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Language Learning at The Howard School: The Speech Language Pathologist’s Role

 

Language is all around us. Yet many children do not easily pick up on the language that surrounds them. They need language presented in a very robust way, at their learning level. They need reiteration that is not boring, and they need continual practice with new words, expressions and concepts. What are the best ways to make sure that children make progress if they are taking longer to get the skills of understanding, speaking and writing?

Speech Language Pathologists – The “Push-In” model

Speech Language Pathologists are nationally certified Masters level professionals who receive training in many models in clinics, hospitals, and schools. Many Howard School SLPs have public school teaching experience, but prefer the Howard approach because it improves chances for student success.

Traditional speech and language therapy, where the therapist pulls the child away from the classroom for individual work, often falls short.* Working with a few grammatical or sound concepts a couple of times a week does not result in the gains that we hope for. Students leave the therapy room and do not see the same principles applied in their classrooms. Students need help in multiple arenas, and they need it now. So, it makes better sense to work along with the teaching team on language -- all day, every day, in the context of the classroom, the music room, the art room, at PE -– everywhere.

At Howard, speech language pathologists (SLPs) work in a “Push–In” model. They work with the teaching team to make sure that language is addressed optimally in the classroom. Here are a few examples of the many ways the SLP work:

  • Making sure the language of instruction is at the level of appropriate challenge for each student
  • Evaluating Tier 2 Vocabulary and monitoring word recurrence, presentation, and definitions
  • Helping with grammar instruction in speaking and writing
  • Analyzing sources of student confusion
  • Annotating literature discussion questions for depth of comprehension
  • Enforcing wait time for student processing
  • Monitoring frequency and depth of student response
  • Providing strategies for communication to individual students
  • Teaching and modeling precursor skills for listening and note taking
  • Helping teachers to promote sentence complexity in writing and speaking
  • Helping teachers and students understand what is unique within language of the subject area disciplines, such as Math, Science and Social Studies
  • Helping students talk themselves through executive function difficulties
  • Engaging in post-analysis of lessons and presentations for improvement of student success
  • Setting personal communication goals with students
  • Fostering the language of self-advocacy

Your child’s speech language pathologist is assigned to several homeroom classes. You can request a meeting with your SLP or invite the SLP to attend your child’s conference. There are seven SLPs at Howard, plus two administrators who are SLPs. Throw a stone and you might hit one. Better yet, give us a call!

*There are instances where outside individual work is a good idea, given the academic focus of the school day. If a student needs articulation, voice or fluency training where the SLP needs to work on how the student uses their anatomy to produce speech, this is best done individually. Also, some students need social skills therapy that is best initiated in a one-to-one environment or in a small group. When these needs are present, speech therapy is available before or after school.