As delineated in the American Speech-Hearing Association (ASHA) Scope of Practice in Speech-Language Pathology and federal regulations, SLPs work with students exhibiting the full range of communication disorders, including those involving receptive and/or expressive language, articulation (speech sound disorders), fluency, voice/resonance, and swallowing. To that end, SLPs conduct assessments in collaboration with others that help to identify students with communication disorders as well as to inform instruction and intervention, consistent with evidence based practices. SLPs also address personal, social/emotional, academic, and vocational needs that have an impact on attainment of educational goals.
With the ever-increasing diversity in the schools, SLPs make important contributions to ensure that all students receive quality, culturally competent services. SLPs have the expertise to distinguish a language disorder from “something else.” That “something else” might include cultural and linguistic differences, socioeconomic factors, lack of adequate prior instruction, and the process of acquiring the dialect of English used in the schools. This expertise leads to more accurate and appropriate identification of student needs. SLPs can also address the impact of language differences and second language acquisition on student learning and provide assistance to teachers in promoting educational growth.
SLPs also work with a variety of individuals and agencies (e.g., physicians, private therapy practitioners, social service agencies, private schools, and vocational rehabilitation) who may be involved in teaching or providing services to district students.
SLPs collaborate with families in planning, decision making, and program implementation. SLPs are in a position to provide training to parents of students of all ages with regard to communication development and disorders. They may be especially helpful to families in creating a language- and literacy-rich home environment.