All About Speech
What does a speech-language pathologist do?
In the school setting, a speech-language pathologist can work with students to improve their speech and language skills, which include:
If a parent or teacher has concerns about a student's speech and language skills, he or she may request a speech and language screening. A screening is a brief overview of an area of language that determines whether or not additional testing is warranted. Based on the results of the screening, the speech-language pathologist may or may not recommend the administration of certain speech and language tests. Those tests cannot be administered until a parent or guardian grants approval of testing by signing a Permission to Evaluate form. Upon receiving the Permission to Evaluate form, the speech therapist has 60 calendar days to administer the test(s) and complete an Evaluation Report. The Evaluation Report will provide the testing results and state whether or not the student qualifies for Speech and Language Support. The parent or guardian then reviews the report and indicates if they agree with the test results and recommendations. If a student qualifies for Speech and Language Support, an Individualized Education Program (IEP) must be developed within 30 calendar days. The IEP is a legal document that is valid for one year that specifies the exact services and program modifications that a student will receive to improve his or her speech and language skills. A meeting is held to form the IEP, and team members include the parent or guardian, classroom teacher, principal, and speech-language pathologist. If a student receives other services (e.g., physical therapy, occupational therapy, gifted support), those teachers are also part of the IEP team and help to develop the student's educational plan. Once the IEP is completed, the parent or guardian indicates if they approve or do not approve of the program. The student's new program becomes effective the next school day following the IEP meeting. Students typically receive Speech and Language Support services within the speech therapy room, although services may also be delivered by the speech therapist within the classroom. Therapy may be individual or within a small group, typically for 30 minute sessions. The amount of sessions per week and individual versus group therapy is determined based on the student's needs.