Learning Disability and Speech Pathology

We have just started a ‘Question and Answer’ over on our Facebook page. The first question was a great one!!

What work can a Speech Pathologist do for a child with a suspected Learning Disability?

The first thing would be to help with assessment to determine if the child has a learning disability and their areas of strengths and weaknesses. This would be done through standardised assessments, discussion with parents and teachers and other health professionals (for example, Occupational therapist, psychologist and paediatrician) as well as observations.

Once the specific areas that are difficult for the child is determined, then small and achievable goals would be set with the family. For example, if learning new vocabulary is difficult then the speech pathologist would guide parents and teachers on how to teach and reinforce knowledge of specific vocabulary or concepts. We could also do individual or groups sessions and teach vocabulary in a fun, play based way.

Our role is also to liaise and work with teachers (school, kinder or daycare) on how to adjust their language and the content of information so that the child can access the curriculum.  We would help the teachers use visual strategies (e.g. picture time-tables and picture sequences to help follow instructions) less complex vocabulary, shorter instructions, and repetition for example.

We would also provide the child with strategies to manage in situations when they don’t understand (e.g. teaching them to put up their hands when they don’t understand, asking for help, asking for the question to be repeated, teaching some standard questions to ask when needed).

Another role is to be there as a support person and as an advocate for the child and their family in any way we can!