Speech and Language Disorders

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Research began in the field of speech and language disorders back in the early nineteenth century. The first research began with individuals that were deaf/hard of hearing. Researchers were trying to find ways to help them communicate by helping them develop speech and using sign language. However, after this began researchers wanted to look more into helping individuals that had problems with speech not just to individuals who where deaf. The education of students with speech and language disorders began with physicians providing medical and clinical treatment. Meanwhile, as the interest for the need to correct speech increased more professionals became interested in being educated as speech clinicians. It was in 1930 that the first speech and language pathologist program was founded. The first academy of speech was known as the American Academy of Speech correction founded in 1925. Eventually over time this group became know as the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. Like other fields associated with serving students with disabilities, this organization set the guidelines for professional practices.
At the turn of the twentieth century, many interventions for students with speech and language disorders began in the public schools. After the passing of public law 94-142, these mandated students began to receive speech services in public schools. When speech therapist began servicing students it was in large groups. Unfortunately, due to meeting the needs of the individual students there was a decrease in teacher caseloads.
In reading the text, there are many definitions associated with the field of speech and language disorders. The term speech and language disorder is used to identify all disorders that fall under this category. IDEA uses the term speech and language impairments. This term defines having communication disorders such as stuttering, articulation problems, and language or voice impairments that can affect a child’s education. In some states, students can receive speech as a special education with related services without having another disability. However in other states, if a student qualifies for speech services they only receive speech and do not qualify for special education and its related services.
There are many characteristics that are used to identify students with speech and language disorders. As described in the text, a speech disorder involves deficits in the areas of voice, resonance, articulation, or fluency. Children that have voice disorders usually have difficulty with pitch, intensity, vocal quality, or resonance. Students that have speech and language disorders may have characteristics such as hearing impairments, cognitive or intellectual disabilities.

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Some speech and language disorders are due to biological, environmental, and academic factors. They may have causes such as developmental delays, weak oral muscles, birth defects such as cleft lip or cleft palate, autism, motor planning problems, respiratory problems, swallowing disorders, or traumatic brain injuries.
According to the text, there are many recommended educational practices for students with speech and language disorders. A student receives speech services based on the severity of the student’s disability and their needs. In speech-language therapy, the speech therapist usually will work with a child one-to-one, in a small group, or in the general education classroom to rise above difficulties involved with speech and language. The speech therapist uses a variety of exercises, one being language activities. The therapist may use conversation as a way to help a student talk and develop language skills. In many sessions, therapist use pictures and books as an intervention for language development. Another exercise a speech therapist may use in developing articulation is the use of correct sounds. The speech therapist will physically show the child how to make certain sounds, and may demonstrate how to move the tongue to produce specific sounds. Lastly, the speech therapist will use oral exercises in helping a student with speech and language. The therapist can teach the student different facial exercises to do in order to strengthen jaw muscles, tongue movement, and muscles in their mouth. The most important and most used way of helping students with speech and language disorders is the use of technology. Technology is advancing more each day for students with speech and language disorders. It is important that teachers and therapist collaborate to make sure that student needs are being met. Nevertheless, therapist must use research-based practices to service students based on NCLB.
Finally in reading the text, it is important that parents participate with teachers and therapist to help their child be successful. Parents are the primary foundation to students and their development of speech. It is important that parents interact with their children and model correct speech and language practices. In my school we have students that speak English as a second language that have some speech delays. Many of these students usually with teacher and speech therapist collaboration develop as normal. A trend that is influencing the field of speech and language disorders is distinguishing between language disorders and language differences. There are many cultures now in the United States and many cultures have language differences that cause for different developments in speech.




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