Courtney Pignataro     

Speech/Language Specialist


The role of the Speech Language Specialist in your school:

        o   Prevention of communication disorders

o   Identification of students at risk for later problems

o   Assessment of students' communication skills

o   Evaluation of results from comprehensive assessments

o   Development and implementation of IEP's

o   Documentation of outcomes

o   Collaboration with teachers and other professionals

 SLS's work with school children who have communication problems that affect success in:

o   Classroom activities

o   Social Interaction

o   Literacy

o   Learning


 SLS's work with children who have a variety of disabilities


o   Slow development of vocabulary, concepts, or grammar

o   Inability to use different communication styles for different situations

o   Poor building blocks of understanding/expressing ideas, social development, learning, reading, and writing.



o   Speech that is too high, low, or monotonous in pitch

o   Interrupted by breaks

o   Too loud or too soft

o   Harsh, hoarse, breathy, or nasal


Fluency/ Stuttering

o   Interruptions in flow or rhythm

o   Can include hesitations, repetitions, or prolongations

o   Can affect sounds, syllables, words, or phrases



o   Saying one word for another (wabbit for rabbit)

o   Omitting a sound in a word (i-cream for ice cream)

o   Distorting a sound (thee for see)


           Swallowing/ Dysphagia

o   Difficulty in sucking, chewing, triggering a swallow, moving food into the stomach


 SLS's work with children in a variety of ways:

o   Combine communication goals with academic and social goals 

o   Integrate classroom objectives             

o   Help students understand and use basic language concepts

o   Support reading and writing

o   Increase students’ understanding of texts and lessons           


  Services can vary depending on students’ needs:

o   Monitoring or periodic screening

o   Collaborating and consulting

o   Classroom based services

o   Small group or individual sessions

 Speech and Language Disorders can be associated with:

   Hearing loss, Cleft palate, Cerebral Palsy and other motor problems, Learning disabilities,  

    Autism, Developmental Delays, Traumatic Brain Injury and other problems

 Signs of a communication disorder

      Late talker

      Below expectations in the classroom

      Difficulty learning to read and write

      Unable to express thoughts and ideas

      Problems understanding others and following directions

      Doesn't get along with others

      Problems taking tests



 Resources about communication disorders