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Education

This sector is about educational services for students with speech language disabilities (SLDs) from kindergarten through post secondary education and life long learning.

The following information is intended to provide a starting point to discuss barriers to education and learning opportunities for students who have SLDs, not caused by hearing loss. It is, by no means a full comprehensive list of barriers or accommodations. It presents some of the unique challenges that students with SLDs may experience within this situation.

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Sample Communication Barriers within Education Settings

Many of us who have a Speech and Language Disability (SLD), may also have mobility, sensory and other disabilities and experience the associated barriers of these disabilities.

In addition, we may experience unique communication barriers due to our speech and language disability that can impact on the quality of education services we receive. Barriers may include:

  • Lack of training for educators, (teachers, educational assistants and support staff) in communication, language, augmentative and alternative communication, assisted learning, curriculum adaptation, adaptive technology, universal design for learning and inclusive education methods
  • Lack of administrative knowledge, funding and resources to support educators to address the communication and learning requirements of students with SLDs (e.g. teacher training, extra time, support services and assistive technology)
  • Lack of coordination between multiple government funding sources (e.g. Ministries of Education, Ministry of Health) relating to the provision and type of communication services, communication tools and assistive technology required by the student
  • Lack of protocols and best practices for the engagement of external communication services such as augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) services
  • Lack of clarity of roles, responsibility and accountability for educators, speech language pathologists and AAC clinicians when addressing the communication needs of students as they impact on the learning process (e.g. providing student with appropriate ways to communicate, adapting curriculum to meet student’s needs, use of assistive technology, follow-through relating to recommendations from specialized communication services)
  • Inappropriate educational placements and environments for students with SLDs
  • Lack of opportunities and supports to facilitate peer interactions and socialization with other students
  • Misperception and underestimation of a student’s ability to communicate and learn with appropriate supports and accommodations
  • Lack of sufficient and appropriate communication services and input into individual educational planning from Speech-Language Pathologists and AAC clinicians
  • Lack of time and supports for students to communicate and participate in educational and social activities
  • Lack of consistent protocols to ensure the smooth transition of communication tools, supports and adaptive technology across all learning environments including grade to grade, school to school, school to home, and after graduation for life-long learning
  • Lack of appropriate accommodations and adaptations for assignments, quizzes, tests and exams

Recommendations

  • Training for Educators, (teachers, educational assistants and support staff) in communication, language, augmentative and alternative communication, assisted learning, adapted educational assessments and curriculums, adaptive technology, universal design for learning and inclusive education methods
  • Information, resources and funding for administrators to support educators to address the communication and learning requirements of student with SLDs (e.g. teacher training, extra time, support services and assistive technology)
  • Clear protocols and coordination between multiple government funding sources (e.g. Ministries of Education, Ministry of Health) relating to the provision and type of communication services, communication tools and assistive technology required by the student
  • Protocols and best practice guidelines in place and implemented for the engagement of any required external, communication services such as augmentative and alternative communication services
  • A clear understanding of the roles, responsibilities and accountability for educators, speech language pathologists and AAC clinicians when addressing the communication needs of students as they impact on the learning process (e.g. providing student with appropriate ways to communicate at all times, adapting curriculum to meet student’s needs, use of appropriate adaptive technology, follow through relating to recommendations from specialized communication services)
  • Appropriate educational placements and inclusive environments for students with SLDs
  • Provision of opportunities and appropriate supports to facilitate peer interactions and socialization with other students
  • Appropriate learning expectations and goals for students with SLDs
  • Access to appropriate, sufficient and timely communication services from Speech -Language Pathologists and AAC clinicians, and inclusion of their input into individual educational planning and follow-through.
  • Accommodations to address the time and supports required by students with SLDs to communicate and participate in educational activities
  • Consistent protocols to ensure the smooth transition of communication tools, supports and adaptive technology across all learning environments including grade to grade, school to school, school to home, and after graduation for life-long learning
  • Appropriate accommodations and adaptations for assignments, quizzes, tests and exams.