Speech Services

What speech, language and hearing services are available to students in the North Kitsap School District?
     The speech and language program provides assistance to those students who have been identified as needing help in the following areas of communication: Articulation, Expressive and Receptive Language, Voice or Speech Fluency.
 
Articulation (Speech Sounds)
 
What is an Articulation disorder? 

Definition: An articulation disorder is defined as a delay or deficit in a student's development of age-appropriate speech sounds and word and syllable shapes in relation to their age and overall development.
 
Difficulties with articulation show up in various ways:
1. Some students exhibit difficulties forming and using specific speech sounds. They may substitute one sound for another. An example of this would be a student who pronounces "cat" as "tat", substituting the "t" sound for the "k" at the beginning of the word. This is called sound substitution.
2. Some students may distort specific speech sounds when they are speaking. An example of this would be a student who pronounces the "sh" in "sheep" with air flowing out the sides of the mouth instead of down the center. This results in a mushy sound that results in "sheep" being difficult to understand. This is called sound distortion. A lisp is an example of a sound distortion.
3. Some students have difficulty forming whole words when speaking. They may leave off the end of a word, pronouncing "cat" as "ca_" and "mask" as "ma_". They may leave off the beginning of a word, pronouncing "cat" as "_at" and "star" as "_ar". This is called sound deletion. They may also have difficulty combining consonant sounds together to form blends, pronouncing "snow" as "so" or "no" and "mask" as "mas" or "mak". This is called consonant sequence deletion or reduction.
4. A student might also omit one or more syllables in words, pronouncing "banana" as "__nana". This is called syllable deletion.
 
What is Articulation Therapy?
 
     Articulation therapy focuses on helping students to develop more age-appropriate speech production. By using specific exercises and activities, the Therapist leads each student through a process of learning to produce specific speech sounds or word shapes in isolation, then in words, phrases and sentences, oral reading, story retelling and finally in conversation.
 
Language
 
What is Language?
     Language is defined as a "structured, symbolic system for interpersonal communication composed of sounds arranged in ordered sequence to form words, with rules for combining these words into sequences or strings that express thoughts, intentions, experiences and feelings." (Nicolosi, Harriman, and Krescheck, 1983)
This system called language is composed of 6 elements, all of which interact together to produce successful communication. These elements are defined as:
Phonology - the sound system of language. This includes elements such as articulation, phonemic awareness, sound symbol relationships and spelling.
Semantics - the meanings of words and their relationship to each other. This includes vocabulary, multiple meanings, word relationships within sentences, cohesive devices and figurative language.
Syntax and Morphology - the putting of words together into sentences and the use of word endings. This includes the ability to form simple and complex sentences with appropriate word order, use cohesive ties to combine ideas, use verb tenses and prefixes and suffixes.
Discourse Skills - conversational skills. This includes such elements as basic conversation skills, understanding instructional language and the ability to formulate and retell experiences, events and stories.
Pragmatics - the social uses of language, the reasons for communicating. This includes elements such as eye contact, body language, tone of voice, giving feedback, turn taking, topic maintenance, making comments, clarifying messages.
Metalinguistics - the awareness of language as an object rather than as a means of communication. This includes the ability to rhyme, take perspectives, self-monitor, self-correct, segment and manipulate words and sentences.
 
What is a Language disorder?
A language disorder is then defined as a delay or deficit in a student's linguistic competence in relation to their social and intellectual development.
 
1.  Difficulties with Phonology can show up as delay or deficit in age-appropriate articulation development, limited phonemic awareness, difficulty with making sound symbol relationships and with spelling.
 
2. Difficulties with Semantics can show up as a limited range of vocabulary understood and used, difficulty understanding that words can have more than one meaning, difficulty understanding and using synonyms and antonyms, difficulty understanding and using figurative language.
 
3. Difficulties with Morphology and Syntax can show up as a reduced understanding and use of word endings,
difficulty understanding and forming age-appropriate sentences and difficulty understanding and forming questions.
4. Difficulties with Discourse skills can show up as reduced basic conversation skills, difficulty understanding instructional language and difficulty formulating and retelling experiences, events and stories.
 
5. Difficulties with Pragmatics can show up as an inability to maintain appropriate eye contact, a mismatch between the message and body language/tone of voice, difficulty giving feedback to listeners, difficulty taking turns, difficulty maintaining topics and making appropriate comments, difficulty asking for and giving clarification when messages are not understood.
 
6. Difficulties with Metalinguistic skills can show up as a reduced ability to rhyme, difficulty taking other perspectives, an inability to self-monitor and self-correct their own communication skills and a reduced ability to segment and manipulate words and sentences.
What is Language Therapy?
 
Language therapy focuses on helping students to develop more age-appropriate and functional communication skills. By using specific exercises and activities, the Therapist leads each student through a process of learning to understand and produce the specific vocabulary, sentence forms and conversational skills in the context of the speech setting, gradually introducing those learned skills into more natural conversational settings in the classroom and school environment. 
 
Speech Flency
 
What is a fluency disorder?
Definition: A fluency disorder is defined as a communication difficulty characterized by involuntary disruptions or blockings in the flow of speech, such as repetitions or prolongations of sounds, syllables or words, and when accompanied by struggle or avoidance behaviors. Difficulty with producing fluent speech is more commonly known as stuttering.
 
Difficulties with fluency show up in various ways:
1. Some students repeat whole words, parts of words or sounds while they are speaking. An example of whole word repetition would be a student saying, "My my my my name is Chris." An example of part word repetition would be a student saying, "I like ba-ba-ba-bananas." An example of sound repetition would be a student saying, "M-m-m-m-my name is Chris."
2. Some students appear to be stopped in the middle of speaking, seemingly frozen in the middle of saying a word or phrase. This can sometimes be accompanied by struggle behaviors as the student tries to get out of the block. These struggles can range from facial grimaces to extraneous arm or leg movements.
3. Some students with fluency difficulties avoid many speaking situations such answering out loud in class, giving oral reports and talking on the phone.
 
What is a fluency therapy?
 
Fluency (stuttering) therapy focuses on helping students to develop more functional speaking skills. By using specific exercises and activities, the Therapist leads each student through a process of learning to produce and use fluent speaking skills in the context of the speech setting, gradually introducing those learned skills into more natural conversational settings in the school.
 
Voice
 
What is a voice disorder?

Definition: A voice disorder exists when the quality, pitch, loudness and flexibility differ significantly from the voices of others of similar age, sex and cultural background. Since an abnormal voice can signify illness, an examination and diagnosis is needed by a physician in order for the student to receive assistance in the school setting.
 
Difficulties with voice production can show up in a variety of ways:
1. Some students exhibit difficulties with vocal quality, using voices that are harsh, breathy or hoarse in comparison with others their age.
2. Some students exhibit difficulties with vocal pitch, using voices that are inappropriately high or low in comparison with others their age.
3. Some students exhibit difficulties with vocal loudness, using voices that are inappropriately loud or weak in comparison with others their age.
4. Some students exhibit difficulties with vocal flexibility, using voice fluctuations while speaking that are inappropriately flat or excessively large in comparison with others their age.
 
What is voice therapy?
Voice therapy focuses on helping students to develop a more appropriate speaking voice for their sex and age while also reducing harmful vocal habits. By using specific exercises and activities, the Therapist leads each student through a process of learning to produce and use an appropriate speaking voice in the context of the speech setting, gradually introducing those learned skills into more natural conversational settings in the home and school.
 
Hearing Disorders
 
What is a hearing disorder?
Definition: A hearing disorder is defined as a hearing loss due to physical or neurological damage to the students auditory system.
Difficulties with hearing show up in various ways:
1. Some students exhibit difficulties with hearing all levels of sounds.
2. Some students exhibit difficulties with hearing a specific range of sounds, such as high frequency sounds.
Many students are prescribed hearing aids to help them hear a greater amount of sound. Some students are given cochlear implants to replace the damaged functions of the cochlear portion of the inner ear.
 
What is hearing/auditory therapy?
 
Hearing therapy or Auditory training focuses on helping students with hearing loss to utilize more effective the sounds they are hearing. . By using specific exercises and activities, the Therapist leads each student through a process of learning to be more aware of a variety of sounds, discriminate between sounds, identify sounds and finally comprehending what they are hearing.
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