Understanding Speech Disorders
The ability to communicate in the educational setting is essential for a child to access and succeed in school. In order for speech disorders to be considered a disability, it must demonstrate an adverse effect on the child’s educational performance.
IDEA includes speech and language pathology as both a related services and as special education since these services may be required to assist a child with a disability.
Speech and language services are considered part of special education in that they are designed to meet the unique needs of the child at no cost to the parent.
K-12 Public School Speech-Language Pathology Services may include:
The identification of children with speech and language impairments
The appraisal and diagnosis of speech and language impairments
Referrals for medical or other professionals needed in order for rehabilitation
Speech and language services for the prevention of communication disorders and rehabilitation of children with impairments
Counseling and guidance for parents, children and teachers regarding speech disorders.
EARLY INTERVENTION SERVICES:
IDEA identifies early intervention services for children ages 0-3 with communication or swallowing disorders and delays. Part C of IDEA states that early intervention services are mandated and are designed to meet the developmental needs of an infant or toddler with a disability in one or more of the following areas:
Physical, cognitive, communication, emotional or adaptive.
COMMUNICATION MILESTONES: CHILDREN 0-5 YEARS OLD
0-5 months: Turns head towards sounds
6-11 months: Babbling, tries to repeat sounds
12-17 months: Answers simple questions non-verbally, gestures, points, and begins to label objects.
18-23 months: Follows simple commands, says 10 words or more, and combines words.
2-3 years: Says up to 40 words, understands spatial concepts, descriptive words, and uses pronouns and 2-3 word phrases.
3-4 years: Uses mose speech sounds though some may be distorted, groups objects and expresses feelings through words.
4-5 years: Speech is mostly understandable, answers “Why” questions, describes how to do things.
5 years: Engages in conversation, uses complex sentences, can understand a series of three directions, uses imagination to create stories.
Speech and language milestones are used as guidelines for parents and practitioners. If you feel your child has a communication disorder or delay, you should contact your physician for further evaluation and your school district or county regional center in order to determine if early intervention services are appropriate for your child.
There are many web sites out there for teachers and parents dedicated to helping individuals with communication difficulties.
Virtual Speech Center
is a unique site offering on line speech therapy for children and adults.
is one that provides information to parents and teachers about how they can improve their child's speech and language disorder.
Another great site that specializes in speech therapy ideas, materials and activities is
These are great resources for parents wanting to learn more information about speech disorders.
AUTISM SPECTRUM DISORDERS:
peech disorders in children with autism spectrum disorders
can vary greatly. Some children are unable to speak at all while others can talk about topics of interest in great detail. Most autistic children have difficulty effectively using language including word and sentence meaning, intonation and rhythm. They also can have a problem using pronouns. The goal of speech therapy for a child with autism should be to improve their useful communication skills so that they can effectively express their needs and participate in educational programs.
SPECIAL EDUCATION SERVICES
Approximately 20% of children receiving special education services have IEP’s with speech/language goals and services. It is the second largest special education category serving children within the school setting. The goal of speech and language services is to see a measurable change in the student’s ability to communicate so that the student can participate in all aspects of educational life.
School services should prevent, correct or alleviate problems with articulation, fluency (stuttering), voice and language, reduce communication and swallowing disabilities and lessen the handicap.
Speech and language services may take place in the regular education environment, special education classroom, a speech and language treatment room, resource room, the home or at a community facility.
may involve physical strengthening exercises, practice and drilling, audio/visual aides and sign language.
Parents who feel their child has any type of speech disorder or delay should start the referral process either through the
student study team
or by making a direct request for a
special education evaluation.
If your child is struggling with school, visit our section on
for tips and strategies on how to improve school performance.