Although more than five million children in the United States have a speech, language, and hearing disorder, parents are often uninformed and unsure about what to do when they have concerns with their child.


Although more than five million children in the United States have a speech, language, and hearing disorder, parents are often uninformed and unsure about what to do when they have concerns with their child.

“In the Waynesville R-VI schools,” says Maureen Anderson, speech therapy services coordinator, “a continuous screening for speech-language concerns is effectively intact with parents and teachers providing input.”

Parents with concerns should contact the speech-language pathologist at their child’s school for a screening. If a student meets the criterion established by the Department of Special Education (DESE) of Missouri, the student will receive speech-language therapy services.

“We provide quality speech therapy services throughout our district, and we contribute to the quality of life for children by helping them communicate effectively,” Anderson says.

This May, and every May since 1927, the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) has used the “May is Better Hearing and Speech Month” (BHSM) celebration to provide parents with information about communication disorders to help ensure that they do not seriously affect their children's ability to learn, socialize with others, and be successful in school.

Speech and language problems can occur at any time in a child's life. They can be caused by accidental injury, illness, or inherited by birth. Child speech and language problems include: 


• Stuttering 

• Articulation problems ("wabbit" instead of "rabbit") 

• Language disorders such as the slow development of vocabulary, concepts, grammar, and social usage of language.

• Voice disorders (nasal, breathy or horse voice and speech that is too high or low)


"Fortunately, most children with speech, language, and hearing problems can be helped," says Catherine Gottfred, PhD, speech-language pathologist and former ASHA President. "Even if the problem cannot be eliminated, we can teach the child strategies to help them cope with their communication disorders, or provide them with the appropriate technology. By promoting “Better Hearing and Speech Month,” we hope parents will learn about communication disorders, what they can do to help their children, and how speech-language pathologists and audiologists can help with their child's communication disorders."

In the Waynesville R-VI schools, the speech therapy staff of 13 provides services for children with communication disorders in a variety of settings. Kim Pashia , Renee Perrine, Ashhley Rapier, and Annalise Snyder serve Williams Early Childhood Special Education (3-5 year olds); through direct speech-language therapy services, consultation, and active involvement in the special education classrooms. Additionally, preschool children who require speech or language services exclusively are seen by appointment at Williams.

Elementary and secondary students are provided speech-language therapy services at each building through direct services, consultation with parents and teachers and inclusionary services in the regular and resource classrooms. The staff includes: East:  Kim Sutton, Glenda Frankenbach, and Jenny Patterson; Freedom: Maureen Darby and Heather Smith; Partridge: Beverly Helton; Wood: Elizabeth Humphrey and Jane Baughman; Waynesville Middle School, Waynesville High School and Piney Ridge: Debra Lewis; Thayer: Ellen Brown; and Williams District Assessment Team: Maureen Anderson and Janet Sands.

Speech-language pathology is expected to grow faster than average through the year 2015. Employment in educational services will increase along with growth in elementary and secondary school enrollments, including enrollment of special education students. Federal law guarantees special education and related services to all eligible children with disabilities. Greater awareness of the importance of early identification and diagnosis of speech, language, swallowing, and hearing disorders will also increase employment. There is currently a speech-language pathology position available for the 2014-2015 school year in the Waynesville R-VI Schools.