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Will my Child Quality for Speech Therapy At School?

Many parents feel their child is delayed in their speech or articulation and should have some help from the school. And many are surprised when their child does NOT qualify. To help you understand the guidelines for this qualification we have outlined below the North Carolina standard for Speech-Language intervention at school.

The governing guidelines state that the school has to provide programs and services for children with disabilities. “Speech-Language Impaired” qualifies as a “disability” in this context. This is defined as a child that has a disorder in articulation, language, voice and/or fluency. The NC Public Schools guidelines defines it more closely as “a communication disorder, such as stuttering, impaired articulation/phonology, a language impairment, or voice impairment that adversely affects a child’s educational performance.”

In-School Speech Therapy Eligibility is as Follows:

The student must demonstrate impairments in the areas of language, articulation/phonology, voice, and fluency.

  1. Language Impairment – A significant deficiency which is not consistent with the student’s chronological age in one or more of the following areas:
    • a deficiency in receptive language skills to gain information;
    • a deficiency in expressive language skills to communicate information;
    • a deficiency in processing (auditory perception) skills to organize information.
  2. Articulation Impairment – A significant deficiency inability to produce sounds in conversational speech which is not consistent with chronological age.
  3. Voice Impairment – A significant deficiency in pitch, intensity, or quality resulting from pathological conditions or inappropriate use of the vocal mechanism.
  4. Fluency Impairment – Abnormal interruption in the flow of speech by repetitions or prolongations of a sound, syllable, or by avoidance and struggle behaviors.

The impairments defined above are not only present but “cause an adverse effect on educational performance in the general education classroom or learning environment.:

And, speech-language impairments identified are not the result of a “second language acquisition and/or dialectal differences.”

How to Determine Eligibility for Speech Therapy at School

A speech-language evaluation will be conducted by a speech-language pathologist licensed by the state if your student is suspected of having a speech and/or language impairment. The evaluation will be used to assess and describe your child’s communication behavior and any discovered speech-language impairment. It will also be used to assess the “adverse effect on educational performance” to determine eligibility for related in-school services. The state outlines the guide for the evaluation process in the NC speech guide.

If you suspect your child should qualify for speech therapy in school, you can begin by asking your school’s speech pathologist for a screening. A screening will help determine if further evaluation is needed. Once the evaluation is completed, school speech therapy services will or will not be offered based on the results.

Alternatively, if your child did not qualify for in-school speech therapy services, private speech therapy is an excellent option to help your child improve his/her communication skills. While the school may determine that their impairment does not adversely affect their education, you as the parent can see how it affects them in life as a whole. Early intervention for speech therapy is the best way to avoid long-term social and educational challenges related to a speech or language impairment. Call today to learn more about our private speech therapy services. 704-845-0561