Alex Sullivan, M.A., CCC-SLP, is the Interim Director of Speech and Language Services at The Kingsbury Center. She authored this blog, based on her years of experience facilitating client communication skills.
The best way to demonstrate how Speech-Language Pathologists (SLPs) transform the lives of others is by going straight to the source. Students who receive speech services at Kingsbury were recently interviewed and asked to describe how their struggles with communication and language (whether it be spoken or written) impacted their lives. Their responses demonstrate the variety of ways that speech services can support them, both in and out of school.
“I used to have a hard time with communicating images in my head to others clearly, but now I can easily tell others my ideas.” 8th grade student
Many students struggle with organizing their ideas. They often know what they want to say, but have difficulty putting those thoughts into words. Kingsbury Speech-Language Pathologists (SLPs) help students with expressive language difficulties learn ways to develop their ideas into coherent and organized speech. Students who struggle to organize their thoughts may have difficulty responding to questions, participating in conversations and telling a story. In therapy, the SLPs engage students in activities such as barrier tasks and narrative organizers to implement strategies, such as using “think time” and developing expressive vocabulary.
“I used to have a hard time remembering what I read but now I can make pictures in my head, write down helpful notes or use repetition to help me remember.” 10th grade student
We all have trouble remembering details. Short-term and working memory difficulties impact some students’ ability to remember essential details that are needed to complete daily academic and life tasks. For example, when copying guided notes off of the board, students may have to be taught to utilize silent repetition of the key terms while transferring the information to their own paper. Other strategies students learn in speech therapy include visualization (making a “mind movie”), making associations, the “chunking” or grouping of information and writing down key words.
“I used to have a hard time with punctuation and capitalization but now I can write sentences without a teacher’s help.” 12th grade student
An essential component of the writing process is editing and this is often a step that is not consistently completed by many. Editing involves looking for errors with grammar, capitalization, punctuation, word choice, spelling and sentence structure. Speech therapy can help a student to develop an understanding of their common errors and teach them to effectively correct those errors, thereby increasing the student’s independence and writing quality.
“I used to not make eye contact but now I make eye contact.” 8th grade student
Some students often feel uncomfortable or uncertain in social situations. The breakdown can occur in many different areas. For example, students with pragmatic deficits often struggle with knowing how to change their language based upon their conversational partner. Nonverbal skills such as body language, tone of voice and eye contact often have to be explicitly taught. SLPs at Kingsbury offer a variety of social skills groups to target these deficits among peers with similar needs. The groups provide an opportunity for members to practice their nonverbal skills and develop more confidence in social situations.
These responses reveal the many areas that can be targeted through speech therapy. In summation, speech therapy can support students with deficits in receptive and expressive language, social skills, articulation, fluency, voice, decoding and encoding, as well as written language.
Kingsbury SLPs are certified, licensed and experienced. They provide services to students at Kingsbury Day School, as well as to children, teen and adult clients throughout the Washington Metro area on a private pay basis. To request a speech-language evaluation or service, visit http://www.kingsbury.org/services/request-therapist.cfm