Parents seem to always want to know why we, as SLPs, work with their school-aged kids on reading and math. It seems like our roles are not clearly defined. We are not tutors, we are not teachers. We are language specialists. What this means is that as SLPs, we need to figure out whether your school-aged kids are having difficulty with actual math and reading concepts, or is the breakdown in comprehending the language of those particular subjects.

In math the most difficult tasks are word problems. Most children will find this to be the most difficult, but it is not the addition/subtraction/multiplication/division that causes the breakdown; rather it’s the way the questions are worded. These students are having problems identifying what the question is asking, distinguishing the most important from the irrelevant information etc. Without these skills, the students will not be able to answer the problem properly.

As well, with reading tasks, so often we see kids that can read well, but when it comes to comprehending the story and the questions asked they are lost. Once again this is a breakdown in the comprehension of the story, rather than in the reading itself. As speech-pathologists, it is our responsibility to target the comprehension of language to insure academic success. We will provide students with strategies to search for key information, as well as aid teachers in modifying questions and instructions in a way that will be understood by the students. With these strategies in place your child’s academic career will be fruitful and successful!