Teacher Awareness of the Link Between Problem Classroom and Language Impairment

“He doesn’t follow directions”, “She prefers to play by herself ”, or “He constantly hits other children.” Have you ever heard these comments from teachers? I have. Per the teachers’ comments, these students show obvious behavior concerns. It has been my experience that if I was to ask the teachers to describe the students’ communication skills, they might say “They’re good.” But, during targeted questioning to gather additional information about the students’ communication skills, teachers’ responses often reveal issues that point to possible language problems. Unfortunately, they do not link the behaviors to an underlying language impairment. This is an indication that training to identify language problems in students, particularly those with behavior problems, continues to be an area of need for some teachers. According to Cross (2004), language impairments in students with behavior problems often go undetected. When language problems are not properly identified, appropriate referrals for evaluations and necessary supports cannot be implemented.

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Ways to Improve Communication with General Education Teachers

The Importance of Strong Communication and Relationships in a School Setting

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Staying in the Loop

As speech-language pathologists, we oftentimes find that we can be overlooked during the RTI process, IEPs, and as an overall resource for general and special education teachers. This can result in frustration and a lack of overall efficiency. It’s important that we remain known and included so that students can receive the best and most appropriate services possible and as efficiently as we can. Below are some tips for remaining in the loop:

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Helping Our Teachers Understand

If you have been doing this for a while, I am sure you have felt like everything gets dumped at your doorstep with little or no understanding to what it is we do.   Most days I am met in the hallway being asked by a teacher to listen to a child with articulation errors and the teachers cannot understand the student.  Speech kid. Easy, right?  Absolutely those children need to be identified, however, what can be frustrating is missing the students they do not ask me to observe, or the ones, I feel, are often overlooked.  Our Language kids.  Why do our classroom teachers, whose classes are often rich in language miss these students? I believe it is because they do not understand what it is we do sometimes, and often they do not realize the development of language or the difference between speech versus language.

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