1. Educational Speech Pathology

Trends in school practice are stretching generic university preservice models in speech-language pathology (speech therapy) to their limits!

Steppling, Quattlebaum and Brady have authored an important article (Toward a Discussion of Issues Associated With Speech-Language Pathologists’ Dismissal Practices in Public School Settings) that shows intellectual points where preservice clinical models do not accommodate school decision making. They focus in on dismissal for discussion (Dismissal).

A shift in federal law in 1997 changed the picture as to whether SLPs work in isolation or work to reinforce the general curriculum:

“Contemporary standards-based reforms emphasize that every student must work toward the expectations set for each academic content area. As the mandates of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA, 1997) become fully implemented (ASHA, 1996; ASHA, 1999; Mead, 1999), more school speech-language pathologists (SLPs) will assess students’ abilities to meet curricular demands, design curriculum-based goals and objectives for students, and provide interventions designed to help students meet curricular requirements. This will apply whether the least restrictive environment for therapy is a classroom or a pullout setting” (Goliath).

Prevention is an often-stated aim of SLP practice but the use of evidence-based programs in schools to reduce special education overidentification is not a feature of prevention.

Do preservice programs cover misidentification as an ethical question?

Take another example, generalization of intervention to “progress in the general curriculum.” Intervention models do not address such topics, and the interesting possibilities thereby arising.

When phonological intervention is set up, is there any concern for how it generalizes to classroom literacy? Or, how classroom literacy instruction generalizes to phonological intervention?

One-on-one direct intervention is emphasized in preservice university clinics, implicitly validating pull out service delivery in school settings. However, one must consider that pull out is not necessarily more effective in schools where collaborative programs are gaining ground.

Educational speech-language pathology should be judged on its own terms and should be researched in schools to validate any claims made.

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