School-based speech and language services are designed to support students in acquiring the communicative competence necessary to achieve their educational goals and become effective communicators at home and in the community. This is accomplished through a range of services including presentations, consultation and materials. Support is provided for those students whose speech and language problems impact on learning and adjustment. The principle of early intervention is applied whenever possible.
Identification of students with communication disorders may originate from concerns of the school staff, parents/guardians, the student or outside agencies.
Specific areas in which difficulties can occur include language (understanding and use of vocabulary, grammar, sentence structure and social language), articulation (speech sound development), voice and fluency (stuttering).
District Speech-Language Pathologists may also provide assessment, consultation and intervention support to students who have Augmentative and Alternative Communication needs (see page for more information) and to students with significant language disabilities who are attending the Language Development program (see page for more information). Please refer to our At A Glance Brochure (link at the right) for more details.
In the pre-referral process, the teacher or parent requests a speech-language screening from the Speech-Language Pathologist. Classroom-based strategies to alleviate the communication problem may be implemented in collaboration with the Speech-Language Pathologist. Should more intensive assessment and intervention be required, a formal referral to the Speech-Language Pathologist may be initiated by the School-Based Team. Parental/guardian consent is required for this service and a hearing screening is strongly recommended.
The factors considered in caseload selection are: severity, prognosis, urgency, psychosocial factors and the nature of related problems. A range of services are available and the services provided are dependent on the needs of the students.
Ongoing direct feedback from parents/guardians, school staff and students, combined with a review process of the caseload, will determine whether the goals have been attained or compensatory strategies are in place. Other exiting factors may include evidence of a plateau in progress or transfers from the school.