You may be on this website wondering what a Speech-Language Pathologist is and why all of this information is relevant in the school system.
Schools, Special Education, + SLP
As SLPs, Heidi and Virginia are interested in special education in public schools. Over the past 60 or so years, there has been a lot of reform in education policy for those who have special needs. The reform is attributed to fluctuating economics, changing demographics, the political tides, and the way our society is adapting to changes and social norms. Reform is also required to keep the US competitive in a global marketplace and to ensure all children are getting access to what is being learned in the general classroom. In public schools, we are currently in an "era of accountability" where students with disabilities are expected to perform in the same way that we have performance goals for all of the other students in a school. The goals may not be the same for every student, but we should expect each student to achieve and grow each year they are in school.
There are many rules that dictate what we can and cannot do. This infographic provides an initial overview of some of the most important rulings.
As you see, in 2015 the role of the Audiologist and the Speech Language Pathologist were officially expanded to include literacy. This can be confusing for some of our colleagues as we are often working with Reading Specialists, General Education Teachers, and Special Education Teachers who may also be helping with literacy (TLDR: the SLP is interested in literacy because of vocabulary).
When working in the schools, there will be questions about the roles and responsibilities of the SLP at the school and in the classroom. ASHA, our governing body, put together a guide to define the roles and responsibilities of the SLP in schools.
In education, we have to also consider the world of our student outside of the classroom. Family structures are continuing to evolve. For example, in the 1950's, 47% of families were traditional (father full time breadwinner, mom, two kids) in the 1990's, the traditional family only represented 18% of families.
Today, we are also seeing more children who are learning English as a second language. There are more children in the overall population of the US. We have more children who have insecure economic backgrounds such as lack of health insurance or low social economic status. We also have to consider the overall health status of all of the family members. We also have to be mindful that we aren't qualifying children for services who don't need them. Perhaps they just have a more diverse background?
Technology and learning tools are constantly changing as well as school guidelines and the school system. We put together this site so we can tie together things, for an SLP, related to digital literacy, inventive thinking, effective communication, and high productivity.
In literacy education, we are seeing the following as hot topics. What are you seeing?
- adolescent literacy
- direct/explicit instruction
- English as a second language
- high-stakes assessment
- informational texts
- literacy and reading coaches
- evidence-based practice
AAC in the Classroom
Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) devices are seen in almost every school these days. As a school-based SLP, you may be looking for a way to get started with an AAC device at your school. Heidi Miller, Virginia Ingram, and Jillian McCarthy launched AAC.tools in April 2018 to serve as a source for news and updates on AAC, tips for SLPs who are working with people who have an AAC device, and a resource for people who are new to the world of AAC.
In special education, we are seeing the following as hot topics:
- performance-based assessments
- curriculum-driven assessments
- consideration of the demands of statewide assessments
- limiting the use of standardized measures as the only source of assessment
- evaluating the response to intervention (RTI Model)
- assisting students to master curriculum
- a focus on outcomes and achievement for students
- blended service delivery models for intervention
- intervention provided within networks
As an School SLP, we know you're busy. We've put together a list of helpful tools for any School SLP in Tennessee.