This is a very exciting time to work with a speech-language pathologist (SLP) if your child has difficulties with listening, speaking, reading, spelling, and/or writing.

In the past SLPs worked on speech sound development and oral language understanding and use and the special educator or reading teacher worked on reading. This is no longer the case. SLPs' roles and responsibilities have come a long way from the old days of articulation therapy. This is because we now understand the important and critical role that oral language development plays in learning to read and spell. Oral language skills are the foundation for learning to read. The American-Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) has outlined the SLP's role in the remediation of literacy disabilities such as dyslexia.

Learning About Literacy: SLPs Play Key Role in Reading, Writing

Roles and Responsibilities of Speech-Language Pathologists With Respect to Reading and Writing in Children and Adolescents

As a parent of someone with dyslexia, you should know that SLPs are experts in oral language development, which as stated above serves as the foundation for learning to read, spell, and write. An SLP can be a great resource to you.

SLPs are trained in the following areas that affect learning to read, spell and write:

  • Oral language comprehension and use (phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics, pragmatics)
  • Phonological processing, including phonemic awareness
  • Articulation (speech sound production)
  • Letter/sound knowledge
  • Word-finding difficulties
  • Emergent metalinguistic awareness
  • Narrative discourse
  • Short-term memory

With this knowledge-base, SLPs can:

  • Participate on pre-referral child study teams
  • Consult with parents, teachers, and other team members to help determine whether a full diagnostic assessment is warranted
  • Evaluate and treat language-based learning disabilities
  • Collaborate with other professionals in the design of effective intervention programs, including classroom modifications, accommodations, and supports
  • Educate dyslexics, parents, teachers, and other professionals about the role of oral language in literacy development, language development across the lifespan, and ways to identify and treat behaviors.

To find a speech-language pathologist in your area, contact your local school district or go to the ASHA website. Together you can begin to answer your questions and start the process toward success.