What is a communication problem?

    A communication disorder is an impairment which has a direct influence on the social, emotional, and academic development of the child. It is the responsibility of the speech/ language pathologist (SLP) to aid in correcting this disorder by implementing a program specifically to meet the individual needs of the student.

    What services does a speech/language pathologist offer?

    The services offered by the SLP in the schools are extended to all school age students to the age of 21. The population includes all students enrolled inregular education and/or any area of disability.  In order to receive Speech and Language Support in the school setting, the disorder must be effecting educational performance in the classroom either socially, emotionally, or academically.

     A speech and language clinician is responsible forremediation of the following communication disorders: Language, Articulation,Voice, and Fluency. The areas of dysphagia, assistive technology, phonological awareness, and auditory processing are also included within this realm.Further, a wide range of itinerant services are provided, including:


    1. Direct Services to Children

     a. Individual Screening based on teacher or parent request

     b. Diagnostic Evaluation

     c. Individual Education Program (IEP)

    d. Evaluation Reports

     e. Transition Services

     f. Extended School Year Services


    2. Related Services

     a. Parent Counseling for Speech/Language Development

     b. Teacher Interaction

     c. Referrals (i.e. School Personnel, Medical Doctor, Dentist, Parent)

     d. Consultation with other educational/health professionals

     e. MultidisciplinaryTeam Meetings

     f. Case Selection/Scheduling/Dismissals

     g. Record Keeping

     h. Report Writing

     i. Collection of Statistical Data


    How does a child get enrolled in the Speech/Language Support Program?


    Enrollment in the speech/language program begins when either the parent or school personnel refers the child for a multidisciplinary team evaluation. The evaluation will include classroom observation, information from the parents, the teachers, other professional personnel, and testing. The evaluation results and recommendations are included in a comprehensive written  report which is forwarded to the parent and other members of the IEP team.  Speech and language disorder must have an adverse effect on education.

     If your child meets eligibility requirements for enrollment in the speech/language support program, an IEP is developed to identify the needs and to write the program for specially designed instruction.


    An IEP includes a description of present levels, strengths, needs, annual goals, short term objectives, related services, program modifications, participation in state and district-wide assessments, and regular class participation in the general education curriculum.


     (Excerpts adapted from the Somerset Area School District Department of Special Education Program and Services pamphlet)


    For any further question or concerns, please contact:


    Elementary: Adam Rullo, Assistant Director of Special Education, Somerset Area School District (814)443-2831

    Jr. High: Christy Poorbaugh, Assistant Director of Special Education, Somerset Area School District (814)443-2831