April 5, 2011 News

Schools: Research and Resources


ADHD and Hand Movements 

Measuring the ability of children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) to control impulsive movements may inform prognosis and guide treatments. In a recent study, children with ADHD performed a finger-tapping task. Any unintentional "overflow" movements occurring on the opposite hand were noted. Children with ADHD showed more than twice as much overflow as typically developing children. This study marks the first time that scientists have been able to quantify the degree to which ADHD is associated with difficulties in motor control.

Researchers examined 50 right-handed children, half with ADHD and half typically developing, ages 8-12 years. Each subject completed five tasks of sequential finger-tapping on each hand. Excessive mirror overflow (unintentional and unnecessary movements occurring in the same muscles on the opposite side of the body) were quantified precisely using video and a device that recorded finger position. During left-handed finger tapping, children with ADHD showed more than twice as much mirror overflow as typically developing children. The differences were particularly prominent for boys.

The findings show that children with ADHD, even at an unconscious level, are struggling with controlling and inhibiting unwanted actions and behavior, perhaps leading to understanding of the similar challenges they face controlling more complex behavior. For more, visit the Feb. 15 issue of Neurology

Performance of Students With Hearing Impairment 

Despite advances in technology and a greater emphasis on improving their academic performance, students with hearing impairments continue to have a more difficult time with reading, math, science, and social studies, according to a report from the National Center for Special Education Research.

According to the report, 35% of students ages 13–19 with hearing impairments took all of their courses in general education classrooms, and most were given some type of accommodation, support, or service. But the study also found that "higher percentages of youth with hearing impairments scored below the mean across subtests of academic achievement compared with students in the general population."

Depending on the subject, 12% to 41% of students with hearing impairments scored higher than 100—the mean of the general population of youth. In addition, general education teachers reported that 41% of students with hearing impairments "often" responded orally to questions, a figure significantly less than the 78% of the class as a whole who "often" responded orally to questions.

The report is based on data from the U.S. Department of Education's National Longitudinal Transition Study-2, which has a nationally representative sample of more than 11,000 secondary school-aged youth with disabilities who were in at least seventh grade and receiving special education services in the 2000–2001 school year. The approximately 1,000 youth with hearing impairments included in the sample represent the more than 22,000 youth with hearing impairments. Visit the Institutes of Education Science's [PDF, 1.1MB] website for more information.

Autism After High School 

For students diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs), the use of medical, mental health, and case management services declines steeply after high school. According to a Washington University study, young adults ages 19–23 with ASDs showed lower rates of service use than they did in high school. Overall rates of service use ranged from 9.1% for speech services to 41.9% for case management. Other services used included medical services (23.5%) and mental health services (35%). About two-fifths of those studied (39.1%) had not received any of these services. Factors such as race and income seemed to correlate with service use.

"Rates of service disengagement are high after exiting high school. Disparities by race and socioeconomic status indicate a need for targeted outreach and services," the authors conclude. For more information, search "autism and high school" at the Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine.

Paying It Forward 

In the first long-term economic analysis of an early education program, researchers have concluded that for every $1 invested in a Chicago early childhood education program, almost $11 is projected to return to society over the children's lifetimes.

Researchers evaluated the effectiveness of the Chicago Public Schools' federally funded Child Parent Centers (CPC), which were established in 1967, by analyzing the education, employment, public aid, criminal justice, substance abuse, and child welfare records for 900 participants enrolled at age 3 through age 26. They compared the results to a group of 500 similar-age children not enrolled in the programs.

The CPC groups showed higher rates of attendance at four-year colleges and employment in higher-skilled jobs and significantly lower rates of felony arrests and symptoms of depression in young adulthood.

The researchers identified five keys that contribute to the program's effectiveness: sufficient length or duration, high intensity and enrichment, small class sizes and teacher-student ratios, comprehensive services, and well-trained and well-compensated staff.

Find the full results in the February 2011 issue of Child Development Journal.


School-based SLPs 

ASHA's schools webpage includes links to a number of resources helpful to speech-language pathologists, including information on the following topics:

Policy Documents 

  • Roles and Responsibilities of Speech-Language Pathologists in the Schools
  • Workload Analysis Approach for Establishing Speech-Language Caseload Standards in the Schools
  • Swallowing and Feeding Services in Schools
  • Diagnosis, Assessment, and Treatment of Autism Spectrum Disorders Across the Life Span


  • Budget cuts: Maintaining speech-language pathology and audiology services in schools

General Information

  • Individualized education programs, caseload/workload, dysphagia, autism, response-to-intervention, and salaries (including salary supplements)


  • American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009
  • Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEA) of 2004
  • No Child Left Behind (NCLB)
  • Credentials comparison chart: National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) and ASHA-CCC
  • State teacher requirements for speech-language pathology and audiology


  • Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools
  • Access Schools (e-newsletter)
  • Perspectives on School-Based Issues (Special Interest Group 16 newsletter)

Schools-Related Groups  

  • Special Interest Group 16, School-Based Issues
  • School-based practitioners' input group

Resources: Educational Audiologists 

ASHA's webpage for school-based audiologists includes links to a number of resources, including information on the following topics:

Policy Documents  

  • Fitting and Monitoring FM Systems
  • Amplification as a Remediation Technique for Children With Normal Peripheral Hearing
  • Audiologic/Aural Rehabilitation
  • Guidelines for Audiologic Screening
  • Acoustics in Educational Settings: Position Statement and Technical Report
  • Guidelines for Addressing Acoustics in Educational Settings
  • Appropriate School Facilities for Students With Speech-Language-Hearing Disorders


  • ASHA audiology survey reports
  • Educational audiology survey report 2007

General Information  

Advocacy (school funding), American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA), classroom acoustics, IDEA, school-based services for students with cochlear implants, and more.


  • ASHA Access Audiology e-newsletter
  • Perspectives newsletters from the following special interest groups: 6, Hearing and Hearing Disorders: Research and Diagnostics; 7, Aural Rehabilitation and Its Instrumentation; 9, Hearing and Hearing Disorders in Childhood; 14, Communication Disorders and Sciences in Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CLD) Populations; 16, School-Based Issues

Other Useful Links

  • Educational Audiology Association
  • Free U.S. Department of Education publications


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