Definition . Eligibility . Characteristics . Strategies for School . Strategies for Home


A Speech/Language Impairment is a communication disorder such as stuttering (fluency), a language impairment, impaired articulation, or voice disorder that adversely affects a student's educational performance. Speech and Language services cannot be determined on the basis of having a primary language other than English or a language difference.


Documentation the student exhibits one or more of the following communication disorders:

1)    Language - a student with a language impairment exhibits:

a)     language abilities significantly below expected language performance for the student's chronological age, cognitive stage of development, gender or cultural/social background; and

b)    a language quotient of 77 or less and/or at least ) .5 standard deviations below the mean, or a significant discrepancy between language and nonverbal reasoning: or

c)     a severe deficit in receptive, expressive or pragmatic language which prevents appropriate communication in school and/or social situations as measured by formal and/or informal diagnostic procedures.

2)    Articulation - a student exhibits an articulation impairment when:

a)     intelligibility due to speech sound errors is below the expected performance levels for the student's chronological age, cognitive stage of development, gender, or cultural/social background: and

b)    application of development norms and severity ratings from diagnostic tests verify speech sounds that may not develop without intervention.

3)    Fluency - a student exhibits a fluency impairment when:

a)     interruptions or dysfluencies in one or more speaking situations is inconsistent with normal patterns of fluency: and

b)    interpretation of evaluation data verifies the existence of a fluency impairment.

4)    Voice - student exhibits a voice impairment when:

a)     impairments(s) in pitch, loudness or quality exist; and

b)    the existence or absence of a structural or functional pathology is verified by an otolaryngologist.


May include:

  • Articulation errors, including omissions, substitutions or distortions of sound
  • A voice impairment(s) in pitch, loudness, or vocal quality
  • The existence or absence of a structural or functional pathology is verified by an otolaryngologist
  • Fluency impairment, including abnormal rate of speaking, speech interruptions, and repetitions of sounds, words, phrases, or sentences, which interferes with effective communication
  • Difficulties with verbal and written communication (receptive and expressive)
  • Difficulties in language processing
  • Difficulties with vocabulary, sight words, decoding and comprehension
  • Low vocabulary, improper grammar usage, poor spelling, poor auditory skills

Strategies for School

  • Provide a variety of experiences, consistently and repetitively stressing a theme until reaching proficiency level
  • Utilize small group setting with peer modeling
  • Model patience, respect and understanding for students with speech/language impairments
  • Use of cues of correct errors

Strategies for Home

  • Modeling of appropriate speech and language
  • Use of self-monitoring strategies
  • Positive reinforcement for correct speech/language production
  • Require verbalization in all settings
  • Communication between therapist and parents