Speech and Language Support

BLaST Intermediate Unit 17’s highly qualified speech/language support staff members provide comprehensive assessment and meaningful educational support services for students who demonstrate a speech and/or language impairment.

Based on the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and Pennsylvania’s Chapter 14, the State Standards and Regulations which govern Special Education, the definition of speech and language support is: “Services for students with speech and language impairments who require services primarily in the areas of communication or use of assistive technologies designed to provide or facilitate the development of communication capacity or skills.

A speech and language impairment, which substantially interferes with educational progress, may be characterized by any of the following disorders:

Articulation/Phonology Disorder
Incorrect production of phonemes beyond developmental timelines or motor based disorders. Misarticulations include: substitution, omission, distortion, or addition of phonemes and phonological process errors.

Voice Disorders
An abnormality of pitch, loudness or quality resulting from pathological or inappropriate use of the vocal mechanism that interferes with communication.

Fluency Disorders
A disruption in the normal flow of verbal expression which occurs frequently, or is noticeable and not controlled by the speaker. These disruptions occur to a degree that the speaker and/or listener are distracted; therefore the communication process is impeded.

Language Disorders
A disability resulting in marked impairment to use or comprehend language. Deviations from accepted norms are noted in syntax, morphology, semantics, pragmatics, and language processing which affect the academic achievement and/or psychosocial adjustment of the individual.

Central Auditory Processing
A Central Auditory Processing Disorder (CAPD) is an observed deficiency in sound localization and lateralization, auditory discrimination, auditory pattern recognition, temporal aspects of audition, use of auditory skills with competing acoustic signals, and use of auditory skills with any degradation of the acoustic signal.

The assessment of Central Auditory Processing Disorders (CAPD) is a crossover area between the two professions of audiology and speech-language pathology and requires a cooperative effort among parents, teachers, speech-language pathologists, audiologists and other professionals for a successful outcome. Speech-language pathologists contribute to the assessment process by formally evaluating receptive language and phonemic processing skills and by documenting observed auditory processing behaviors.

If you feel your child or a student you know may benefit from speech and language therapy, please speak with any member of the student’s educational team. If the educational team is in agreement, they will initiate the proper paperwork to begin the assessment process.  Should the child/student be found eligible for speech/language support services, an Individualized Education Program (IEP) will be developed based upon the specific needs of the child/student.  For a preschool child, age 3 or older, please contact either the BLaST Williamsport office at (570) 323-8561 or the BLaST Canton office at (570) 673-6001 to begin the referral process.

Service Delivery Options

Speech/Language intervention strategies should focus on developing communication skills needed to function appropriately in the educational environment. Services may be delivered through a variety of models such as: individual therapy, group therapy or classroom based therapy.

The speech therapist may act as a consultant in assisting the educational team in developing strategies for other team members (such as parents, teachers, paraprofessionals, etc.) to enhance the student’s communication abilities. Speech and language services may also be a combination of both consultation and direct intervention. The speech therapist is an integral part of the educational team. Proficient speech and language skills are important to the overall academic success of the child. Communication disorders may impact the student’s performance in the areas of: speaking, reading, writing, comprehension and social skills.

Speech/Language Therapy Staff

For additional information or if you have specific questions in regards to your child’s support services, please do not hesitate to contact any member of our highly qualified staff:

Amy Wolfhope, Supervisor of Therapy Services    (570) 323-8561 ext. 1065
Christine Bear  cbear@iu17.org
Emily Cipolla ecipolla@iu17.org
Dianne DeLullo ddellulo@iu17.org
Katelyn Howland khowland@iu17.org
Amanda Kline akline@iu17.org
Heather Koch hkoch@iu17.org
Christine Meckbach  cmeckbach@iu17.org
Sarah E. Nelson senelson@iu17.org
Laura Steele lsteele@iu17.org
Dana Vermilya dvermilya@iu17.org
Denielle Watson denwatson@iu17.org
Ruth Yates ryates@iu17.org