If there’s a song or a sound or a hand signal in the air at LaRue Miller Elementary on any given school day, most likely these ladies have something to do with it. Pictured left to right are Shanna Horton, Delaina Wimpee, and Kathleen Stuckert. Not pictured are Leisa Bradley and Jennifer Mabra. These experts are who I affectionately call our “Speechies” because they specifically work with learners in PK-5th grades who qualify for speech services at LME (and yes, I am forever doing my best pronunciation and diction around all these ladies)!
Our LEAD (Language Enrichment Articulation Development) Program provides services to learners (ages 3 and 4) in a structured PK setting two days per week. Classroom activities are designed to build expressive and receptive language while working on specific articulation goals with each learner. These young students play games, work in centers, sing songs, and work on goals to meet their personalized plans. As one youngster shared with me: “We tell lots of stories.” 🙂 When asked about the kinds of stories shared, “Well…I like to use the flashlight when I tell my story ’cause it’s scarier that way.” 🙂
Three years ago, our new campus embraced the power of sign language in a really big way. We are fortunate to have sign interpreters who work directly with our learners with auditory impairments, however, our entire staff works with SEE (Signed Exact English). Through a promising practices model, all students and staff members benefit from learning basic sign language throughout our building.
Emphasis in all our speech and language programs (PK – 5th) is placed on individual learner goals worked on in a risk-free educational setting. Through highly engaging activities, learners work smart to reach successful communication outcomes. A nurturing school therapy environment is created so every child reaches his or her personal best; the work is then transferred into the general educational setting. The ultimate goal, after all, is to carry over work practiced from the speech setting into regular conversation with ease.
As one of our Speechies likes to say, “If you must raise your voice, do it to cheer your students onward!” Whether it’s songs, games, questions, or challenges, these lessons of speaking and listening provide powerful tools for students to raise their own voices. Our therapists don’t just focus on the final destination of speech goals…they make the learning journey fun. Do you hear what they hear? Here’s hoping you do!