May 27, 2003 Feature

Speech-Language Pathologists and Early Intervention

ASHA Practice Policies, Documents Support EI Role

Speech-language-pathologists certified by ASHA are uniquely qualified to provide early intervention (EI) services for children with, or at risk for, speech, language, and swallowing disorders. Education in typical cognitive and communication development and experience working with young children with speech, language, and swallowing disorders are a required part of the academic and clinical graduate program. ASHA’s Code of Ethics ensures that SLPs provide the highest quality of services.

Policy documents developed and adopted by the Association establish and support the role of the SLP in the early detection and treatment of communication and swallowing disorders. Policies relate to prevention of such disorders, scope of practice, and roles and responsibilities with infant, toddler, and preschool populations.

SLPs are qualified to identify, diagnose, and treat communication and swallowing disorders in infants, toddlers, and preschoolers. SLPs work with caregivers and other professionals to respond to young children with pre-language, pre-speech, and speech, language, and swallowing needs.

ASHA Policy Documents

The following summary provides a quick reference for the ASHA policies supporting the unique and valuable role of the SLP in early intervention.

ASHA Bylaws  —"The purposes of this Association shall be…to promote investigation and prevention of disorders of human communication."

Preferred Practice Patterns for Speech-Language Pathology  —Procedures are delineated for pre-speech, pre-language, and language assessment for infants and toddlers, early identification, and intervention in speech-language pathology.

Scope of Practice in Speech-Language Pathology  —"The practice of speech-language pathology includes: prevention, diagnosis, habilitation, and rehabilitation of communication…disorders."

Definition, Position Statement, Tutorial on Prevention of Communication Disorders  —SLPs are involved in primary (inhibition of onset), secondary (early detection and intervention), and tertiary prevention (reduction of disability).

Position Statement and Technical Report on the Roles of the SLP in Service Delivery to Infants, Toddlers, and Their Families  —"Families and their infants and toddlers (birth–36 months) who are at risk or have developmental disabilities present a broad spectrum of needs that the appropriately certified and/or licensed SLP is uniquely qualified to address"; "The SLP should be an integral member of any interdisciplinary team serving families and their infants or toddlers."

Guidelines for the Roles and Responsibilities of the School-Based SLP  —SLPs collaborate with families and preschool center staff members to enhance the communication skills of young children before school entry.

ASHA Research Related to Early Intervention

The following information and Web links provide examples of efficacy and outcomes data and research related to the role of the SLP in early intervention. Visit  ASHA's Web site  for more information on evidence-based practice.

ASHA NOMS Data  —The ASHA National Outcomes Measurement System (NOMS) is collecting data on the outcomes of speech-language treatment in the pre-kindergarten population. Results show that "more treatment time is associated not only with more progress, but also in an increased proportion of children demonstrating functional gains in their speech and language skills…" ( Treatment Outcomes on ASHA's Web site )

Research Reported in ASHA Journals  —ASHA journals provide a forum for research related to early intervention. The following outcome from one article is an example (From Roberson, S. B., Weismer, S. E. [1999]. Effects of treatment on linguistic and social skills in toddlers with delayed language development. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 42, 1234–1248): "Preliminary data suggest that clinician implemented language intervention can produce significant short-term results within a relatively short treatment interval, stimulating positive changes across a number of variables."

Multiskilling

SLPs may be asked to perform treatment outside of their scope of practice, or to train other professionals to do tasks that are the domain of the ASHA-certified SLP. ASHA’s policy on multiskilling and some state licensure laws address this issue.

ASHA’s policy on multiskilling indicates that "…cross-training of clinical skills is not appropriate at the professional level of practice (i.e., audiologist or speech-language pathologist)." Thus, teaching other professionals how to do what SLPs do, rather than teaching them about what we do is contradictory to ASHA policy. 


References on Early Intervention (Birth–5 Years)

American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. (1989). Communication-based services for infants, toddlers, and their families. (Technical report). Rockville, MD: Author.

American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. (1990). The roles of speech-language pathologists in service delivery to infants, toddlers, and their families. Asha, 32 (Suppl. 2), 4.

Apel, K., & Masterson, J. J. (2001). Beyond baby talk. Roseville, CA: Prima Publishing.

Calandrella, A. M., & Wilcox, M. J. (2000, October). Predicting language outcomes for young prelinguistic children with developmental delay. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 43, 1061–1071.

Crais, E. R. (1995, August). Expanding the repertoire of tools and techniques for assessing the communication skills of infants and toddlers. American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, 4, 47–58.

Curlee, R. F., & Yairi, E. (1997, May). Early intervention with early childhood stuttering: A critical examination of the data. American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, 6, 8–18.

Ezell, H. K., & Justice, L. M. (2000). Increasing the print focus of adult-child shared book reading through observational learning. American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, 9, 36–47.

Fowler, W., Ogston, K., Roberts-Fiati, G., & Swenson, A. (1997). The effects of enriching language in infancy on early and later development of competence. Early Childhood Development and Care, 125, 41–77.

Goldstein, B., & Washington, P. S. (2001, July). An initial investigation of phonological patterns in typically developing 4-year-old Spanish-English bilingual children. Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, 32, 153–164.

Guralnick, M. J. (1997). The effectiveness of early intervention. Baltimore, MD: Brookes.

Justice, L. M., & Ezell, H. K. (2000). Enhancing children’s print and word awareness through home-based parent intervention. American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, 9, 257–269.

Justice, L., & Ezell, H. K. (2002). Use of storybook reading to increase print awareness in at-risk children. American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, 11, 17–29.

Justice, L., & Ezell, H. K. (2002). A sequential analysis of children’s responsiveness to parental print references during shared book reading interactions. American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, 11, 30–40.

Kurjan, R. M. (2000, January). The role of the school-based speech-language pathologist serving preschool children with dysphagia: A personal perspective. Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, 31, 42–49.

Marvin, C. A., & Wright, D. (1997). Literacy socialization in the homes of preschool children. Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, 28, 154–163.

McLean, L. K., & Cripe, J. W. (1997). The effectiveness of early intervention for children with communication disorders. In M. J. Guralnick (Ed.), The effectiveness of early intervention (pp. 349–428). Baltimore, MD: Brookes.

Paul-Brown, D., & Caperton, C. J. (2001). Inclusive practices for preschool-age children with specific language impairment. In M. J. Guralnick (Ed.), Early childhood inclusion: Focus on change (pp. 433–463). Baltimore, MD: Brookes.

Polmanteer, K., & Turbiville, V. (2000, January). Family-responsive individualized family service plans for speech-language pathologists. Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, 31, 4–14.

Rabidoux, P. C., & MacDonald, J. D. (2000). An interactive taxonomy of mothers and children during storybook interactions. American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, 9, 331–344.

Rescorla, L., & Alley, A. (2001, April). Validation of the language development survey (LDS): A parent report tool for identifying language delay in toddlers. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 44, 434–445.

Robertson, S. B., & Weismer, S. E. (1999, October). Effects of treatment on linguistic and social skills in toddlers with delayed language development. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 42, 1234–1248.

Scherer, N. J. (1999, February). The speech and language status of toddlers with cleft lip and/or palate following early vocabulary intervention. American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, 8, 81–93.

van Kleeck, A., & Beckley-McCall, A. (2002). A comparison of mothers’ individual and simultaneous books sharing with preschool siblings: An exploratory study of five families. American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, 11, 175–189.

Yoder, P. J., & Warren, S. F. (2001, February). Relative treatment effects of two prelinguistic communication interventions on language development in toddlers with developmental delays vary by maternal characteristics. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 44, 224–237.



  

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