The Brecksville-Broadview Heights City School District employs 7 Speech-Language Pathologists servicing preschool-high school students. Out therapists are certified by The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, the Ohio Speech-Language Hearing Association and the Ohio Department of Education to practice speech-language pathology in the state of Ohio.
Children with communication disorders are seen by a speech-language pathologist through an Individualized Educational Plan (IEP) either as a primary disability or a related service, or through intervention services. A child is generally referred to the speech-language pathologist by his/her teacher, intervention specialist or his/her parent(s).
Once referred a child is screened and it is determined whether his/her skills fall within age/grade norms, if the child is in need of intervention services, or if a full speech-language evaluation is warranted. Many times this occurs as part of a full evaluation for other disabilities such as learning disabilities, cognitive disabilities, or Autism. If the child has a communication disorder based on the evaluation and his/her skills interfere with academic performance, an IEP with goals and objectives is written. Services are then provided through special education. If a communication problem exists but the child's academic skills are within grade level, the child may receive intervention services. The scope of speech-language problems in Brecksville-Broadview Heights City Schools include children with speech difficulties (articulation or phonological disorders), receptive and expressive language problems, fluency disorders, auditory processing disorders as well as how well children use their language in a variety of settings. Articulation problems or problems with the sound system may interfere with a child's ability to communicate, be understood by others, or develop the necessary connection between sounds and letters that underlie the development of reading skills. Specific language skills that could be deficient and interfere with academic achievement include use and comprehension of vocabulary, grammatical structures, understanding as well as processing auditory information/signals, e.g. oral language, and social skills.
Since speech-language services primarily operate within the constraints of special education legislation, careful consideration is given for whether a child's speech and language is within developmental norms and could interfere with his/her functioning at school. There have been norms established for developing articulation skills, Developmental Articulation Norms:
If a child is unable to say certain sounds by a certain age, they are considered for articulation therapy either under special education or intervention services.
Aspects of communication which have come to the attention of the speech-language pathologists are often not considered a disorder and should not be treated as such. For example, if a child speaks a dialect that differs from what is standard, his/her speech and language is appropriate not disordered. The same is true for children who are bilingual or children exhibiting developmental articulation errors. Sometimes the articulation errors are so mild that they do not interfere with the child’s ability to communicate. In this case it may be counterproductive to pull the student from valuable class time to address the issue. This is determined on a case by case basis. Some procedures are common practice for a speech-language pathologist but not appropriate for the work that occurs within the public schools.
The role of speech-language pathologists working within a school setting is to foster good communication especially with children who find it difficult to be understood, express themselves, and understand the language necessary for school success. The role of the school-based speech-language pathologist includes working closely with school staff as well as with parents not simply working directly with students. This is commonly done through collaboration, consultation, and working on Response to Intervention (RtI) Teams. If you have questions and/or concerns, feel free to contact one of our speech-language pathologists.