The professionals who are educated to assess speech and language development and to treat speech and language disorders are called speech-language pathologists (sometimes informally referred to as speech therapists). Speech-language pathologists can also help people with swallowing disorders.
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.
Children with communication disorders frequently do not perform at grade level. They may struggle with reading, have difficulty understanding and expressing language, misunderstand social cues, avoid attending school, show poor judgment, and have difficulty with tests.
Difficulty in learning to listen, speak, read, or write can result from problems in language development. Problems can occur in the production, comprehension, and awareness of speech sounds, syllables, words, sentences, and conversation. Individuals with reading and writing problems also may have trouble using language to communicate, think, and learn.
Children may experience one or more of the following disorders:
• 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, volume (too loud or soft).
If you have concerns about your child, first talk with the classroom teacher. Together you will go over the concerns and decide the next steps.
Janet Kennedy Farmer - SLPA