It’s estimated that around 5% of kids suffer from some kind of speech impediment, and there can be real consequences for those who don’t ‘grow out of it’. According to Speech Pathology Australia, speech impediments can result in literacy difficulties, lower academic achievement, low self esteem and behavioural problems. Lauren has been working to educate her colleagues on speech and language expectations so that they are able to intervene and resolve speech related issues earlier rather than later. The purpose of this project is to create an environment where students who may need extra assistance can be identified, and the whole student body improves their language skills.
“There are often HUGE waiting lists for students to access services which they require. I want to ensure that we can support students with early intervention as early as possible. By doing this we are hopefully giving the students the best opportunities to access the curriculum and develop socially and academically.”
- Almost all good projects start with an examination of the problem and this one is no different. Lauren started with a survey, asking the staff why they thought there weren’t more referrals, where the ‘they’ll grow out of it’ idea came from and what areas they might benefit from support in.
- Lauren hired a speech pathologist to spend a week in the early years classroom.
- The speech pathologist met with each class member to discuss where their class was at, when they could do a weekly PD session, and discuss ideas, concerns, feedback, outcomes and activities.
- The speech pathologist began running 40 minute classes to provide resources for each classroom.
- After a semester, the staff began to team teach these lessons with the speech pathologists, monitoring and referring individuals who had not progressed at the expected level.
“Students from each classroom complete speech and language assessments and we have seen amazing results in pre and post testing. Oral language, sentence structure and length has improved and this is evident in writing pieces and questioning.”
Like the Idea?
If you would like to copy this approach in your school, Lauren would be very excited, in fact she is even open to sharing some of her resources with you. Shoot an email to firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to get in touch with Lauren and we can connect you. Feel free to cheer her on in the comments below as well.