Welcome to Mrs. Walker’s Speech & Language Page!
I have been a Speech-Language Pathologist in Western Springs School District 101 for close to 20 years. I’ve worked at Laidlaw School, Field Park School, and within the district Early Childhood Education programs. I regularly provide screening services at the district-sponsored kindergarten and preschool screening events. I currently provide speech and language therapy services to students at Laidlaw School.
Western Springs District 101 employs certified Speech-Language Pathologists to provide interventions to district students. Speech-Language Pathologists are specialists in human communication development and disorders. In schools, they evaluate and treat children with communication disorders, counsel families of these children, and provide staff and parents with information about communication development and disorders.
I believe that improving student’s speech and language skills will have a direct impact on improved academic performance. I look forward to partnering with parents in educating their children and welcome any questions you may have.
Speech-Language Pathologists can be consulted for concerns in the following areas:
Common Types of Speech and Language Disorders:
1. Students with language disorders may demonstrate difficulty understanding what is said or written. Some students with language disorders also have difficulty expressing themselves verbally or in writing.
2. Students with articulation disorders substitute or leave out speech sounds when pronouncing words. They may also mix the order of speech sounds when stringing them together to produce a word or sentence. Not only is it harder to understand the student with an articulation disorder, but the student may be more likely to develop problems with reading and spelling.
3. Students with voice disorders include inappropriate volume (too loud or too soft), pitch (too high or too low), quality (hoarseness or breathiness), or the inability to make sound (aphonia).
4. Students with stuttering (disfluency) behaviors indicate there is difficulty with the timing or rhythm of speech. There may also be tension or secondary behaviors (such as head movements) present.
5. Students with pragmatic language disorders have difficulties developing and maintaining peer relationships, demonstrating conversational reciprocity, and demonstrating understanding of personal perspectives.
Service delivery models vary, and can range from traditional pull-out services, to support within the classroom (integrated support), consultative support, and interventions within the RTI (Response to Intervention) framework.
The referral process to receive speech and language services goes through several stages. A child may initially be identified as having a potential speech or language problem during a pre-school or kindergarten screening, a grade-level screening, classroom observation, or from a referral by a parent or teacher to the District 101 problem-solving team. Services may be provided on a short-term basis to determine how the student responds to interventions. If the student is not demonstrating adequate progress given the intervention, parents will be invited to attend a meeting to determine if formal evaluation is warranted. If a formal evaluation is determined necessary, parental consent will be requested. Once the evaluation is completed, the educational team, including parents, will meet to discuss results and determine a plan of action. The direction of the plan will be dependent upon the evaluation results. In some cases, students may be recommended for speech and language support under special education. When students receive formal speech and language support, progress is monitored and shared with parents on a quarterly basis. There is also an annual review meeting which serves to review yearly progress and determine further needs for the following school year. Every three years, the student is eligible for a re-evaluation to determine if needs continue to require support through special education.