R-6 Board of Education agrees to hire new speech pathologist

Written by Muleskinner Staff

By NATALIE DATTILIO
(digitalBURG) – The Warrensburg R-6 Board of Education unanimously approved a motion Tuesday to hire a new full-time speech and language pathologist in early childhood education for the 2015 and 2016 school year.
The R-6 District has four speech and language pathologists. However, Shelbie Dalton, the director of special services, said each speech pathologist is at their legal capacity for students. These speech and language pathologists also travel to nine other day care centers along with the schools.
“We knew at the beginning of the year we were at capacity,” said Andy Kohl, assistant superintendent of finance.
Legally, the R-6 District has to take care of kids with a speech or language problem once they turn 3 years old, and can continue to help them until that person turns 21. They also cannot deny an eligible child.
“If we need it, then we need it,” said board member Morris Collins.
The speech and language pathology program is federally funded, so the school will be reimbursed for the money they spent for this program the next school year.
Dalton said the district’s goal is to catch children who may have communication issues as early as possible.
“Providing early intervening services is the best proactive approach for early childhood (education),” she said. “So entering kindergarten with two or three years of services prior to entering kindergarten just makes them that much closer to either not having a delay anymore or possibly exiting the program.”
Daniel Barnett contributed to this story.