What Do Speech-Language Pathologists Do in a School Setting?
Communication skills affect how we speak, think, read, and write, making them essential skills for all students. It’s shown that students who struggle with communication skills can experience problems, such as:
- Understanding and participating in classroom instruction
- Developing and maintaining relationships with others
- Expressing their needs to teachers and other adults
- Understanding classroom rules and expectations
Speech-Language Pathologists help these students understand and use basic language concepts to improve or remove these communication barriers that prevent academic and social progress. They also provide reading and writing support to students, which can increase their understanding of texts and lessons.
Speech-Language Pathologists as Part of the Related Services Team
SLPs play an important role in all stages of a student’s IEP. From the beginning, they’ll help with assessing students who have been referred to related services to identify the students who would benefit most from an IEP. Some of the services they perform at this stage include:
- Providing communication disorder prevention
- Identifying at-risk students
- Performing communication skills assessments and evaluations
- Developing and implementing IEPs
Once a plan is in place for the student, Speech-Language Pathologists collaborate with teachers, parents, administrators, and other specialists on the related services team. They’ll advocate for the student and help to implement classroom accommodations as necessary. SLPs continually monitor students and document outcomes as well.
How to Include a Speech-Language Pathologist on Your Related Services Team
If you’ve determined that your related services program will benefit from a Speech-Language Pathologist, then you’ll want to make sure you’re adding the most qualified specialists to your team. Any SLP you add to your team should have the following credentials:
- A master’s or doctoral degree
- A Certificate of Clinical Competence from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA)
- A state license and/or Department of Education certification
They should also have completed a supervised post-graduate fellowship and a national comprehensive examination.
Signs a Student Needs to See a Speech-Language Pathologist
Identifying a disability early is the best way to ensure that a student receives the continued and ongoing support they need to do well both in the classroom and while socializing with their peers. Educators can aid in the early identification of speech or language disorders in the classroom by watching students for a few key developmental signs:
- Learning to talk later than their peers
- Showing difficulty learning to read and write
- Inability to express thoughts and ideas
- Difficulty understanding others and following directions
- Struggling to form friendships in the classroom or socialize with other students
- Difficulty taking tests
If teachers notice any of these signs while observing their students in the classroom, they may need to refer the student to a Speech-Language Pathologist.
Disabilities a Speech-Language Pathologist Can Help With
Speech or language disorders can present themselves in a variety of ways. So, every student’s needs should be addressed on a case-by-case basis. A qualified SLP can help identify the type of speech or language disorder a student presents with and identify the most effective treatment.
- Language Disabilities
- Voice Disorders
- Fluency or Stuttering Problems
- Articulation Disorders
- Swallowing Disorders (Dysphagia)
Add Qualified Speech-Language Pathologists to Your Related Services Team With PTS
PTS specializes in placing highly trained and qualified therapists with schools and early intervention programs while also delivering ongoing therapist supervision and day-to-day operational support.
Do you want to learn more about how we can effectively serve students with speech and language disorders while helping you contain special education costs in the long run? Contact us today!