American Speech-Language-Hearing Association

Position Statement

Roles of Speech-Language Pathologists and Teachers of Children Who Are Deaf and Hard of Hearing in the Development of Communicative and Linguistic Competence

Joint Committee of ASHA and the Council on Education of the Deaf


About this Document

This position statement was developed by the Joint Committee of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) and the Council on Education of the Deaf (CED). It was approved by ASHA's Legislative Council in 2003 and the Executive Board of CED in 2003. Members of the Joint Committee of ASHA/CED include vice president for professional practices in audiology (2001–2003), Susan Brannen, Evelyn Cherow (past ex officio), Carol Erting, Larry Fleischer, Dawna Lewis (past member), Martha McGlothin (chair), Ann Pruitt Shough, Marilyn Sass-Lehrer, Patrick S. Stone (past member), and Evelyn J. Williams, (ex officio).


It is the position of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) and the Council on Education of the Deaf (CED) that the development of communicative competence (the ability to understand and use one or more languages effectively in a variety of sociocultural contexts) of children who are deaf or hard of hearing is best facilitated when the speech-language pathologist (SLP) and teacher of children who are deaf and hard of hearing (Teacher) work collaboratively to optimize each child's potential. This collaboration requires (1) an understanding and respect for the unique background, educational preparation, knowledge, skills, and experience of participating professionals [1] ; (2) a recognition and appreciation of the shared knowledge, expertise, and responsibilities of the professionals; and (3) a consideration of programming and service delivery systems that stimulate the development of interpersonal communication skills and literacy.

Further the development of communicative competence must be a fundamental component of early intervention and educational programs for children who are deaf or hard of hearing, ages birth through 21 years. To facilitate communicative competence children who are deaf or hard of hearing must be allowed to communicate through a variety of communication modalities, languages, and strategies. In addition, the roles and responsibilities of SLPs and Teachers in the development of communicative competence may be overlapping, complementary, and/or supplementary when collaborating to achieve optimal outcomes for the child who is deaf or hard of hearing.

SLPs and Teachers should have an understanding of the interrelationship of linguistic, cognitive, and social development as well as an understanding of how hearing loss, community, educational, and familial factors affect the overall development of the child. SLPs and Teachers must also establish communication and linguistic goals for purposes of the child's reaching developmental milestones and academic achievement comparable to hearing peers. Consistent with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act of 1997, these goals must address the general education curriculum for school-age children.

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Notes

[1] ASHA and CED recognize that teachers of children who are deaf and hard of hearing and speech-language pathologists function as members of interdisciplinary teams as do other professionals and family members who may make recommendations that have a vital role in the communicative development of children who are deaf and hard of hearing. The focus of this document, however, is on the independent and collaborative roles of these teachers and speech-language pathologists in the development of communicative competence.

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Index terms: children, deafness, hearing loss

Reference this material as: American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. (2004). Roles of speech-language pathologists and teachers of children who are deaf and hard of hearing in the development of communicative and linguistic competence [Position Statement]. Available from www.asha.org/policy.

© Copyright 2004 American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. All rights reserved.

Disclaimer: The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association disclaims any liability to any party for the accuracy, completeness, or availability of these documents, or for any damages arising out of the use of the documents and any information they contain.

doi:10.1044/policy.PS2004-00232

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