Thursday, August 26, 2010

The Speech/Language Program at AES

The Speech/Language Intervention program has been working with qualified students since the early years of Alvarado Elementary. Once a child meets specific criteria, it becomes a federally mandated service. The service model and specific goals will vary for each child. The teacher, parent, and school specialists (Resource Specialist, School Psychologist, Speech/Language Specialist) all have a part in developing the Individual Education Plan (IEP) for each student. This IEP is a living document that grows, and is modified and/or enhanced based on the individual child’s needs. All of this is only done with the parents prior written permission.

How does a child qualify for such help? A child is evaluated by a credentialed and certified Speech/Language Specialist, to determine if the child meets the state educational code criteria. The child’s scores need to fall at or below the seventh percentile compared to other children their own age. The areas the Speech/Language Specialist evaluates are: Articulation (how sounds/words are pronounced); Voice (the sound quality of the child’s voice: harsh, breathy), Fluency (the fluidity and smoothness to the speech without stopping and starting: pppplease pppass the sssalt), and Language. Language is complex and covers many areas. It can include: difficulty labeling thing; difficulty understanding what was just heard; processing information; following directions; understanding and using vocabulary correctly; defining, comparing and contrasting ideas; and expressing ones self effectively, these are just a few things that the Speech/Language Specialist addresses. For those students that are not able to communicate orally, the child will be taught sign language, use pictures or low-high tech communication devises. These are designed and implemented by the Speech /Language Specialists.

Once the evaluation is completed, the Speech/Language Specialist, with the input from the team mentioned above, write goals and objectives for the upcoming calendar year on the IEP. The specialist will give progress updates 3 times a year and a review every year. On the 3rd year, the evaluation is redone, to determine if the child still qualifies for services.

The children are seen anywhere from 2 times per month, for a child who is working on carry-over of his skills into the classroom setting, to 3 days a week. Again, this depends on the child’s developmental levels and the team’s decision on how to best to serve the individual child. The therapy sessions are typically a pull-out model within a small group of similarly aged students.

This post was written by Kathy Jones Mabie. Ms. Mabie is a long time and well respected Alvarado Speech and Language Specialist. She is a contributing force in all of the Alvarado school community activities as shown here in one of her Halloween costumes.

Kathy Mabie