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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.

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


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.

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