School district offers various special education programs

The South Lyon Community School District provides special educational programs and services to nearly 1,000 students. Our district has always maintained the highest standard for servicing students who have unique learning needs from ages birth to 26 years old.

This article showcases one area of service provided to many of our students: speech and language services. Here are ways speech and language are supported through special education from our early childhood services through our post-high school program. As you will see, each level is unique and shows options for delivery of speech and language services.

South Lyon provides programming for children ages birth-5 who are identified with speech and language delays at the Early Childhood Center. Many students from birth to 3 years of age attend small group therapy sessions with their parents. They receive services from a team of professionals which includes different therapists according to the needs of the individual child.

Children ages 3-5 and who are identified with speech/language delays may receive services in the S.M.I.L.E. program (Sensory Motor Integrated with Language Enrichment). This therapy is delivered through small groups and theme-related activities; the activities target articulation as well as receptive and expressive language skills.

At the elementary level, speech and language interventions are critical in supporting the academic, social and functional needs of students. The ability to effectively communicate can affect literacy skills at every level, processing and retention of new vocabulary and concepts, understanding abstract concepts, and social interactions among peers. Speech and language interventions focus on the individual needs of students, providing supports that enhance educational performance. These interventions are provided through multi-tiered student supports that can benefit all students’ language learning.

Unique to Hardy Elementary are the special education classrooms for students with significant delays in language, cognitive, social-emotional or multiple impairments. In this setting, speech and language supports are still determined through the IEP process, but more intensive supports are given to facilitate functional communication, academic learning and participation in the school community.

Some of these students communicate without speech, using Alternative and Augmentative Communication (AAC) devices. Technology integrations and related software provide instant opportunities for communication, video-feedback and academic learning. Every week functional activities, such as cooking, allow students to practice speech and language, while learning valuable work skills.

Speech and language services at the secondary level continue through different delivery systems. Students needing services may work in whole groups, small groups or individual sessions. Students who need less support may receive support through consultation services directly and indirectly meeting with a pathologist.

Students who are attending the post-secondary program or have more intensive needs receive both individual and classroom based speech-language services. Many of these students are non-verbal and use AAC, such as switches signs, and/or pictures to communicate.

Classroom and individual activities involving cooking, playing games and demonstrating preferences and opinions are used to give the students an opportunity to practice communication skills. These activities give the students opportunities to practice common daily activities that they will participate in while attending high school and beyond. The ultimate goal is to give students an effective mode of communication that they will use to interact with people in their daily lives.

Special education students who need speech and language services have a variety of methods in which to receive support.

At each level, services are implemented to meet the individual needs of the eligible child. Early education interventions are implemented at birth if a need is identified and the child meets the eligibility criteria. Speech and language services may continue through the educational progression of the student through age 26.

South Lyon Community Schools is proud of our speech and language department as well as our entire district team of dedicated special education staff.

Kristin Unit, Katie Bell and Marina Hamlin are district speech and language pathologists.


School district offers various special education programs | Observer and Eccentric Newspapers and Hometown Weeklies |

Jimmy Kilpatrick, a national recognized professional special education advocate since 1994.

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