Impact of School Speech Therapy on Pupil Achievement

One of our themes at SSP is that school speech-language pathologists along with other specialists do not consider among their special education placement criteria the potential of negative impact on long-term academic success.  It seems routine.  He or she has an “artic problem” so give the test and make the placement.  All seems innocent.  However, we have no data on whether being singled out as a special education child carries with it a stigma and impairs motivation to achieve. 

Lion on top of cabinet, moved to Paris

The National Center for Learning Disabilities (NCLD) is publishing now (February, 2011) a parent poll on LD child optimism for post-secondary achievement. 

“Is your child optimistic about college and a career?

Yes. She has confidence and drive. 36.6%

No. She thinks her LD limits her options. 26.8% Somewhat.

She’s waking up to the possibilities.  20.7%

I’m not sure. She doesn’t like to discuss it.  15.9%” 

SLI status overlaps with SLD status, and many SLI children have dual placements.  We guess that a survey for SLI children might look the same — overall, not much optimism.

In the case of non-disabled minority children, how would the survey look?

Special education children are singled out and over time administrators, teachers and pupils see them as different.  Expectations are lowered.  Special education children are more likely to drop out of school.  

Imminent renewal of No Child Left Behind suggests interest in improving graduation rates at American high schools.  Graduation should be a factor in early IEP planning.  Efforts should be made to exit children wrongly placed in special education.

SSP supports Response To Intervention as an alternative to speech and language placement in special education.  Better to work to  improve Tier 3 and prevent needless placements.  SLPs have a professional responsibility to promote prevention of communication disorders.



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