and rehabilitation of communication disorders.
Identification of Students with Speech-Language Disorders
A speech and language disability may exist when a student's difficulty impedes the acquisition or retention of skills necessary to succeed in the classroom. According to the Commissioner's Regulations, the definition of Speech Impaired is as follows: "A pupil with a communication disorder such as stuttering, impaired articulation, a language impairment, or voice impairment, which adversely affects a child's educational performance." (IDEA)
What happens if you think your child/student is in need of Speech and Language services? The following protocol is typical in most buildings:
- The parent or teacher submits a referral outlining the problem.
- A brief observation of the student is conducted in the classroom
- If needed, a short one-on-one informal screening occurs, with parental consent.
- If needed, a formal evaluation is administered to determine if deficits exist in the areas of concern, with parental consent.
- An IEP meeting is held summarizing the results of the evaluation and outlining eligibility for services.
- Services delivered throughout the year during the child's school day as determined at the IEP meeting.
As speech and language therapists, we are familiar with and have available a multitude of standardized assessment tools to evaluate students' communication strengths and weaknesses. In addition to formal tests, our evaluations may include informal assessments such as language samples, classroom observations and consultations with classroom teachers.
Related Service - Students who are classified by the Committee on Special Education and who have speech and language deficits, which adversely affect their academic and/or social functioning, may be recommended for speech/language intervention as a related service. These students have an IEP and receive mandated speech-language therapy.Building Level Service - Students can also be recommended for speech and language therapy as a building level service. These students usually exhibit mild difficulties and may not qualify for related services.
Students with a hearing loss may benefit from the services of a certified teacher of the deaf in conjunction with their special education program or with their program in general education. The support provided is individualized for each student and may emphasize techniques and methods which are intended to improve the student's understanding, auditory and speech reading skills, study skills, and appropriate use of amplification. The goal is to promote attainment of education objectives outlined in the child's IEP and to develop interventions that will allow the student to benefit from the educational program. Itinerant support services can be provided in direct therapy sessions with the student and/or by consultation and collaboration with educational team members. All services are delivered in an integrative fashion in collaboration with the student's classroom teacher, other educational staff, family, and audiologist. The frequency, extent, and focus of such services are based on recommendations of the multidisciplinary evaluation and determined by the IEP team.
Assistive Technology Services
Certified personnel provide direct and indirect support service in the integration and use of assistive technology devices, materials, and strategies to students, educational teams, and families.
This service includes assistive technology evaluations, student technology consultations, and training to students and staff to promote the integration and use of technology tools within the academic environment.We conduct two types of assistive technology evaluations:
- Writing/Reading & Computer Access: Assistive technology (including devices, software, recordings, and much more) can increase, maintain, or improve the capabilities of individuals with disabilities. Also, technology that is used by everyone, such as spell check, can be particularly helpful to people with learning disabilities. Specialized assessment will target a student's use of the computer as a learning tool. Access to the equipment and use of software and hardware is explored.
- Communication: Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) is the term used to describe methods of communication which can be used to add to the more usual methods of speech and writing when these are impaired. AAC includes unaided systems such as signing and gesture, as well as aided techniques ranging from picture charts to the most sophisticated computer technology currently available. AAC can be a way to help someone understand, as well as a means of expression. Specialized assessment will help identify the most appropriate AAC system or systems.