Assessment and Teaming

Establishing Teams

Teams work cooperatively to provide discipline-specific and cross-disciplinary assessment and intervention in the delivery of communication services and supports. Teams discuss their findings and activities to seek consensus and to develop goals and plans. A variety of team structures exist that provide different levels of collaborative functioning. Professionals today may receive training to work with others (e.g., interprofessional education; IPE). IPE can lead to interprofessional collaborative practice (IPP).

The team typically includes, at a minimum, the individual with severe communication disabilities, a family member or guardian, a speech-language pathologist (SLP) and other stakeholders. Stakeholders may include but are not limited to, an occupational therapist, physical therapist, general education and/or special education teacher, direct care staff, employer/job coach, psychologist, and social worker. Professionals should be guided by the scopes of practice for their respective professions, licensure and certification requirements, and the evidence base. A team may seek outside consultation when its members are divided about an intervention approach or the team recognizes it doesn't have the requisite expertise represented within the group.

Bottom Line: 

Ideally, clinical decisions are based on the recommendations of a team. The key is having team members who have significant knowledge about communication and language development, disorders, and evidence-based assessment and intervention practices.


The National Joint Committee for the Communication Needs of Persons with Severe Disabilities (NJC).website has a list of topics area, guidance documents, and contact information for the professional organizations represented on the committee. 

Clinical Forum: Interprofessional Collaborative Practices in Service Delivery For Individuals With Severe Disabilities.  A special issue of the American Journal for Speech Language Pathology, May, 2017, Volume 26

Hill, K., & Corsi, V. (2012). Role of speech-language pathologists in assistive technology assessments. In Assistive technology assessment handbook (Vol. 1, pp. 301-311). Boca Raton, FL: Taylor & Francis.

Snell, M. E., & Janney, R. E. (2005). Practices for inclusive schools: Collaborative teaming (2nd ed.). Baltimore, MD: Brookes.


Return to the National Joint Committee for the Communication Needs of Persons With Severe Disabilities (NJC) topic areas list.

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