• Information for Teachers



    Communication skills cover a variety of areas.  Please use this list to help direct you when you may have concerns regarding a student’s speech language development and help document the educational impact:


    ·        Difficulty producing common sounds (e.g., /s,z,sh,ch,r,th,l,g,k/) which may interfere with ability to be understood by peers and/or adults, with reading/writing skills, with social skills, etc.

    ·        Leaving off, adding or changing sounds in words

    ·        Are often teased by other students due to their speech sound errors/manner of speaking

    ·        Difficulty with oral-motor skills when eating or speaking (e.g., drooling, open mouth posture, ‘groping’ for the correct oral position when trying to speak/make sounds)



    ·        Understands and/or uses a limited vocabulary

    ·        Difficulty following directions (i.e., may be unable to follow routine and/or novel directions, may experience difficulty following 1-step or multi-step directions, may or may not repeat directions over to himself/herself before responding, may require additional time to respond)

    ·        Difficulty answering questions (i.e., ‘yes/no’ ?’s, ‘wh’ ?’s,  ‘how’ ?’s, ?’s pertaining to class content, ?’s regarding information out of the here-and-now)

    ·        Difficulty processing spoken language in general

    ·        Grammar errors in spoken and written language

    ·        Requires increased time to formulate thoughts and responses

    ·        Experiences word retrieval difficulties (i.e., has the word ‘on the tip of his/her tongue’ some of the time)

    ·        Difficulty putting words together to formulate thoughts and ideas verbally or in writing

    ·        Difficulty maintaining a basic conversation for age (e.g., speaking and understanding, unrelated to shyness).



    ·        Difficulty interacting with peers and adults (i.e., when initiating, maintaining, and ending interactions with others)

    ·        May play alone most of the time (e.g., at recess, in class)

    ·        Difficulty with topicalization skills (i.e., initiating, maintaining and ending conversations with others)

    ·        Doesn’t use typical eye contact

    ·        Just exhibits an ‘unusual’ way of interacting with others; doesn’t share peer interests; may obsess on specific topics; may be unaware and/or unconcerned that others are not interested in what he/she is doing/saying



    ·        Experiences disruption in the flow of speech

    ·        May experience unusual ‘blocks’/hesitations when speaking

    ·        May repeat sounds, parts of words, whole words and/or phrases/sentences when speaking

    ·        May prolong the first sound or middle sounds in words

    ·        Doesn’t appear to like to talk to others or appears self-conscious, especially in large groups

    ·        May exhibit physical characteristics when dysfluent (e.g., facial grimace, tics, eye blinks, tension in throat or body)

    ·        May use a rapid rate when speaking

    ·        May be unaware of his/her dysfluencies

    (Note: It is typical for everyone to experience ‘normal’/natural dysfluencies once in a while when speaking.  Dysfluent speakers or those who exhibit true ‘stuttering’ behaviors do so much more often and with greater disruption to the flow of their speech in a variety of contexts.  *Dysfluent speakers do not typically improve in their speech skills without direct intervention.  Dyfluencies are not typically ‘outgrown’, rather individuals learn strategies to manage their speech.)



    ·        Exhibits an unusual quality to his/her voice when speaking (e.g., hoarseness, raspiness)

    ·        Uses an unusually loud volume most of the time

    ·        Uses an unusually quiet volume most of the time

    ·        Speaks in a high pitch

    ·        Speaks as if talking through his/her nose

    ·        Speaks as if he/she has a cold all of the time (i.e., has a stuffy nose)

    (Note: We are unable to work directly with students who experience vocal difficulties until they are seen by a doctor at the family’s cost and discretion.)


    These are just some of the ‘red flags’ to be on the lookout for.  Please feel free to contact any of the Whitlow SLPs with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your students’ communication needs and development.