Budget Cuts: Maintaining Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology Services in Schools
During these difficult economic times, many schools are grappling with tight budgets and are facing serious budget decisions or having to reduce staff. These budget or personnel cuts can have a negative impact on speech-language pathology (SLP) and audiology services, including increasing workloads, decreasing staff morale, delaying services, or changing the way services are delivered. Across the country members report that their jobs are in jeopardy, or they have experienced staff cutbacks. When a school encounters a downturn in funding, there can be many unforeseen consequences, such as due process hearing when parents are concerned about loss of services to their child, or the costs associated with the rehiring and retraining of qualified personnel.
SLPs and audiologists are valuable professionals in the school, who assist students in becoming effective learners and productive citizens. Here is a list of resources that can assist you with your advocacy efforts if your position or budget is in jeopardy.
ASHA Practice Policy
ASHA's practice policy documents can be used to explain and promote best practices and legal requirements for providing services for students with communication disabilities.
Code of Ethics
Scope of Practice in Speech-Language Pathology
Preferred Practice Patterns for the Profession of Speech-Language Pathology
A Workload Analysis Approach for Establishing Speech-Language Caseload Standards in the Schools (2002) Position Statement
Roles and Responsibilities of Speech-Language Pathologists in the Schools Professional Issues Statement and Position Statement
Roles and Responsibilities of Speech-Language Pathologists With Respect to Reading and Writing in Children and Adolescents (2001)
Scope of Practice in Audiology
Preferred Practice Patterns for the Profession of Audiology
Guidelines for Audiology Service Provision in and for Schools
These federal, state, and ASHA resources can be used to support your advocacy efforts.
Special Interest Group 16 Perspectives
Comparison of IDEA and Medicaid Requirements for Audiology and Speech Language Pathology
Several national studies on characteristics of children with disabilities consistently reveal that communication disorders stand out amongst other disability categories. These links provide details of those national studies and other research resources that support the need for school-based speech-language pathologists and educational audiologists.
Tools for Advocacy
Information to support your advocacy efforts.
Parents of children with disabilities can be your greatest ally when your job has been threatened. Parents typically equate job loss with loss of services to their children. It can be tricky to alert parents to the potential cuts. Below are some resources you may recommend that can inform parents of their rights or can provide advocacy assistance.
Parents, educators, advocates, and attorneys come to Wrightslaw for accurate, reliable information about special education law, education law, and advocacy for children with disabilities.
The National Disability Rights Network (NDRN) is the voluntary national membership association of protection & advocacy systems and client assistance programs. The network provides legally based advocacy services to people with disabilities in the United States.
Your state legislator can be helpful in providing support to you and your child in the event that needed services are threatened. You can find a directory of state legislative websites at the National Conference of State Legislatures website.
The names and contact information for your school district’s Board of Education should be readily available through the Internet or upon request from the principal of your child’s home school. You can also contact the National School Boards Association at for more information. .
Contacts to local press and the media will bring decisions to cut services for children with disabilities to the public, at large. ASHA provides tips for contacting the media.
Promoting the Value of the Profession of Speech-Language Pathology
- ASHA-certified SLPs are the only professionals specifically educated and prepared to evaluate and treat children with speech, language, and swallowing problems.
- ASHA-certified SLPs are the only professionals who possess either a master's or doctoral degree from an accredited program, complete a postgraduate clinical fellowship, and pass a national examination to receive their professional credential: the Certificate of Clinical Competence in Speech-Language Pathology (CCC-SLP) from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association.
- The benefits of treatment by ASHA-certified SLPs are measured and documented by a statistically validated national treatment outcomes database (National Outcomes Measurement System–NOMS).
- ASHA-certified SLPs provide professional services that help students express what they want to say and understand what is being said to them.
- ASHA-certified SLPs help students develop effective speaking and listening skills, which are fundamental skills necessary for success in personal, academic, and professional relationships.
- Effective speaking and listening skills ("communication skills") are the fundamental skills necessary for success in personal, academic, and professional relationships. ASHA-certified SLPs are the only professionals specifically educated and prepared to help people develop or recover effective communication skills.
- ASHA-certified SLPs have the in-depth academic preparation, clinical experience, and research-based knowledge to make them the preferred provider of swallowing treatment.
- Safe and efficient swallowing is vital to preventing pneumonia-related deaths, maintaining nutritional well-being, and preserving the pleasures associated with eating, and is essential to help students fully access the curriculum and optimize their school experience.
Promoting the Value of the Profession of Audiology
- ASHA-certified Audiologists are the professionals uniquely educated and prepared to provide services related to the prevention of hearing loss and the audiologic diagnosis, identification, assessment, and nonmedical and nonsurgical treatment of persons with impairment of auditory and vestibular function.
- ASHA-certified Audiologists are the only professionals who possess either a master's or doctoral degree from an accredited program, complete a post-master’s clinical fellowship or an externship within the post baccalaureate Doctor of Audiology program (AuD), and pass a national examination to receive their professional credential: the Certificate of Clinical Competence in Audiology from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association.
- Receiving treatment for hearing and/or balance problems by ASHA-certified Audiologists sooner rather than later will allow for a better and more successful outcome.
- ASHA-certified Audiologists provide professional services in schools that help students who are deaf or hard of hearing make the best use of their hearing and hearing technologies used to support hearing, speech-language development and academic achievement.
- ASHA-certified Audiologists help students develop effective listening skills, which are fundamental skills necessary for success in personal, academic, and professional relationships.
- ASHA-certified Audiologists have the in-depth academic and clinical preparation, professional clinical experience, and research-based knowledge to make them the preferred provider of auditory and balance rehabilitation.