Speech and Language Therapy
Speech-Language Pathologists follow an integrated model and collaborate with classroom teachers to develop a language-rich environment, across all daily activities. This model allows the SLPs to facilitate language development naturally and within context, during activities such as circle time (greeting classmates and teachers), art (asking peers for items), lunch (requesting by using their individualized communication systems), and story time (expanding language through narration). The SLPs run daily or weekly language groups, in which they target socialization, as well as generalization of learned skills to a group activity. They also participate in outings to generalize learned communication skills to community environments.
All of our SLPs hold masters degrees, are certified by the American Speech and Hearing Association, and are New York State licensed. Individualized Education Plans are generated for each student based on annual standardized testing, as well as on each student’s individual needs to functionally communicate across all aspects of daily living. Our SLPs practice evidence-based teaching, whereby progress is tracked using data collection, which is monitored on a daily basis. They participate in weekly team meetings to discuss each of their student’s goals, ensuring carry-over across all staff.
Speech and language therapy is set up to follow the transition of our students from lower to middle to upper schools. While the focus in the lower school is placed on the development of emerging language and expanding those skills, the focus in the upper school is placed on the development and generalization of language skills related to daily living and the community. Individual speech and language sessions are 45 minutes in duration. Initially, students receive individual therapy five times a week. As the students demonstrate that they are ready for more social skills, they participate in peer groups targeting social communication, turn-taking, conversational skills, and interactive play.
Therapy includes the following areas:
- Receptive language is the area of understanding what is being communicated. Goals may include following directions, understanding concepts of categorization, and understanding the concept of sequencing for the development of narrative skills.
- Expressive language focuses on the ability to use language to communicate. Our SLPs use a variety of modalities to facilitate expressive language including visual supports, Picture Exchange Communication System, and sign language, as well as low- and high-tech devices including the iPad.
- Pragmatic language focuses on socialization with peers, commenting on the environment, and conversation.
- Play programs foster emerging language and encourage development of imagination. Our SLPs set up programs targeting appropriate isolate play, pretend play, and interactive play with peers.
- Articulation is the ability to produce sounds clearly. Each of our SLPs is trained in the PROMPT method, which addresses the development and rehabilitation of speech sounds via muscle stimulation through tactile cues. Additionally, they are trained in oral-motor exercises connected to speech development, sensory regulation, and chewing skills.
- Feeding therapy addresses the needs of those students who experience difficulty chewing foods and those with limited food repertoires. Our SLPs are trained in feeding therapy and use a combination of behavioral and sensory techniques to expose the students to new tastes, textures, and temperatures.
- Technology in the form of software is incorporated into therapy to target skills such as language processing, sequencing, and responding to questions, as well as social skills and grammar. The SLPs also make use of SMART Boards in the classrooms as a fun and interactive means of teaching during language groups.