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Speech and Language Impairments Special Needs Factsheet

What Teachers Should Know

Speech refers to the way sounds and words are formed, and language refers to the broader system of receiving and expressing information.

Students with speech impairments may have difficulty with:

Students with language impairments may have difficulty understanding and being understood through communication — verbal, nonverbal, and written.

Students with speech and language impairments may:

What Teachers Can Do

Students with speech and language impairments may benefit from individualized education programs (IEPs) or 504 education plans. If your student is being treated for a speech or language problem, part of the treatment may include seeing a speech-language pathologist (SLP) during the school day. Therapy may be one or more times a week, depending on the severity of the condition.

Students with speech and language impairments can feel stressed and anxious, which can make it even harder to talk and express themselves. The student may speak slowly in class and should be given plenty of time to express his or her thoughts. Interrupting or completing a sentence for the student is not helpful and might cause embarrassment.

You can support your student by:

Reviewed by: Mary L. Gavin, MD
Date reviewed: March 2014

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Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.
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