speech language pathology; therapy materials; children; preschool
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Once children start preschool, they should be able to speak in simple sentences and use basic syntax. When they complete preschool and begin kindergarten, they should be using complete, complex sentences, have an extensive vocabulary, and use correct grammar. However, sometimes a child’s language doesn’t develop as expected resulting in speech delays or impairments. This problem could arise for a multitude of reasons, for example, the child may be on the autism spectrum, he/she may have a specific language delay, or it may be due to an articulation/phonology problem. The role of a speech language pathologist (SLP) in a school system is to help these children improve their language and communication while reducing or eliminating these difficulties.
The SLP conducts therapy sessions during the school day, however the length and frequency of sessions depends on the child’s specific needs. In addition to conducting therapy, SLPs in the school system need to construct many of their own therapy materials for their children. When developing these materials it is important to make them interactive, easy, fun and creative. Most times SLPs will make games to keep the child engaged and interactive in the activity.
Last semester, fall 2015, I had an internship at the South Kingstown Inclusionary Preschool working with speech-language pathologist, Sally Cole-Major. I made six therapy materials across the semester to track the progress of children with speech or language impairments at the preschool level. I wanted to expand my knowledge of the intervention process and determine if these children improved in their speech and language skills after working with the SLP over this period of time.
I used each therapy material once during the first six weeks of the internship and then again at the end of the semester. Between those two administrations each child received speech therapy from the school SLP.
The data I collected over the course of the semester suggested that speech language services are beneficial for students with communication disorders. Each child improved, although at different rates, between the first and second presentation of the therapy materials, as can be seen on the accompanying graphs.
Seeing the variability in the rate at which children improved in their language when provided therapy, as well as witnessing the benefits of speech-language therapy for young children, were take away messages for me from this project. I look forward to one day being that certified speech-language pathologist working with children as I embark on my graduate school career.