Speech Pathologists Working in Preschool

Stairs to the river, Paris

Like other related services personnel in American schools, school speech-language pathologists must set priorities for quality of service based on evidence-based practice.  Setting priorities is a matter of formulating policy with clarity, focus and resolve.

A key consideration should be to reduce the number of at-risk children wrongly placed in special education, thereby mitigating the stigma of such placements.

There must be renewed efforts to become leaders in preschool education, to a level of excellence exceeding that held in general education.  Preschool education has been adrift for years, often because of a lack of commitment to evidence-based practice and reckless funding patterns.

Speech-language pathologists have strong background in language acquisition and disability.  They have strong backgrounds in ORAL LANGUAGE! The foundation of literacy developments rides on oral language foundations.  Here is where prevention can occur, the prevention of literacy disability.

Available testing procedures are many, and have been evaluated for validity.  Available scientific literature on preschool intervention is adequate.  It’s a professional strength.

SLPs should be leaders in reducing the problem of “wait to fail” cases and should engage themselves in learning disability testing and evaluation.  SLPs should become leaders in reducing the number of American school children placed as LD children.

SLPs should incorporate articulation evaluation into the larger framework of prevention, using reading instruction as a means of promoting generalization of learning, from speech to print, and from print to speech.  They should take into consideration the cognitive-linguistic processing abilities of all preschool school children.

Universal screening is a must, and collaboration with other specialties the same.  Encouraging RTI programming early on is highly desirable.

Prevention is a noble cause.  Once children are placed in special education they are left there without sufficient attention to bring about dismissal.

School speech-language pathologists by establishing a preschool priority should be able to move away from time spent servicing older children who were mistakenly placed.  The SLP staff should collaborate to shift work hours to preschool.

Yet the primary aim of preschool intervention should be to increase the number of children graduated from high school.  It is the big picture that so urgently needs to be addressed.

More SLPs need to get doctoral degrees in special education to express their leadership skills to a high level.   They need to become directors of special education or curriculum to bring about reform in preschool education.

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