SLPs, RTI and Over-identification

Speech Pathology Group advocates for school collaboration to reduce time demands on SLPs. Collaboration takes place through Response To Intervention programs and can prevent SLI over-identification:

“The purpose of implementing a response to intervention (RTI) program is to not only reduce the number of special education referrals and evaluations, but to also prevent inappropriate placement of students in special education” (SpeechPathologyGroup2).

This applies to SLPs who would normally evaluate to place speech and language impaired children directly into special education and their caseloads. RTI can screen out non-disabled children with weak communication skills. There are Hispanic children who have limited English. There are poor children who are not used to structured tasks used in norm-referenced tests. There are phonologically delayed children who show they are stimulable for accurate production and can quickly begin to produce high intelligible speech with cues. In RTI they get a chance to show they need only interactive stimulation in the regular classroom.

Also, SLPs contribute to school success operating outside the structure of the therapy room:

“RTI yields major cost savings to the education system by preventing over-identification of speech and language impairments, reducing long-term costs of educating struggling learners and allowing special education resources to be allocated on the basis of highest need. In addition, IDEA 2004 permits school districts to use as much as 15% of special education monies to pay for qualifying early intervening services, including professional development for teachers.”

This post suggests SLPs have more control over caseload size and workload than they realize. They need to focus on the goal of reducing over-identification using whatever school programs support that goal.

October, 2014

This post was made in 2011. Here is another area of school concern ASHA and the CAA manage to avoid.

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