True SLP Collaboration – Indiana’s Model Program

A report written in Urban Perspectives (winter 2006), ” Adapting Speech Therapy Service Delivery through Data-Based Decision- Making and Response to Intervention (Lori Carmichael-Howell and Jennifer Dezarn-Lynch, Metropolitan School District of Wayne Township, Indianapolis, IN)  gets at issues critical to the future of school speech-language pathology. 

The SLPs were frozen in a survival mode: “They were not satisfied with the progress in student achievement; services were delivered separate from the curriculum, and large amounts of time were focused on assessment and placement rather than intervention.” 

A district-wide improvement project was developed. “When data was examined during this project, a lack of consistency was found not only in identification of disabilities but also in service delivery methods, use of evidence-based practices, and SLP involvement in the general education curriculum.” 

Service delivery was made more flexible, adapted to children and SLPs, and RTI was interfaced with therapy services. Collaboration and generalization goals were important.  Aggregate data were collected to evaluate progress, and phonological process instruction was incorporated into the program.  The need for pull out therapy was reduced. 

The program has become a model for Indiana.


In one fell swoop the Indiana project demonstrates how SLPs can plan for systemic change addressing a wide range of issues including SLP overload and burnout.

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