South Orangetown Central School District

Speech/Language RTI

The South Orangetown Central School system is dedicated to providing students with the skills necessary to attain goals within the global community. We have committed ourselves to extend the most supportive services in the early years (kindergarten through grade 5) in order to maximize development during this formative time.

Speech and language services will be provided to classified students upon recommendation for services from the Committee on Special Education. Speech and language services are an additional support provided to non-classified students through the District’s Response to Intervention (RTI) as scheduling allows.

What is RTI support in speech and language?

  • RTI speech and language support services are speech and language therapy services that are provided to students as a pre referral intervention as determined by each building’s Response to Intervention Team (RTI team).
  • Services are provided within a cycle during the course of the typical school day. Therapeutic support is provided on a continuum from consultant basis (RTI Tier 1 support) to more intensive pull-out services (RTI Tier 2 support).
  • The speech/language profiles of students receiving RTI speech and language support reflect skills that are not commensurate with developmental expectations and may negatively impact access to the educational curriculum.
  • Need for services are reviewed periodically.

What areas of speech and language are considered when deciding if RTI speech and language support services are warranted?

Articulation is the term used to describe a student’s production of speech sounds for a given age. Speech sounds are acquired along a continuum of development. Not all speech sounds are produced correctly at the same time. For most students, speech sounds are correctly produced by the age of seven. Some children have difficulty acquiring one sound while other children have difficulty with a whole group of sounds. Errors that are occurring on sounds along the continuum are considered developmental in nature and not indicative of a significant delay. These sounds are expected to emerge as the student’s system matures. For other students, development is slower and errors persist for a longer period of time. These errors may be noted as omissions of sounds or syllables, substitutions of one sound for another or as distortions of sounds. The type of error pattern exhibited determines the extent of the delay (if any).

Speech is acquired according to patterns of acquisition. These patterns are also referred to as phonological processes. We know that by age three, the following processes should have been eliminated:

  1. Unstressed syllable deletion: Children will leave out the unstressed syllable in a word (tephone/telephone).
  2. Final consonant deletion: Children will leave off the last consonant of a word. (boo for book)
  3. Consonant Assimilation: One consonant in the word influences another. (beb/bed; coke/coat)
  4. Reduplication: The child repeats the first syllable twice. (baba/bottle)
  5. Velar Fronting: The phonemes /k/ and /g/ are substituted by sounds made in the front of the mouth (tate/cake; tup/cup).

By ages five and six (kindergarten), the following processes should have been eliminated:

  1. Cluster Reduction: A consonant in a cluster is omitted. The omission is considered to be either “marked” (primary sound is
    omitted as in no/snow), or “unmarked” (secondary sound is deleted as in sing/swing; so/snow). Marked cluster reductions
    represent “typical” error patterns. Unmarked cluster reductions represent “unusual” error patterns.
  2. Epenthasis: A vowel is misplaced or inserted in a word (balack/black).
  3. Gliding: /l/ is replaced by /w/ or /j/ (wook/look; jook/look).
  4. Stopping of Fricatives: Fricative phonemes (sounds made with sustained airflow) are replaced by stop consonants. (toup/soup; too/shoe).
  5. Stopping of Affricates: Affricate phonemes are replaced by stop consonants (top/chop).

Sounds emerge along a continuum of development. By the age of six years old, most children’s sound systems contain most later developing consonants including /l/, /sh/, /ch/, /s/, /z/, /v/, and /j/. By the age of seven, most sound systems contain /th/ and /r/, including /r/ vowels. Dialectal variations of English do not constitute an articulation disorder (American Speech/Language Hearing Association, 1983). It is the role of the speech-language pathologist to treat only those features or characteristics that are true errors and not attributable to other communication variances (American Speech/Language Hearing Association, 1983).

A student’s language system consists of the comprehension and expression of spoken or written language for communication. The areas considered in relation to a student’s chronological age include linguistic content (understanding), linguistic form (grammatical structures; verbal expression), and pragmatics (use of language for communication).

Fluency consists of the flow of verbal expression. Fluency is of concern to the school speech/language therapist when any impairment in rate and/or rhythm adversely affects the student’s participation within the educational setting. Struggle patterns may or may not be present.

At times, students exhibit the abnormal production of voice characterized by deviant initiation/duration, tonal quality, pitch, loudness and / or resonance. Within the school setting, it is the role of the speech and language therapist to educate students in ways to promote healthy vocal use. Parents are encouraged to seek appropriate medical consultation to determine etiology and course of treatment.

How is RTI speech and language support provided districtwide?

William O. Schaefer Elementary School: Kindergarten – Grade 2

  • Kindergarten: The articulation and language skills of all students are screened as part of the District’s kindergarten screening process. Students whose sound/language profile reflect delays outside of the range of typical development and/or negatively impact intelligibility are referred to the elementary building’s RTI Team.
  • Articulation screenings are completed at the beginning of first and second grades for those students whose sound profiles reflect errors patterns.
  • A student’s articulation/language system can be screened at the request of teachers/parents. Requests for screenings will be brought forth to the building’s RTI team.
  • Parents receive written notification of their student’s participation in speech and language support services.
  • Parents receive notice of student’s progress along with report cards at the end of each marking period.

Cottage Lane Elementary School: Grades 3 – 5

  • A student’s articulation / language system can be screened at the request of teachers/parents. Requests for screenings will be brought forth to the building’s RTI team.
  • Parents receive written notification of their student’s participation in speech and language support services.
  • Parents receive notice of their student’s progress at the end of each marking period.

South Orangetown Middle School: Grades 6 – 8

  • A student’s language system can be screened at the request of teachers/parents. Requests for screenings will be brought forth to the building’s RTI team.
  • The need and benefits of speech and language support services will be assessed by the building’s RTI team. Other considerations, such as scheduling, will also be considered and weighed in making a determination.

What factors are considered when deciding upon dismissal from services?

Dismissal criteria are as follows:

  • The student has attained a level of performance commensurate with expectations given his/her clinical condition such as cognitive functioning, structural anomalies, neurological issues and/or hearing impairment.
  • A speech/language delay is no longer demonstrated.
  • The student has maintained the same level of performance over a period of time, despite the use of a variety of intervention strategies designed to stimulate progress, indicating to the building teams that the student cannot reasonably benefit from continued service.
  • The student is unwilling to participate in treatment; treatment attendance has been inconsistent or poor, and efforts to address these factors have not been successful.
  • The student demonstrates behavior that interferes with improvement or participation in treatment (e.g., noncompliance), providing that efforts to address the interfering behavior have been unsuccessful.
  • Parents request to withdraw student from services.
  • In the area of articulation, the student has demonstrated improvement of sounds within words at the sentence and/or connected speech levels within structured therapy. The student has demonstrated knowledge and use of the skills necessary to improve intelligibility.
  • Carryover into spontaneous speech outside of the therapy room may or may not have emerged.
  • Recommendations for dismissal are made to each building’s RTI team. Parents are informed (verbally or through written

What happens when a student transitions to the next elementary school building?

Referral to RTI speech and language support services is done through the process of each building’s Response to Intervention Team. It is the responsibility of each building’s RTI team, after articulating with the previous building team, to review cases and determine eligibility for services during that current school year.


Special Education & Pupil Personnel Services
160 Van Wyck Road
Blauvelt, NY 10913

Karen A. Tesik, Ed.D.
Interim Director
(845) 680-1025

Lori Graham
CSE Chairperson
(845) 680-1024

Thomas Colgan
CPSE/CSE Chairperson
(845) 680-1057

Lillian Croyle
(845) 680-1021

Jackie Garrecht
(845) 680-1027

Karen McNee
CPSE Secretary
(845) 680-1056

April Radican
(845) 680-1026