Speech and Language Services in Schools

Speech and language problems can make it hard for your child to learn in school. Speech-language pathologists, or SLPs, can help your child succeed.

Here you will learn about:

  • Communication Problems in School
  • Effect of Speech and Language Problems on Learning
  • Role of the Speech-Language Pathologist

Communication Problems in School

Your child may have gotten help for speech or language problems before he started school. Or, you may notice problems when he starts school. Your child may have trouble with:

  • Speech sounds. He may have trouble saying sounds. He may not speak clearly and be hard to understand.
  • Language and literacy. Your child may have trouble understanding what she hears. She may not follow directions or answer questions well. It may be hard for her to tell others about her thoughts. She may not say the correct words or say only short sentences. Language problems can also make reading and writing harder.
  • Social communication. Your child may have trouble talking with other children. He may not make friends easily. He may not understand what others think or how they feel.
  • Cognitive communication. These are the thinking skills your child needs to remember, solve problems, and use her imagination. Learning disabilities and brain damage can cause these types of problems.
  • Feeding and swallowing. It may sound strange to think of eating as a school problem, but it can be. Feeding and swallowing problems can make it hard for your child to eat and drink enough during the day. This can make it hard to learn. It can also make social times, like lunch or snack, harder for your child.
  • Stuttering. Your child may have trouble speaking smoothly. She may repeat sounds or words or have long pauses when she talks. Stuttering can make it hard to answer questions or give speeches in class. It can also make it hard to talk to friends.
  • Voice. Your child may sound hoarse or lose his voice. He may sound like he talks through his nose, called nasality. His voice may be too loud or too soft. Voice problems can make it hard to talk in class or with friends.

Effect of Speech and Language Problems on Learning

You need language skills to communicate. And you need to communicate to learn. Reading, writing, gesturing, listening, and speaking are all forms of language. The better your communication skills, the better you will do in school.

Does your child have speech or language problems? He may not be able to do grade-level work. He may have trouble reading, writing, and spelling. He may not understand social cues, like what a person means when he nods or looks away as you speak. He may have trouble taking tests and may not want to go to school.

The school SLP should see your child. Each school has a process you need to follow to have your child seen. Your child may get referred to a child study team for testing. The SLP may be a part of this team, along with teachers, special education teachers, a psychologist, or others.

Role of the SLP

The SLP will test your child’s speech and language skills and decide if your child needs treatment. Each school has a process to get services started. The SLP or others in the school will help you follow this process.

Your child may get speech and language services alone or in a small group. The SLP may go into your child’s classroom and work with his teacher. The SLP will work with your child on what she is learning in class. The goal of speech and language services is to help your child do well in school. The SLP will work as part of a team that makes sure that your child gets the services she needs.

Speech and language problems do not have to keep your child from doing well in school. SLPs can help.

Related Resources

To find a speech-language pathologist near you, visit ProFind.