Highlights for Families New to Speech Language Pathology Services

ASHA provides information to help parents/guardians understand school-based services

Rockville, Md., August 15, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — As children across the country return to class, the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) is offering families information about speech-language services in schools.

Each year, more than one million students between the ages of 3 and 21 receive special education services for speech and language disorders in public schools. These students typically work with speech therapists (speech therapists), professionals who help people of all ages with communication and swallowing disorders.

“Understanding how the special education process works can seem overwhelming, but this information can help families learn how schools can better meet their child’s unique needs, working with parents and guardians,” said the president. of ASHA. rich judy, EdD, CCC-SLP, BCS-CL. “Speech-language pathology services can enable students to reach their full academic potential and be confident communicators who thrive socially.”

Here are 10 facts for families to keep in mind if their child begins services this school year:

  1. Speech therapy services are part of the Special Education Act. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is a federal special education law that guarantees students with disabilities a free and appropriate public education. As such, students who receive speech therapy services at school and their guardians have certain legal rights and protections. Students must be deemed eligible for services (more details below), which begin with an assessment.
  2. Parents/guardians must consent to an assessment. The school must obtain permission from a family before conducting a speech and language assessment. Parents/guardians can request an assessment themselves by contacting a school official, such as their child’s teacher or principal. Alternatively, school staff may contact families when they believe a student should receive an assessment. Family members provide key information, including medical and educational history as well as any specific concerns.
  3. Speech-language pathologists conduct assessments in the language(s) used by the student—not only spoken English. For students who use more than one language, the assessment should be conducted in their language through a bilingual speech-language pathologist or a speech-language pathologist working with an interpreter. Families also have the right to an interpreter at all meetings and to written information in the language of their choice, if necessary.
  4. Speech-language pathology services respond to a range of challenges. Treatment by speech therapists in schools can help students who have difficulty speaking, listening, reading and writing; social communication; memory, problem-solving and thinking skills; and eat and drink.
  5. A student’s needs and goals are documented in an Individual Education Program (IEP). After the school completes an assessment and produces a written report, a team consisting of school staff and the student’s family meets to decide if the student is eligible for special education. In order to determine if a student meets the requirements to need an IEP to help them access the educational environment, the team answers three questions:
  • Is there a disability?
  • If so, does the child’s disability have a negative effect on his or her school results?
  • If so, are specially designed instructions and/or related services and supports necessary to help the student progress through the general education program?
  • An IEP is specific and highly personalized. The IEP team, including parents/guardians, work together to design the IEP to meet the educational needs of the student resulting from the disability in order to provide supports that enable the student to participate and progress in the general education program – and to participate in extracurricular and other non-academic activities. IDEA requires that the IEP include specific information about the frequency, location, and duration of services needed to help students master their IEP goals.
  • IEP goals are designed to be completed in 1 school year and a new IEP is required each year. If necessary, the team can revise the IEP during the year. Parents/guardians participate in the writing of each new or revised IEP.
  • Progress reports to families are in progress. Families will receive updates when bulletins are issued. The school will update progress toward each goal included in the IEP. Keeping up to date with what their child is doing at school can help families determine how best to support and encourage their child at home.
  • Schools should keep students with their peers as much as possible. A student with an IEP should be educated in the “least restrictive environment.” This means that a child should learn as much as possible with their peers. Students should be removed from the speech-language pathology program when their disability no longer interferes with their ability to communicate effectively and learn in the classroom.
  • Families have options if they disagree with the IEP team. Parents/guardians can request an IEP team meeting if they feel something is not working. Providing as much detail as possible helps the team understand the problem. When a family and a school disagree, it is important that all parties work together in a positive way and come to a compromise, which may be temporary. If the family is still not satisfied, they can follow the next steps detailed in their parental rights file (called procedural safeguards).
  • Learn more about speech therapy services in schools on the ASHA website.

    Media Contact: Francine Pierson | 301-296-8715

    SOURCE American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA)

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