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Speech & Communication

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Speech and Communication

All children must be able to communicate their thoughts and ideas and understand words, directions and thoughts and ideas of others.

At PGCS, students interact with their friends, teachers, and therapists throughout their school day with opportunities to express themselves. Each student can ask questions and discuss ideas with expert support, as needed, from speech therapists and collaborative school teams. Children’s voices are heard, supported, and encouraged during class lessons, as well as in chance meetings in the hallway, at lunch, recess, and during play.

Very often the students’ communication skills include a combination of verbal and nonverbal language, the priority is to ensure that each child has an effective means of communication. Through speech and language therapy in the classrooms and in individual sessions, students learn to use a wide variety of communication modes, including:

  • verbal language
  • gestures
  • sign language
  • pictures
  • augmentative communication

PGCS students who do not have verbal language, can increase their autonomy and improve their self-confidence in language and communication with the help of adaptations and other technology.

Through the recent technology initiative, PGCS students demonstrate increased attention, focus, and motivation using:

  • SMART Boards™ in every classroom
  • Sound amplification systems
  • iPads™
  • iPads™ with voice applications

Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC)

Many students at P.G. Chambers School communicate using total communication, employing a range of technology levels (from low to high tech) and output devices that fit particular situations. For example, a student can respond to questions during a math lesson by touching pictured number choices arranged on a static communication board. The same student can then use a dynamic-display communication device with voice output to request his choice of activities for recess.

Teams make choices beginning with least restrictive or mainstream devices including iPads™, iPods™, Netbooks™, and laptop computers, used in every classroom. Other AAC devices are also available for use and trial. In addition, outside AAC vendors regularly visit PGCS to share new technologies and provide opportunities for trial and training for the families and staff. Parents work with the team to select appropriate AAC systems for their children and participate in training in the use of their children’s AACsystem.

Professional Expertise

PGCS requires that all of the speech-language therapists (SLPs) on staff have advanced degrees. All are also licensed by the State of New Jersey, hold Certificates of Clinical Competence, and are certified to work in schools. Almost all of the therapists meet the two-year supervision requirement of the American Speech Language Hearing Association and serve as clinical supervisors.

For further information contact speech therapy director, Mindy Porcelan at porcelan@chambersschool.org