Troubles with speech and communication have always been present in school systems. Whether it be stuttering, trouble with speech sounds, or pragmatics, these issues have always been around, regardless of how much they get addressed. In the last several years, schools have started to address the need to implement speech language pathology. Speech language pathologists work with people of all ages, not just children. However, schools could really benefit from hiring one of these professionals to help their students grow.Browse travel therapy jobs here!
Need for Speech Language Pathology in Schools
What is SLP?
In order for us to understand why speech language pathology is important in schools, it is important first to understand who these professionals are, and what they do. Speech language pathologists are essentially speech therapists. These therapists work with people of all ages to help with language, communication and even sometimes swallowing issues. It falls into the broad umbrella category of communication sciences and is crucial to the development and growth of people of all ages.
Why do we need SLP in schools?
Communication both verbal and non-verbal is a core part of the human existence. Without it, the world as we know it would not exist. While speech therapy isn’t essential at a young age, it could prove to be extremely beneficial. Prolonged speech challenges only make it harder to correct, much as foreign languages are harder to learn the older you get. This is one of the main reasons why SLP is needed in schools- to allow children to get the help they deserve, while they are still young enough to absorb the information and are able to learn easier.
Many school-age children with speech or communication disorders learn how to manage, despite their faults. However, this can adversely affect their performance in school, as well as impede their ability to learn new skills and information. When children have communication problems, they are more likely to have difficulty understanding directions, following directions, maintaining interpersonal relationships, etc. This not only harms their short-term growth but can also stunt their personal growth in the long-run of their life.
Duties of a Speech Language Pathologist in School
According to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA), a speech therapist has several important roles in a school environment including, but not limited to, the following:
- Identifying students who could potentially be at risk later
- Treating speech and communication disorders
- Assessing students’ current communication abilities
- Developing and overseeing implementation of IEPs
- Helping teachers adapt the material for students with communication disabilities
Speech language pathologists not only set up private therapy sessions with children who are struggling with communication, but they also help teachers to adapt their curriculum for the child in need. This could mean having a proctor when it’s time to take tests, or having the teacher carefully mediate arguments with other students, etc. As a whole, these children just need some patience and a little bit of TLC. Speech therapists often will also have one-on-one sessions with the child whether it be pronunciation practice, or reading practice, etc.
Signs of a Communication Disorder
Being informed can also help you identify whether one of your patients or children needs speech therapy. There are a plethora of signs that a child may have a communication disorder. While not all kids show the same signs, it’s important to know what some of the most common is in order to be prepared. While these are obviously not all of the signs, these are some that are most often seen by speech therapists:
- Difficulty expressing thoughts and feelings
- Inability or difficulty following directions
- Inability to maintain friendships
- Difficulty reading and writing
- Issues with taking tests
There is always a need for speech language pathologists. To find a job in this field, visit ASHA’s website, or you can browse other travel therapy jobs. What are your thoughts on the importance of speech pathology in schools? Let us know in the comments below!