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Speech -Language Services

Palos West currently has two full time speech-language pathologists to service students with communication disorders.  We would like to share information with you regarding communication disorders and how we can work with you if your child needs help in this area.

Speech and language services are provided for students 3-5 years old and for students in Kindergarten through 5th grade in the West building who have been found eligible based on state criteria.  Based on eligibility criteria, preschool students may receive speech and language services through one of the following programs:  as a resource student with services in the speech room, Early Childhood Program or our At Risk Preschool program.  Students in Kindergarten through 5th grade who are enrolled in the speech and language program may receive their speech and language services within the classroom, the speech-language resource room or as a combination of both. 

Therapy is provided to improve a student’s articulation, language, fluency and/or voice quality.  Following is a brief explanation of each communication disorder.

  Articulation:    Articulation is the accuracy and precision of speech sound
                                  production.  Age level expectancy for sounds:

    By 3 years:  /m, p, b, w, n, h/     

  • 3 years, 6 months to 4 years, 0 months:   /f/    /s/**  /j(y)/   /k,g/   /y/(ing)   /t,d/
  • 4 years, 6 months to 5 years:  /l/   /s/(sh)   /ch/    /j/    /z/**
  • By 6 years:  /v/
  • By 7 years:  /r/  /th/

**   Lateral production of /s/ and /z/ is not a typically developing normal pattern. Frontal production is a typical error pattern of development and for this the student is given time to get correct production with development (until 6 or 7 years of age).

Phonological Development:*           This refers to the development of the different patterns of speech sound production.  Young children (preschool age) are usually unintelligible when having a phonological disorder.

Omission of sounds is rare even in consonant clusters (blends) in “typically developing children.”
syllable reduction is also rare in “typically developing children.”
Language:   Language encompasses these areas:               

      vocabulary/ semantics-  the understanding and use of words and their

      syntax - correct use of grammatical forms

      pragmatics  -  functional use of language for social and academic

     verbal expression– ability to express ideas in a sequential and logical

Voice - the ability to use appropriate pitch, resonance, 
              quality and volume for age and gender

Fluency (stuttering) –   the flow of speech; it covers breaks or 

    interruptions, repetitions, or prolongations in that flow. The number and 
       type of dysfluencies are quantified based on conversational samples

The ability to be an effective communicator has a direct impact on your child’s academic and social experiences. Strong communication skills allow your child to make sense of his world, to express himself and to learn.  Because these skills are essential to learning, early identification of a problem is crucial.  Our responsibilities include diagnosing a communication disorder and evaluating its nature and extent.  Treatment is provided as necessary. 

If a communication disorder is suspected, a student may be referred either by a parent and/or classroom teacher.  Our district also offers preschool screenings for children between the ages of 3 and 5.  These are held three times a year.  Parents are informed of the specific dates and times through the school newsletter, local newspaper announcements and posted on community marquis. 


          1.  Shows difficulty saying specific sounds or pronouncing words.

           2.  Repeats sounds or words (stuttering)

           3.  Voice consistently sounds abnormally scratchy and rough.

            4.  Doesn’t adequately express himself or herself

            5.  Shows difficulty following verbal directions

            6.  Doesn’t ask questions to clarify

            7.  Doesn’t participate in class discussions

            8.  Uses incorrect sentence structure or very basic sentence structure for age

            9.  Shows difficulty using language socially with peers

            10.  Doesn’t understand the subtleties of language, such as jokes, idioms, and
                     polite suggestions

If you have any concerns about your child’s communication skills, please contact us at Palos West, 708-448-6888.