Hiring An SLP For Your School

By Adriana Noton

The study of language and human communication is a valued and worthy science. However, the people who diagnose and help to treat difficulties or challenges in communication are called speech language pathologists. An SLP is specifically trained to diagnose speech issues at an early stage. That's why they are so important in schools.

The career path of SLPs starts with their education. Both speech pathologists and audiologists must have a certain number of courses under their belts. Typically they will learn about anatomy, acoustics and linguistics, as well as courses on counseling and parent training. They study phonetics and focus on learning about speech disorders, while also having a strong education in neurology and psychology.

A certified SLP will have training in clinical situations and settings, as well as in schools. They must spend quite a bit of time under the guidance and tutelage of a mentor in their field. With experienced help, they learn all the skills they need to help them in their future career helping others.

Speech language pathologists assess hearing, speech and language. They are involved in the prevention, identification, diagnosis and treatment of both children and adults. They educate the public and their client base on hearing impairments and communication disorders. An SLP will provide consultative advice to a team of otherwise focused professionals or they can offer more direct treatment services.

An SLP in a school setting knows that children are best assessed at the earliest age possible. Most school children are assessed in kindergarten either one on one or in groups in an informal and brief test. This first assessment test may last only five minutes, and usually involves having the child or children say their name, pronounce the names of certain items and answer open ended questions. This test is usually just to evaluate articulation, language fluency, and several other aspects of speech.

If it is found that a child needs further assessment or testing, the next phase is for the SLP in the school setting to spend about two hours with a child, one on one. The next test will include a physical examination of the mouth and throat and other parts involved in verbal communication. Use of sentences and words will be tested, as well as seeing how the child produces sounds in general. This longer visit will include tests for expressive and spontaneous language, as well as a hearing test.

As an SLP learns a child's particular case history and diagnoses the reasons behind why a child is having a communication challenge, they will discover the best method of treating the child. This will involve the family and the school as well as the child themselves. A good speech language pathologist knows that a challenge identified early on for a child is a challenge the child can be taught to overcome. With help from teachers, parents and other critical social systems, the child may regain or develop successful communication skills.

An SLP placed in the school system can help identify challenges with communication, language and speech disorders early on. Given the nature of their strong education and certification requirements, they come very highly trained and experienced already. In countries like Canada, one in ten citizens is living with a communication disorder. Early diagnosis and personal treatment options are the best way to resolve language and speech disorders. This is exactly what an SLP is trained for and prepared to do in a school. - 30436

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