IDEA's Influence on Student Needs and Expanded SLP Responsibilities in Schools

Zero reject: 300.125 Child Find of 1999 Final IDEA Regulations SUBPART B

Intent: Schools must educate all children with a disability, no matter how severe. Each state is responsible for locating, identifying, and evaluating all children residing in the state suspected or having disability.

Implications for School SLP Workload: School speech-language pathologists (SLPs) must work with school evaluation teams to identify all students suspected of having a speech and/or language disability whether it is the primary disability or a disability related to another category under IDEA. The range and severity of students with disabilities that require speech-language services has greatly expanded, increasing school caseloads. Children with more severe disabilities may require greater use of individualized and smaller group models of service delivery as well as more frequent contact every week.

Nondiscriminatory evaluation: 300.19 of 1999 Final IDEA Regulations SUBPART A

Intent: A student with disabilities must receive a full, individual evaluation before being placed in special education. The evaluation must be nondiscriminatory and fair to every student, even nonverbal and nonreading students and those with different cultural backgrounds.

Implications for School SLP Workload: The evaluation process must determine the student's level of communication functioning even if the student is nonverbal and from a different cultural background. This takes more time because of the need to coordinate and work with interpreters, plan and choose appropriate alternative and authentic assessments, etc.

FAPE 300.113 and 300.121 of 1999 Final IDEA Regulations SUBPART A

Intent: Free, appropriate public education (FAPE): All children identified with a disability have the right to a free and appropriate education. An IEP must be developed according to each child's needs. The focus is on improving teaching and learning, with the specific focus on the IEP as the primary tool for enhancing the students' involvement and progress in the general curriculum.

Implications for School SLP Workload: Each student receiving speech and/or language services should be educated with peers whenever possible while addressing the student's individualized needs. This includes meeting and collaborating with general education teachers.

Least restrictive environment (LRE) 300.130 of 1999 Final IDEA Regulations SUBPART B

Intent: To the maximum extent appropriate, students with disabilities should be educated with peers who do not have disabilities, whenever possible. LRE must be individualized and appropriate to each student's needs

Implications for School SLP Workload: Each student receiving speech-language services should be educated with typical developing peers whenever possible, while addressing the student(s) IEP needs to help him/her progress in the general curriculum. This adds to SLP workload activities to meet and collaborate with general education teachers, understand the demands of the curriculum at all grade levels, and apply general ed. curriculum standards, etc.

Due process 300.501 of 1999 Final IDEA Regulations SUBPART D

Intent: Due process: Parents/legal guardians must be notified and give consent during the assessment and evaluation process. Early identification of children with disabilities and provision of services are promoted.

Implications for School SLP Workload: This permission includes assessments and evaluations for speech and language functioning. This involves increased paperwork and meeting specific timelines that affect the SLP's workload. Also, compliance tasks, case management tasks, etc.

Parent participation 300.345 of 1999 Final IDEA Regulations SUBPART C

Intent: Parental participation: Teams composed of parents/legal guardians and school personnel must make special education decisions.

Implications for School SLP Workload: Parents should be involved as team members in all decisions relative to speech and language services. Parents are expected to be equal partners along with school personnel in developing, reviewing, and revising the IEP for their child. Several requirements are designed to guarantee parent participation, including notifying parents with adequate time so they have the opportunity to attend an IEP meeting, documenting phone calls, correspondence, home visits, and all efforts to include the parents. More meetings, more contacts with parents that add to the SLP workload.

Early intervention 300.125 Child Find of 1999 Final IDEA Regulations SUBPART B

Intent: Clarifies that for children from birth to age 2 are the responsibility of the local education agency to ensure compliance with child find when the lead agency for the Part C program is different.

Implications for School SLP Workload: SLPs are involved in identification of children birth to age 2 in some states.

Transition services 300.29 of 1999 Final IDEA Regulations SUBPART A

Intent: Transition services means a coordinated set of activities for the student with a disability designed to promote movement from school to post-school activities

Implications for School SLP Workload: Transition services must be based on the individual needs of the student and include many services that affect the SLP's workload, such as instruction, related services, and community experiences and, if appropriate, acquisition of daily living skills and functional vocational evaluation.

Assistive technology 300.5 and 300.6 1999 Final IDEA Regulations SUBPART A

Intent: Assistive technology devices mean any item, piece of equipment, or product system, whether acquired commercially, off the shelf, modified, or customized, that is used to increase, maintain, or improve the functional capabilities of children with disabilities. Assistive technology services mean any service that assists a child with a disability in the selection, acquisition, or use of an assistive technology device. This must be addressed in every IEP.

Implications for School SLP Workload: The SLP may be involved in evaluation of the student's needs; providing the acquisition of assistive tech. devices; selecting, designing, fitting, customizing, adapting, applying, maintaining, or repairing such devices; coordinating and using other therapies, interventions or services; training or technical assistance to teachers and family members and others involved with the students. These tasks are very time consuming in the SLP workloads.

Participation in state/district assessments 300.138 of 1999 Final IDEA Regulations SUBPART A

Intent: IDEA mandates that students participate in school-wide testing and demonstrate that they are making progress in the school curriculum

Implications for School SLP Workload: SLPs must know the language-learning demands of state and district assessments in order to address student needs such as identifying appropriate accommodations and modifications to enable students to participate.

Multidisciplinary teaming 300.344 IEP Team of 1999 Final IDEA Regulations SUBPART C

Intent: As a member of a professional team, the SLP is among a cadre of staff who may be responsible for implementing the IEP communication goals and objectives. In the teaming concept teachers/staff share responsibility for aspects of student learning. This provides the opportunity for joint ownership of student success and maximizing connection to education standards, with particular emphasis on building literacy skills.

Implications for School SLP Workload: All IEP goals and objectives are to be developed by the team and are not the sole responsibility of the SLP. In order for regular education teachers, special education teachers, and speech-language pathologists to team, they need time to meet, share information about students' strengths and needs, and develop appropriate goals and objectives.

Connection to general education curriculum: 333.26 of 1999 Final IDEA Regulations SUBPART A; 300.346 of 1999 Final IDEA Regulations SUBPART C

Intent: Children and adolescents with disabilities and their teachers are accountable for these students' progress in the general education curriculum. Specific instruction should be designed to ensure access of the child to the general curriculum so that he or she can meet the education standards that apply to all children. The reauthorization of IDEA calls for more educationally relevant IEPs. These changes are designed to lead to integrated speech and language service delivery that includes curriculum-based assessment and intervention. Because the internal fabric of the IEP has changed, activities that lead to its design and implementation have also changed. Fundamental to this shift is the underlying assumption that special educators, regular educators, and parents must collaborate and consult with one another on behalf of the student.

Implications for School SLP Workload: In order for regular education teachers, special education teachers, and speech-language pathologists to develop and implement educationally relevant and integrated IEPs, they need time to meet, share curriculum standards and goals, and determine appropriate instructional strategies. Consideration must be given to the students' communication needs in the development and modification of all IEPs. This increases the involvement of the SLP in the student's IEP process. Speech-language pathologists must understand the demands of the curriculum at all grade levels and across school, district, and state requirements. Student evaluation data must include information relevant to current classroom-based functioning. SLPs need time to do classroom observations and to collect authentic assessments that reflect the student's performance in the general curriculum and on current IEP goals.

Notice of interpretation: Extent to which child will participate with nondisabled children. 300. (533). 

Intent: To the maximum extent appropriate to the child's needs, each child with a disability participates with nondisabled children in nonacademic and extracurricular services and activities: All services and education placements under Part B must be individually determined in light of each child's unique abilities and needs, to reasonably promote the child's education success. Placing children with disabilities in this manner should enable each disabled child to meet high expectations in the future. IDEA's emphasis on access to the general curriculum is intended to ensure that special education and related services are in addition to, not separate from that curriculum. The requirements regarding services provided to address a child's present levels of education performance and to make progress toward identified goals reinforce the emphasis on progress in the general curriculum.

Content Disclaimer: The Practice Resource Project, ASHA policy documents, and guidelines contain information for use in all settings; however, members must consider all applicable local, state and federal requirements when applying the information in their specific work setting.