Groups with Special Needs

Speech or Language Impairments

Definition / Prevalence

Speech and language impairment is defined as a communication disorder that adversely affects the child's ability to talk, understand, read, and write. This disability category can be divided into two groups: speech impairments and language impairments.


Speech and language impairments are considered a high-incidence disability. Approximately 20% of children receiving special education services are receiving services for speech and language disorders (Source).

Speech Impairments

Language Impairments

Teaching Strategies

Speech-Language Pathologist Services:

  • Services to students with communication problems may be provided in individual or small group sessions, in classrooms or when teaming with teachers or in a consultative model with teachers and parents. Speech-language pathologists integrate students' communication goals with academic and social goals (Source).
  • Helping children with articulation disorders to learn proper production of speech sounds
  • Helping children who stutter to speak more fluently
  • Assisting children with voice disorders to improve their voice quality
  • Helping individuals with aphasia to relearn speech and language skills
  • Assisting individuals who have difficulty swallowing as a result of illness, surgery, stroke, or injury
  • Evaluating, selecting, and developing augmentative and alternative communication systems
  • Enhancing communication effectiveness

General Education Teacher:

  • Work with the speech-language pathologist to incorporate strategies to help the student generalize strategies mastered in speech therapy
  • Incorporate strategies found here

Assistive Technology

Augmentative or alternative communication (AAC) is the use of symbols, aids, strategies, and techniques to enhance the communication process. Read more about AAC here.