Speech and Language Therapists, addressing much more than speaking.

September 12, 2019

Speech and Language Therapy. Many of us think of it as learning to say our /s/ sound correctly, or making an accurate /th/ sound.

Articulation is certainly part of speech and language therapy and something our speech therapists can address. Students do work on articulation skills here, but very often there are prerequisite skills that need to be met first. Most of the students who come through the doors at Crossroads need help learning to use speech and language in the first place.

Our children can learn speech, language and communication skills when they are taught, step by step. Using techniques and principles of Applied Behavior Analysis, our Speech and Language Therapists and Pathologists work every minute of their days with kids. Whether in small groups or individual sessions, they are busy helping children to increase communication and language concepts. They work on anything and everything from pointing to a requested picture in an array, to answering questions about a story.

Many times, skills that are learned incidentally with “typically developing” students are not gained incidentally at all by children with developmental disabilities.  Here’s are some of the ways our Speech Therapists help kids at Crossroads.

Making eye contact with others is one of the most basic forms of communication, and something that our students need help learning. Our speech team works on helping their pupils to get their needs met, starting with looking at a person.

Learning to “mand” or communicate wants and needs is one of the earliest forms of communication, along with “tacting,” or labeling what we see around us. Our Speech and Language team teaches students to point to items or pictures, and to hand over pictures to make requests.

Many students are taught to communicate using the Picture Exchange Communication System, (PECS). There are several stages for PECS learning, and children using PECS might be working on very different objectives from one another, yet it is the Speech-Language Therapist or Pathologist, in conjunction with the child’s classroom team, who sets up the materials, the actual icons, the PECS book, and who practices the skills with the child instructionally, each on an individual basis.

Our therapists work on following instructions, also called “functional directions.” Such skills and directions might include, “get the tissues,” or “sit in the red chair,” or “look at me.”

Students learn to ask, such as asking permission to feed the fish or get a toy.

Students can work on turn-taking with peers and telling each other that it’s the peer’s turn. Some might work on retelling events from a story, picking the item that goes with a picture, or telling someone else about a picture.

Some work on understanding idioms, or using pronouns, while other children are making connections from pictures to have a conversation.

Crossroads Center for Children’s Speech-Language Therapists and Pathologists are the most excellent therapists in the field. These are just some of the ways they’re working each and every day to help our students. Thank you to our amazing Speech and Language Therapy Department for all you do for the children and families of Crossroads Center for Children.

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