Harbor School’s Speech Program: Methods used in Speech Therapy -

Harbor School’s Speech Program: Methods used in Speech Therapy

speech therapy at harbor school of new jersey

Everyone has the right to communicate their wants, thoughts, feelings, and ideas. The speech therapy department at Harbor School is dedicated to providing each student with a means to functionally and socially communicate with others throughout their school day in a caring, supportive, yet challenging environment. Our speech therapy program uses several methods of augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) to support students:

Gestures and Sign Language

Although sign language is usually understood as the language used by the hearing impaired, speech therapists have long used it as a tool for communication development. People quickly recognize common nonverbal gestures like pointing and head shaking. So using a formal method of gestures in the place of spoken words is an excellent way of providing the child with a temporary form of communication until he/she can verbally produce the words. 

Picture Communication Symbols/Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS)

Picture symbols allow students with little or no communication abilities to communicate using pictures. Students present appropriate picture cards to communicate a request or thought. PECS begins with the exchange of simple icons but rapidly builds sentence structure to generate a self-initiating, functional communication system.

Voice Output Communication Aids (VOCA)

VOCAs are electronic speech-generating devices that allow students to “speak” electronically. It may be digitized, pre-recorded speech, or synthesized computer-generated speech, or both. There are several ways to operate these aids. For example, students can flip a switch, press buttons, or a touchscreen, or use a keypad to express requests and ideas. The device then voices the corresponding words.

Oral Motor Interventions

Oral motor strength and skills determine how we use the muscles inside the mouth, including the tongue, lips, cheeks, and jaw. Oral motor interventions are exercises to develop awareness, strength, coordination, and mobility that can better enable students to talk.

From low-tech approaches like pictures, gestures, and oral exercises to high-tech methods like speech-generating devices, our speech therapy department is working to help students with language or communication difficulties to add to their existing ways of communicating. Students can learn to use some or all of these tools to understand what people are saying, ask for what they need, make comments, and answer other people’s questions. 

Utilization of Core Boards

Here the usage of Core boards can be used to introduce a student to the power of language and of core vocabulary. Core boards can be used to model language and while increasing participation. Combined with activity-specific words, they can help a student build upon their abilities to engage in activities, such as reading books and a better means of communication.

erik glazer principal harbor school

Harbor School a private special education school in Monmouth County, New Jersey

Our mission at Harbor School is to help all of our special needs students with learning, social, language, behavioral, and other disabilities. Our highly skilled staff are committed daily to helping each student reach their full potential.

We would be more than happy to discuss your child's specific needs and challenges, so please call us at 732.544.9394, or request a tour at Harbor School in Eatontown, NJ. We are located just minutes off of the Garden State Parkway at exit 105 and conveniently located off of Route 35 and Route 36 in Monmouth County, NJ.

Erik Glazner, 
Principal-Harbor School, Eatontown, NJ