Educators and SLPs—Working Together to Give Students the Learning Experience They Deserve
As an educator, you’ve already got a LOT on your plate.
Interfacing with students and parents, creating and providing high-quality, engaging curriculum, keeping up with endless paperwork and emails, not to mention your own continuing education...it’s a wonder you have any time left over!
Burnout is real. And research shows it impacts those in helping professions more than anyone. Yet educators like you are also on the front lines of identifying children with learning issues—you may even pick up on them before a child’s own parents do!
You also know that early identification and intervention are crucial when it comes to addressing issues before they severely impact a child’s education and quality of life.
So what happens when you notice one of your students isn’t thriving in the classroom? You’re concerned but aren’t sure where to turn.
That’s where we come in. We’re here to assist and support you!
As Speech and Language Pathologists, we offer a wide variety of services to help the children in your classroom be the best students they can be.
But most folks, even educators, aren’t fully aware of all the services we’re qualified to provide.
We get it—they call us “Speech Therapists,” which is helpful when you’re trying to fit a title on a name tag, but it doesn’t cover HALF of what we’re trained to do as therapists.
Sure, we help kids with their speech—but we also do a LOT more!
This article will help shed more light on the array of therapeutic services your friendly neighborhood Speech and Language Pathologist can contribute in the school setting. We can even help streamline your workload—giving you a much-needed break!
What do Speech Therapists do in schools?
Speech-Language Pathologists (or SLPs, as we’re also known) work in schools to provide a wide range of services to students who need them.
Our training allows us to assess and treat children who are experiencing difficulties with their speech, language, communication, voice, and swallowing. With such a variety of services we offer, we never get bored of what we do!
We partner with educators in the school setting to identify students who can benefit from our services. We work with you to provide standardized testing (if needed) to determine whether an issue is present and, if so, where it impacts a child’s learning and how severely.
If a student is eligible for our services, we’ll work with you to offer a holistic, child-centered therapy plan. We hope to collaborate with you whenever possible—because we value your skills and opinions and are open to hearing your insights.
Because you spend a great deal of time with your students, across different tasks and settings, you can offer us a comprehensive perspective of a child’s abilities. This information is so helpful in creating an individualized therapy plan.
While we may schedule a time to treat a student in a separate setting, we also work to conduct sessions in the most inclusive, least restrictive environment. We’ll even work with you to provide treatment right in the classroom setting when appropriate. And one more adult to help out in the classroom never hurts, right?
What issues are Speech and Language Therapists qualified to address?
We hate to complain, because we love what we do. But SLPs do wish people knew more about the issues we treat, other than just speech. As an educator, you can help us spread the word!
Don’t get us wrong—speech therapy is a HUGE part of what we do with the school-aged population. That’s why it’s the first word in our title.
But we want you to know—we offer a lot more besides speech therapy. And we want to work with you to identify and support any of your students who stand to benefit from our services.
Let’s take a deeper look at what we offer, so you can feel confident when you’re interfacing with parents on the subject, or if you have a student you’re considering for our services.
Some of the skills school-based SLPs are trained to treat include—
Receptive and expressive language
Reading and writing
We know educators also have a knowledge base when it comes to these skills. Let’s take a closer look at our scope of practice, so you can see what an SLP can offer when your students need extra support in any of these areas.
If you have a student who you’ve noticed is struggling with pronouncing words and sounds in the classroom, and you’re concerned—let us know!
At The Loop, we’re proud to offer a range of speech therapy services. You can learn more about some of the speech services we offer here.
We can help determine if the issue your student is experiencing warrants further assessment and treatment. We can also help address issues with dysfluency, including stuttering.
If appropriate, we’ll work with you to schedule an assessment, where we can administer a standardized test of articulation skills. You can read more about the standardized tests we use in our recent blog post. Plus, stay tuned for next week’s blog post, which is all about articulation!
As an educational professional, you already know that communication is bigger than language. It encompasses not only what we say, but how we say it. It also includes features like body language, facial expression, and inflection.
For some students, understanding and mastering the finer points of communication skills in the school setting is a struggle. We can help these students be better communicators with targeted therapy that addresses their specific issues. We have many methods to treat communication skills, including role-playing, picture cards, drills, and games.
If you have students who have been diagnosed as being on the autism spectrum, or who you are concerned may be experiencing an as-yet undiagnosed communication issue of a different etiology—reach out to us!
Receptive and Expressive Language
It goes without saying that us SLPs love all things related to language! We especially love helping students overcome their issues with receptive and expressive language skills.
Difficulty in either of these areas can quickly create a negative impact on a student's ability to thrive both in and out of the classroom.
If a student is experiencing difficulty with receptive language, they may have trouble understanding the assignments you’ve given, or your instructions for in-class work. They may struggle to form solid connections with their classmates, as it takes extra effort for them to catch the many subtleties of spoken language.
If a student experiences difficulty with expressive language, they may present with frustration in not feeling able to adequately express their thoughts and feelings. This may manifest as outbursts, disruptive behaviors, or even withdrawal.
If you notice a child who appears to be struggling with their language abilities in the classroom, reach out to your SLP ASAP. You can help catch these issues early, and we can help treat them—so they don’t impact a student’s school performance, learning, or quality of life.
We’d love for you to check out the language therapy services we offer in more detail
Reading and Writing Skills
We SLPs also enjoy partnering with educators to address reading and writing skills. But some educators aren’t aware of the level of skilled assistance we can provide in this area.
We both know that literacy is WAY bigger (and more important) than simply reading and writing. It’s a crucial milestone in development. And it’s critical for being a fully-functioning adult member of our society.
SLPs are trained to assess and treat key emergent literacy skills in younger school-aged children. We understand how skills like rhyming, hearing and manipulating word parts, vocabulary building, and letter-sound correspondence combine to help children “crack the code” of literacy.
We know you work hard to set up a literacy-rich classroom environment, where students will have lots of opportunities to encounter words and letters in a natural setting. (Awesome job, by the way). We know you directly foster literacy skills in the classroom each day with robust activities like oral reading, vocabulary building tasks and games, and text comprehension exercises.
But we also know—for some students, acquiring literacy will still be a difficult skill to master.
While some students will become literate with no need for extra support and instruction, others won’t. These kids need the additional assistance an SLP can provide.
We can support and build upon the literacy instruction you’re already providing by partnering with you to create individualized therapy to students who are struggling in any area and phase of literary skill acquisition.
From emergent literacy skill building, to encoding, decoding, and comprehension of printed text, we SLPs are skilled and ready to help your students thrive.
After all, we all need extra help now and then, and literacy skills are so worth the investment!
How can educators help identify students who need speech and language services?
Educators like you are on the front lines of the learning experience. From this vantage point, you’re often the first person to notice when a child is struggling, or in danger of falling behind. In many cases, you may even detect an issue before a child’s parents do!
Because of your position and knowledge, we rely on you to provide referrals of students who stand to benefit from our services. We value your input and insights about what you’re seeing in the classroom, and are available to listen to your concerns.
We are open to sharing knowledge with educators, because we believe it truly takes a village to make sure all students rise to their highest potential. The thought of a student with a learning issue going unidentified keeps us up at night—so don’t hesitate to reach out to us with your questions or concerns!
As an educator, you know that early identification and treatment for learning difficulties is crucial to obtain the best outcomes in remediation. When we can catch a student who’s struggling before they slip through the proverbial cracks of the system, we stand a much greater chance of being able to solve the issue, altogether, so it ceases to be a barrier to learning.
SLPs and educators—partnering to deliver quality education
As an educator, you have a ton of demands placed on your time and energy. But you can’t be expected to do everything, all by yourself! Let us take some important work off your plate by collaborating with you to identify and assist students who need extra help.
But what happens if you notice a student who has needs that go beyond what a Speech and Language Pathologist can provide? Fear not—we’ve got you covered!
Here at The Loop, we not only provide stellar SLPs services, we also offer Occupational Therapy, executive function support, and learning remediation services. Our exclusive model allows us to be your one-stop-shop for all things therapy!
If you need help explaining the need for our services to parents, our recent blog post explains the services we provide to parents who may not be familiar with ST.
You can also take advantage of our array of quality learning support services, delivered right in your school to students who need them. We even offer educational consulting and advocacy.
In short—we may not be able to make your job as an educator easy, but we can definitely help to simplify the service acquisition process. Together, let’s make sure your students succeed!
Want to learn more about the quality, comprehensive services we can offer YOUR school? Check us out at www.theloopsll.com, friend us on social @TheLoopSLL, or reach out with questions at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’re here for you!