Identifying Communication Disorders in Students Identifying Communication Disorders in Students This assignment will target an audience of professionals in the field of Childhood Education such as teachers, administrators and aides, as well as those in the field of Communication Sciences and Disorders. In addition, the audience includes scholars and readers of the journal Intervention in School & Clinic: an "Interdisciplinary journal directed to those who deal with the day-to-day aspects of special and remedial education" (Intervention). As the prevalence of student communication disorders increases, the demand for speech-language pathologists excessively increases also. Many problems come to the minds of teachers when a student shows signs of a communicative disorder, for example, the type and severity of the disorder, the costs of resources, and the availability of those necessary resources. In order to minimize these issues school districts need to implement programs and resources for students suffering from communication disorders within their schools. With these programs, teachers and other school faculty together can learn how to identify student disorders.

This will also help prevent an increase in student disorders and create a positive statistic of student referrals to necessary resources. Teachers spend the majority of their school day observing their pupils' learning methods and capabilities. Rarely do teachers search for a student's disorder; it merely unfolds when a student shows signs of learning difficulties such as poor behavior, incomplete assignments, and consistent distraction. However, there are assessment and intervention methods provided for teachers, school administrators, and even parents to use when studying a child's learning capabilities. Lisa Sunderland, the director of Special Services in the Kingston, Missouri school district offers communication disorder assessment methods such as hearing screenings, direct observation in classrooms, language sampling and interviews between teachers and students.

It is understandable for teachers not to notice a student's disorder initially however, as Sunderland explains, it is far too common that teachers overlook communication disorders and mistake them for rude or disrespectful behavior. (211) This is the point at which action regarding training for assessment of disorders needs to be implemented. Teachers and school administrators can find resources regarding identifying student communication disorders. Understanding the techniques for recognizing disorders is rapidly becoming more important as the number of students with disorders increases and the number of teacher referrals of students decreases.

Lenore Ganschow, Associate Professor of Special Education at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, conducted a survey of school psychologists across the country who were asked about learning disabilities and speech-language referral practices. Of the 961 school psychologists who responded to the survey, sixty-eight percent reported having minimal training in the assessment of speech-language disorders and sixty-six percent of the respondents reported having had limited interaction with speech-language pathologists. (313) Perhaps implementing inclusive, informative and sufficient periods of training for teachers and school faculty will increase the amount teacher referrals for students to seek learning, language and communication resources. It is not enough to identify and become familiar with a student's communication disorder. It is imperative that teachers and school faculty create a learning environment in which the students with communication disorders can interact and participate at the same speed of others. Of course not every student will have these capabilities but when a student is in the classroom, he or she needs to maintain a level of comfort with his or her disorder.

By creating a collective classroom environment and using stimulating techniques such as goals, positive reinforcement and group learning, students with communication disorders can form a progressive learning atmosphere. Although students with communicative disorders will need one-on-one attention that teachers can not afford to give individually. Speech-language pathologists .".. identify, assess, and treat speech and language problems and address issues related to education including problems with literacy" (ASHA). Speech-language pathologists should be incorporated into the everyday learning environment of these significant students.

Merely meeting once in a while with a speech-language pathologist is not sufficient time for the improvement of a student's communicative disorder. The most effective solution to identifying student communication disorders and reducing the increase of disorders is for each school district to employ a speech-language pathologist in every school. It is proven that speech-language pathologists are successful in the school setting, for example at Middle School 390 in the Bronx, NY, speech-pathologist Sabrina Silverman has improved student communication disorders and raised the amount of teacher referrals through her inclusive participation with the students and their teachers. Sabrina serves as a member of an assessment team that all schools should encompass.

(Silverman) Ganschow explains this team as one that consists of regular classroom teachers, special education teachers, school administrators, school psychologists and a speech-language pathologist. (319) Having this team of learning professionals within a school can reduce the pressure on only the classroom teachers and can increase the amount of referrals to further resources for the students. Many schools such as private and parochial cannot afford to hire speech-language pathologists on staff. This important factor proven successful and logical in student's learning abilities should not be taken lightly especially if funding is within reason. Government and school officials should enforce a law requiring the employment of speech-language pathologists in each individual school. Implementing the requirement of speech-language pathologists in every school can raise awareness for the issues of communication disorders, allow parents to become informed and involved with their student's progress, increase student improvement because of onsite resource and decrease the number of prevalent communication disorders.

Works Cited American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. "Reward Yourself with a Career That Helps Others; Audiologists, Speech-Language Pathologists, and Scientists Sought." PR New sire (2004). Lexis Nexis. Mort ola Library, Pace University, Pleasantville, NY.

18 February 2005. Ganschow, Leonore. "Speech / language referral practices by school psychologists." School Psychology Review 21 (1992): 313-26. Silverman, Sabrina. Personal Interview. 10 March 2005.

Sunderland, Lisa C. "Speech, Language, and Audiology Services in Public Schools." Intervention in School and Clinic 39 (2004): 209-217.