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Speech Services

Speech-Language Pathologists work in the school to:

  • Provide services to students with a variety of communication disorders under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, (IDEA)*
  • Possible communication disorders include: language, articulation, voice, and fluency (stuttering). *See below for more details about the difference between speech and language.
  • Prevent, identify, and assess communication disorders per IDEA*
  • Provide services per IDEA to individuals, small groups or in a
    classroom setting


*For more information on IDEA visit external link in new window)


What is the difference between language and speech?

Language is comprised of socially shared rules that include:

  • Word meanings (e.g., "star" can refer to a bright object in the night sky or a celebrity)
  • Creating new words (e.g., friend, friendly, unfriendly)
  • Combing words to create complete thoughts (e.g., "Peg walked to the new store" rather than "Peg walk store new")
  • Socially appropriate language ("Would you mind moving your foot?" could quickly change to "Get off my foot, please!" if the first request did not produce results)

Speech is the verbal means of communicating. Speech consists of the following:

  • Articulation : How speech sounds are made (e.g., children must learn how to produce the "r" sound in order to say "rabbit" instead of "wabbit").
  • Voice : Use of the vocal folds and breathing to produce sound (e.g., vocal abuse can lead to hoarseness or loss of voice).
  • Fluency : The rhythm of speech (e.g., hesitations or stuttering can affect fluency).

When a person has trouble understanding others ( receptive language ), or appropriately communicating thoughts and feelings ( expressive language ), then he or she has a language disorder .


When a person is unable to produce speech sounds correctly or fluently, or has problems with his or her voice, then he or she has a speech disorder .