Speech and language skills are essential to academic success and learning. Language is the basis of communication. Reading, writing, gesturing, listening, and speaking are all forms of language. Learning takes place through the process of communication. The ability to communicate with peers and adults in the educational setting is essential for a student to succeed in school.
There are several types of communication disorders that affect school-age children. These include:
- Speech sound disorders – (difficulty pronouncing sounds)
- Language disorders – (difficulty understanding what they hear as well as expressing themselves with words)
- Cognitive — communication disorders – (difficulty with thinking skills including perception, memory, awareness, reasoning, judgment, intellect and imagination)
- Stuttering (fluency) disorders – (interruption of the flow of speech that may include hesitations, repetitions, prolongations of sounds or words)
- Voice disorders – (quality of voice that may include hoarseness, nasality, pitch or loudness)
Professionals with Douglas ESD’s speech-language therapy program provide services to all school districts in Douglas County. Personnel include licensed speech-language pathologists (SLPs) and certified speech-language pathology assistants (SLPAs). At any point in the school year, more than 800 students receive therapy services as specified on their Individualized Education Plans.
SLPs work with diagnostic and educational evaluation teams to provide comprehensive language and speech assessments for students. Services to students with speech-language disorders may be provided in individual or small group sessions, in classrooms when teaming with teachers, or in a consultative model with teachers and parents. SLPs integrate students’ speech-language goals with academic outcomes and functional performance.
Referrals for speech services are made through each school’s Student Services Team, following the standard processes of the school district. Parents who have concerns about their child’s communication skills should talk with the child’s teacher, who will then bring those concerns to the attention of the Student Services Team and the SLP who is assigned to the school.
Speech Services Program Coordinator