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Michelle McNichols- Speech Pathologist

Contact Me
Mrs. Michelle McNichols MS, CCC-SLP
(610)409-9751 ext 4211

Information for speech and language

Speech-language therapy is the treatment for children with speech and/or language disorders. A speech disorder refers to a problem with the actual production of sounds, whereas a language disorder refers to a difficulty understanding or putting words together to communicate ideas.


Speech and language disorders include the following problems:  

  • An articulation disorder is characterized as having difficulty in forming and combining sounds.  Sounds may be substituted (says "fun" for "sun"), omitted (says "poon" for "spoon") or distorted (lateral production of /s/ or frontal lisp).
  • A fluency disorder is defined as interruptions in the flow of speech and is characterized by repetitions, prolongations, hesitations, and/or struggle behaviors.  This disorder is commonly referred to as stuttering.
  • Resonance or voice disorders are characterized by abnormal vocal quality (e.g., hoarseness), pitch, loudness, resonance (e.g., nasality) and/or duration.  Parents are responsible for obtaining medical clearance from an ENT prior to the child receiving a voice evaluation.  Therapy recommendations must be attached to the medical clearance.  A form for the ENT will be provided by the speech clinician.


Language disorders:
  • An expressive and receptive language disorder is characterized as having difficulty understanding (receptive) and/or using (expressive) language to communicate.  Examples of problems may include sequencing, grammar, understanding concepts such as those in directions (e.g., under, beside, first, last, etc.), vocabulary, social language, classification, asking and answering questions. 
  • A pragmatic language disorder is characterized by impairments in the social use of language and applying the rules of social language.


How is it determined if a child needs help in speech and language?

  • Either a parent or a teacher may request that a child be screened for speech.  
  • A screening is a tool used to help determine whether a student might benefit from a full speech and/or language evaluation. If indicated, a more in-depth assessment of speech and/or language abilities may be completed to identify specific strengths and needs in speech/language and whether or not  deficits are present which may affect a student’s academic performance.

Eligibility for Speech-Language Support Services
  • In compliance with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act, a Speech and Language disorder is only recognized in the school if it impacts the child’s ability to access their education. To qualify for the special education provision of speech or language impaired, a child must have a disorder in fluency, voice, articulation, and/or language.

Dismissal Criteria

  • The student has demonstrated mastery of goals.  Mastery criteria may be considered to be 80% to 90% accurate.  No one is accurate 100% of the time.
  • The student has demonstrated understanding and use of remediation strategies within a small group setting.
  • The student has demonstrated understanding of social language rules in a small group setting.
  • Lack of measurable progress as evidenced by a plateau in performance.
  • Poor attendance, motivation, and cooperation.