Speech/Language Program

The speech/language program at The Schenck School is responsible for evaluating and serving school aged children in the areas of articulation, language, fluency, and voice.

Articulation refers to the actual physical production of sounds in speech. Speech development is a gradual process. It starts in infancy and continues through a child's seventh or eighth year. Children develop speech abilities at different rates and ages. Some children develop speech sounds faster or slower than the average child.*

The area of language includes expressive and receptive skills. Expressive language refers to how an individual expresses himself/herself to others. Receptive language refers to how an individual understands what is said to him/her. Most children acquire the majority of language skills by age five. In order to accomplish so much in such a short amount of time, the process begins long before children actually say their first words. Children must learn words and their meanings, combine words to make understandable sentences, and use words and sentences to effectively communicate with other people.*

Fluency refers to how smoothly sounds, words, phrases, and sentences flow together while speaking.* Children who exhibit consistent disfluencies are often known to "stutter."

Voice is the sound produced by the vibration of the vocal folds.* A child's voice should sound appropriate for his/her sex and age.

Speech/Language Concerns

Review the list below if you have concerns that your child may exhibit a speech and/or language problem.


  • difficulty following directions
  • difficulty asking/answering questions
  • difficulty generating correct words for labels and ideas in a timely manner
  • poor word order within a sentence
  • decreased vocabulary
  • problems with concepts (i.e. below, above, first, second, between, front, back, whole, half, etc.)
  • poor grammar
  • difficulty retelling a story, concisely and coherently


  • difficulty saying particular sounds/words
  • frontal lisp (child talks with his tongue between his teeth and lips)


  • sounds hoarse, raspy or breathy
  • inconsistent loss of voice when speaking


  • stutters
  • frequent hesitations and pauses (speech sounds "choppy")

If you feel your child has difficulty with any of the above areas, please consult with your child's classroom teachers. A child’s communication difficulties must have a negative impact on his or her performance in the classroom in order for a referral to be appropriate. Referrals for speech and language are made by classroom teachers.

If appropriate, an evaluation is completed and a meeting is held with the speech-language pathologist, the parents, and teachers to determine the most appropriate plan of action. Services are provided either in the child’s classroom or in the speech-language pathologist’s office, depending on the situation. A child’s therapy goals are meant to support what takes place in the classroom.

With a documented need and at parent request, private therapy may be provided outside of school hours.

*1988 Communication Skill Builders, Inc., Elizabeth Skarakis-Doyle, Ph.D., Leslie S. McColgin

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