The A-JIS community takes pride in its ability to work with students who have differing learning needs. In order to enhance the existing learning support program, A-JIS now employs a qualified speech and language pathologist (SLP), Vanessa Leaver, who works with a variety of students who have difficulty communicating. Ms. Leaver holds both private and group sessions in order to enable students to successfully participate in school life.
Tokyo is home to international students from diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds. Communication disorders affect not only monolingual children, but also bilingual students and second-language learners. Alongside learning support, SLP can help address disorders.
Communication is the underlying common denominator needed in any language to be able to function in home, school, and community situations. Disorders that SLPs commonly work with include difficulties in articulating age-appropriate speech sounds or with speech fluency such as stuttering; communication impairments such as attention, memory, and problem-solving disorders; and problems in understanding and producing age-appropriate language.
SLPs are trained to recognize language learning disabilities and carry out intervention to help students continue to learn along with their peers. This is important because language disorders left untreated during the early years of school are likely to persist into high school and adulthood.
Ms. Leaver currently services Aoba–Japan International School once a week as part of their learning support team, and also works with Tokyo International School (TIS) and private families around Tokyo.