A Job of SPEECH, LANGUAGE and LISTENING As a Speech/Language Pathologist, my job is to work with students to improve their overall communication skills. As a speech language pathologist working in the schools, I consider all aspects of communication as they relate to academics, each may have an impact on a student’s ability to learn and participate in school. I work with concerns in any of the following areas.
SPEECH: A child’s speech is developmental but it should be intelligible by their peers and adults. They should have good voice quality and should speak without stuttering. Developmentally speaking we don’t expect a kindergarten student to speak perfectly, but by third grade they should have acquired all of their sounds. The typical ages for speech sound development are:
By 3 years: /p, b, t, d, n, m, h, w/
By 4 years: / k, g, f, v, y/
By 6 years: /ng, l/
By 7 years: /ch, sh, j, th/
By 8 years: /s, z, r, zh/
LANGUAGE: Language skills can be broken down into three main areas---all of which are critical for success in school:
Grammar—using the correct form of words, and putting the words in the right order. For example: “Why him goed to the store?” versus “Why did he go to the store?”
Vocabulary--the meaning of words. A younger student with problems in vocabulary might have difficulty understanding and following directions. An older student might have trouble understanding information that he hears in the classroom or reads in a book.
Pragmatics/Social Language—how we interact with others. Areas of concern can include interrupting others, staying on the subject, answering questions or making comments inappropriately.
LISTENING: There are two aspects to listening:
Hearing sounds—A student with a hearing loss or chronic ear infections may miss spoken information.
Listening skills—While a student’s hearing may be normal, they may not be listening well, that is—paying attention, understanding, and remembering what they hear. They may also have difficulty detecting sounds in words. Problems with this might show up when following multi-step directions, participating in class discussions or developing phonics skills.
WHAT TO DO IF YOU SUSPECT A PROBLEM
Problems in any of the areas described above can affect your child’s learning. If you think your child has a problem, talk to your classroom teacher. Since a teacher works with many children at once, they have a good perspective on what is “typical” behavior for that age group. If you feel that there may be a problem, ask your teacher to follow up, or contact me, your Speech Language Pathologist.