ASHA Provides Information to Help Parents/Caregivers Understand School-Based Services
ROCKVILLE, Md., Aug. 15, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — As children across the country return to classrooms, the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) is offering families information about speech and language services in the schools.
Annually, more than 1 million students ages 3 to 21 receive special education services for speech and language disorders through public schools. These students usually work with speech-language pathologists (SLPs)—professionals who help people of all ages with communication and swallowing disorders.
“Gaining an understanding of how the special education process works can seem overwhelming, but this information can help families learn how schools can best meet their child’s unique needs—working together with parents and caregivers,” said ASHA President Judy Rich, EdD, CCC-SLP, BCS-CL. “Speech-language pathology services can allow students to realize their full academic potential and be confident communicators who thrive socially.”
Here are 10 facts for families to keep in mind if their child is beginning services this school year:
- Speech and language services are part of special education law. The Individuals With Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is a federal special education law that guarantees students with disabilities a free appropriate public education. As such, students who receive speech and language services in school, and their guardians, are afforded certain legal rights and protections. Students must be found eligible for services (more on that below), which starts with an evaluation.
- Parents/guardians must consent to an evaluation. The school must obtain a family’s permission before conducting a speech and language evaluation. Parents/guardians can request an evaluation themselves by contacting a school official, such as their child’s teacher or the principal. Alternatively, school personnel may contact families when they believe a student should receive an evaluation. Family members provide key information, including medical and educational history as well as any specific concerns.
- SLPs conduct evaluations in the language(s) a student uses—not solely spoken English. For students who use multiple languages, the evaluation must be conducted in their languages through a bilingual SLP or an SLP working with an interpreter. Families also have a right to an interpreter during all meetings as well as written information in their preferred language, as needed.
- Speech and language services address a range of challenges. Treatment by SLPs in schools can help students who have difficulties with expressing themselves, listening, reading, and writing; social communication; memory, problem-solving, and thinking skills; and eating and drinking.
- A student’s needs and goals are documented in an individualized education program (IEP). Once the school completes an evaluation and produces a written report, a team of school staff and the student’s family meet to decide if the student is eligible for special education. To determine whether a student meets the requirements for needing an IEP to help them access the educational environment, the team answers three questions:
- Is there a disability?
- If so, is the child’s disability causing an adverse effect on their educational performance?
- If so, are specially designed instruction and/or related services and supports needed to help the student progress in the general education curriculum?
Learn more about speech and language services in schools on ASHA’s website.
Media Contact: Francine Pierson | 301-296-8715
SOURCE American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA)