If you are an audiologist or SLP working in a school, you probably already collaborate with colleagues and with students’ families on individualized education program (IEP) teams. School-based practitioners also use a variety of terms to describe interprofessional collaborations, such as collaborative teaching, cross disciplinary teaching or learning, integrated learning, or teaming or team teaching. The IPP approach takes the collaboration educators are familiar with a step further.
The need for IPP in schools is driven by an increasing demand for accountability. For example, recent legislation, such as the 2015 Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), Response to Intervention (RTI) or other forms of Multi-tiered systems of support (MTSS) works best when professionals with diverse experience and expertise work together to develop and provide supports and services to struggling students. Achieving state standards (either Common Core or standards specific to your state) also is best achieved when all education professionals working with a student integrate their services. The IPP framework ensures this happens.
Not having interprofessional teams in schools can impact students’ ability to meet their IEP and academic goals. For example, students with communication disorders benefit from learning opportunities that capitalize on their interests and strengths. For example, in this case study about a boy with stuttering, an interprofessional team—composed of a classroom teacher, SLPs, a psychologist, parents, and the band instructor—each contributed their knowledge of the student in different settings to create a plan that took advantage of the boy’s interest in band.
To learn more about IPP in schools, read about the benefits and see the following case studies.
In this case study, a team of education professionals collaborated across specialties to help a 7½-year-old boy with cerebral palsy improve his communication skills. By bringing in expertise from a local university’s speech and hearing center, the team was able to address the student’s educational needs through his IEP.
In this case study, a team of professionals collaborated with the parents of a 10-year-old boy struggling with moderate–severe stuttering. Through a mix of group therapy, individual therapy, and family counseling services, the team helped the boy and his family successfully manage his stuttering and experience better communication.
This case study features a sixth-grade student recently diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder who recently moved back to the United States. An interprofessional team at the boy’s school created a plan focused on helping him improve his communication with others. With that main goal in mind, each team member set their own objectives for him to address over the course of the school year. After 1 year, the student is now speaking and interacting more fully in the classroom.