Hello! I am the speech therapist at East Hanover Elementary School. I work with students in grades kindergarten through 5th grade in one or more of three typical areas:
Articulation: This is the area most people commonly think of when they talk about speech therapy. Articulation therapy deals with improving the production of speech sounds. Sounds are usually developed and produced correctly in a typical order from early in a child's life until later in elementary school. Speech issues are common in elementary school children, and break down into two groups: those that are "developmental" and those that are not developmental. If a sound is "developmental" for a child at a certain age, it means that the sound may not be fully developed at that time by most children. For example, if a 1st grade student had difficulty with R, that would be considered to be developmental, since R may not be always fully accurate until 3rd grade. The child would be eligible for speech therapy if he/she reaches the age at which the sound should be resolved, yet is still having trouble producing that sound. Click here for list of sounds and their age of maturity.
- Language: This is another common area of therapy for a speech therapist in an elementary school. If your child experiences difficulty with one or more of these areas: he/she may be eligible for speech therapy:
- Expressing ideas clearly
Finding the proper word to use
- Learning new vocabulary
- Understanding questions and following directions
- Understanding and retaining the details of a story's plot
- Reading and comprehending material
- Identifying the sounds that correspond to letters
Again, language forms such as verb tenses and other grammatical parts of speech usually develop in a hierarchy. Elementary students who cannot correctly produce accurate grammatical forms may be eligible for speech therapy. Another typical area of work is more conceptual--issues such as categories, similarities and differences, descriptions and story telling. Practicing these skills can help children with language deficiencies become more comfortable with their communication.
Pragmatics: Many parents of schoolchildren are often unaware that work with "pragmatics", or social skills, is an area that is treated in speech therapy. Students who have difficulty with conversational skills, asking and answering questions, and following directions often work with the speech therapist at school. Some children need to learn the specifics of social skills as an academic subject so that they understand how to handle these interactions with others.
Read here to learn about the typical therapy process.