A school speech language pathologist diagnoses and treats communication disorders.

School SLPs improve communication skills to facilitate academics. In order for a school slp to qualify a student for services, the student must exhibit a true communication disorder with an academic need.

This means that it is possible for a student to have a communication disorder and not qualify for school speech services… It all goes back to… does this child have an academic need? or Are this student’s communication skills impacting their academics? If the answer is no, then the child cannot qualify for services.

School SLPs are there to improve communication skills. They are not there to teach a language, academic concepts or tutor any students who are behind in their academics. Therefore, students should not be evaluated for speech services just because they are behind in school.

It would be more appropriate for an educational diagnostician to evaluate the students. The reason, again, being that speech language pathologists focus on communication and the functionality of communication for learning.

Just because a child receives special education services does not mean the child requires speech services. The speech services fall under special education services but speech services are meant to improve communication skills.

Speech services in the school are not meant to tutor or improve academic grades. Students who improve their communication skills have shown an increase in their academic skills but only for those whose communication skills are impacting their academics.

A child who is ADHD does not typically qualify for speech services. A decrease in attention does not constitute a true language disorder. If the child is able to answer successfully with repetition, cueing, and frequent breaks, the child does not qualify for speech services… he does not have a true communication disorder. The child’s behavioral difficulties are impacting his communication skills.

If a child’s communication skills are negatively impacting his behavioral skills, then the child should qualify for services.

If a child’s behavior is negatively impacting his communication skills, then the child’s behavior should be targeted for services. He, therefore, does not qualify for speech services because what is causing a communication breakdown is his behavior. If the child did not present with the behavioral issues, then the child would not exhibit difficulties in communication.

This goes for all socio-emotional difficulties… Just because a child is diagnosed with Emotional disturbance and exhibits difficulty with social interactions does not mean the child should qualify for speech services. Again, the child’s diagnosis of ED is negatively impacting his communication skills via social interactions. Therefore, ED needs to be addressed to improve social skills.

School SLPs have exhibited an increase in their caseloads. High caseloads can be attributed to misunderstanding of what SLP’s do in schools, uneducated school staff, misdiagnosis of true communication disorders, and the pressure for children to receive services because their academics are failing.

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