Speech and communication are vital in enabling students to understand educational materials and to effectively participate in class. Pediatric Therapeutic Services (PTS) provides schools with certified Speech-Language Pathologists (SLPs) who are committed to helping students with speech and communication disorders excel in school.

By working with PTS to improve their related services program, schools can help their students succeed, more effectively meet national academic standards, and reduce special education costs in the long run.

What Do Speech-Language Pathologists Do?

Speech-Language Pathologists work with students who have communication difficulties that affect their ability to successfully and confidently participate in:

  • Classroom activities
  • Social interactions with peers

They also help students improve literacy and learning capabilities that affect their ability to understand course materials, participate in class, and complete homework assignments. Most importantly, improving these skills can increase a student’s overall confidence.

How SLPs Can Help Students 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 competitive examination.

PTS Helps You Improve Your Special Education Program

When schools or early intervention programs partner with PTS, they’re provided with highly trained and qualified Speech-Language Pathologists. We also have a team of Clinical Directors who work directly with each of our schools, performing:

  • On-site supervision of our therapists
  • Day-to-day program management

We also offer BudgetWatch™ software. This software produces BudgetWatch™ Program Summary Reports that can give schools a data-driven approach to effectively managing therapist caseloads and reducing overall special education costs.

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
  • Articulation
  • 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.

Why Some Students Develop a Speech and Language Disorder

Speech and language disorders can present in students for several reasons. Some of the most common ones are:

  • Hearing loss
  • Cleft palate
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Motor problems
  • Learning disabilities
  • Autism
  • Developmental delays
  • Traumatic brain injuries

These are only some of the most common reasons why speech and language disorders develop and do not comprise an exhaustive list.

Disabilities a Speech-Language Pathologist Can Help With

Remember that 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.

Some of the disabilities a student may exhibit include:

Language Disabilities: The student may have slow vocabulary or grammar development, an inability to use different communication styles for different situations, or a poor ability to understand or express written or verbal ideas.

Voice Disorders: The student uses speech that is inaccurately or inappropriately pitched for the situation. The student may also use speech that is too loud, soft, harsh, hoarse, breathy, or nasal.

Fluency or Stuttering Problems: The student presents with unintentional or compulsive interruptions in flow or rhythm of speech, including hesitations, repetitions, and prolongations. This type of disability can affect individual sounds or whole syllables, words, or phrases.

Articulation Disorders: The student habitually replaces one sound with another, omits a sound in a word, or distorts a particular sound.

Swallowing Disorders (Dysphagia): The student has difficulty sucking, chewing, or swallowing in a way that interferes with eating and/or communicating.

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? Fill out the form and add a Speech-Language Pathologist to your related services team today!