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Speech and Language Program Overview

 Some children demonstrate difficulties understanding language (comprehension) and using language (expressive). We recognize that language is used to communicate our needs, feelings and ideas with those around us. When a child has difficulty understanding and using language, it has the potential to affect his/her social development, emotional development and academic development. Problems associated with understanding and using language are often categorized as a language delay. There are a variety of possible causes for a language delay and we can provide suggestions and therapy to improve his/her language skills.

Some children often demonstrate difficulty producing speech sounds. Speech articulation requires the correct production of sounds to form words. Children need words to communicate. It is not uncommon for young children to have difficulty producing specific speech sounds. Speech sound development is often related to the child's chronological age and may not be a problem. If your child is difficult to understand or you are concerned about his or her speech development, testing should be done to determine the nature of your child's problem and make recommendations for treatment.

 Other children may exhibit non-fluent speech (stuttering) or may use an inappropriate pitch, volume, or quality of voice. These speech disorders may make it difficult for a child to communicate successfully in the classroom.

 The role of the speech and language specialist in the school-based setting is to provide speech and language therapy services to students, provide support to teachers in developing classroom activities and goals to improve students' oral and written communication, and to work cooperatively with other specialists and staff in the school, as well as parents. Speech and language specialists identify and provide intervention for students with disorders in the areas of language, speech articulation, fluency, and voice. Speech and language services are often delivered to students in a variety of school settings, according to an Individualized Education Program (IEP).

 If you are concerned about your child's speech and language development, please contact your child's teacher.


 Referral Process


If there is a suspected delay observed in a child's speech (articulation of speech sounds, vocal quality, fluency of speech), a teacher or a parent may submit a speech referral in writing to the speech & language specialist. The specialist then reviews the referral with the classroom teacher and schedules a time to informally observe the child's speech development.

 What to expect following a speech referral:

Step 1 - Initial Evaluation Meeting: After a speech referral has been handed in to the speech & language specialist, the therapist has (20)calendar days to schedule an initial evaluation planning meeting with you and your child’s teacher. At this meeting there will be a discussion regarding an evaluation for your child for speech therapy within the school. If it is determined that assessments are necessary, an initial evaluation plan is developed and the parent/guardian gives written permission. The district then has ninety (90) days to complete the necessary evaluations.

Step 2 - Evaluation: If evaluation is warranted and parental consent is issued,  the child's hearing and vision will first be screened by the school nurse. The Goldman Fristoe Test of Articulation – 2(GFTA-2) is the tool used to assess your child’s speech. The GFTA-2 is used to assess articulation of the consonant sounds in the initial, medial, and final position in words, as well as within connected speech. An oral motor examination will also be conducted in order to assess the child's speech structure to identify any structural, oral-motor, or sensory deviations that might explain the presenting speech disorder.

 Step 3 - Eligibility Conference: Within the ninety (90) days, an Eligibility Conference is scheduled which includes the parent/guardian,teacher, and speech & language specialist. During this meeting, the evaluations are interpreted and it is determined whether your child is eligible for speech services. If it is determined that your child is eligible for speech services, an Individualized Education Program (IEP) will be established.

 All of this information(and more) can be found in the PRISE booklet given to you at your initial speech planning meeting.

and is located @ http://www.nj.gov/education/specialed/form/prise/prise.pdf