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Our last post reviewed some of the best resources the APTA Academy of Pediatric Physical Therapy provides for school-based practice. These are all publically available via this link. Speech Language Pathologists, you are up!! This post will outline the most relevant resources provided by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA).

Utilizing resources provided by our professional associations is a great way to base your practice in evidence and current research. We have highlighted our Top 10 from many, excellent ASHA resources. While the Special Interest Group (SIG) 16 is devoted to School-based Issues; there are other SIGs that may have key information that applies to school-based practice (e.g., SIG 1-Language Learning & Education, SIG 2-Neurophysiology & Neurogenic Speech & Language Disorders, SIG 12-Augmentative & Alternative Communication, among many, many others). It is worth your time to explore the ASHA website, even if you are not an SLP. We know how smart, prepared and thorough our SLP colleagues are! Let’s take advantage of excellent their work…check out Perspectives from each SIG which provides targeted information in easily-accessible articles. The ASHA Leader has long been a fantastic, reliable news magazine and a blog is also offered. The CREd Library offers a topically organized reference list of articles and relevant research. Although these topics are rather broad, they can provide a good starting point to bolster our practices with research. ASHA offers Professional Practice Issues, Professional Issues and Clinical Topics. The Professional Practice Issues are the closest equivalent of APPT Fact Sheets.

OT, PT and other non-SLP SeekFreaks will also find the following ASHA resources most interesting: Cultural Competence (including a self-assessments and checklist which we highly recommend all SeekFreaks should take); Universal Design in Learning (including this nice PowerPoint about how to make the curriculum accessible); and Caseload and Workload in Schools, which may help you implement and advocate for a workload analysis approach to setting caseloads. .

Note that the overview of each is very brief, less than 1-2 pages. It does not take much time to read them and they offer a great jumping off point for thinking more deeply about our practice. But don’t stop there, the best part of these Professional Issues is that each has links for Key Issues, Resources and References that dive deeper and/or more broadly into aspects of each Issue. Make sure you read the Key Issues for each Professional Issue and check out the Resources associated. The Professional Practice Issues are on point and targeted for practice or setting specific information. Here is a link to collected resources for school-based practice. ASHA is very well resourced, you can spend a whole afternoon just exploring what is available!

1. Roles and Responsibilities of Speech-Language Pathologists in Schools

  • This issue has links to the various statements and tools (e.g. Position Statement, Do’s and Don’ts for the Role of the SLP in Schools) that discuss the role of speech-language pathologists schools, a PowerPoint and poster presentation to use to present information to school groups and other professionals. There is even a Reflection Tool for self-evaluation of school-based SLPs.
  • Here is the one page summary for the ASHA Position Statement- Position Statement: Roles and Responsibilities of SLPsin the Schools

2. School FAQ

  • This link takes you to many resources that unpack school-based practice. The major headings are:
  • Roles of SLP & SLPA
  • Caseload/Workload, Service Delivery and Work Setting
    • Eligibility and Dismissal Criteria
    • Medicaid, Private Practice and Independent Contracting
    • IDEA, IEPs and Federal/State Laws
    • Assessment
  • MANY practical, helpful documents here, including PDFs of presentations ready for SLPs to use!

3. Response to Intervention (Rtl) and Universal Design for Learning

  • Response to Intervention? SLPs are heavily involved in this! This collection of resources defines RtI, describes it in various settings, links to resources and organization and an FAQ.

4. Caseload and Workload for the SLP in Schools

  • Warning: there is no simple answer to remedy workload/caseload issues…however, this excellent resource distinguishes between workload and caseload approaches to staffing, identifies important considerations and clarifies many confounding issues to tackle when addressing work assignment.
  • There is a step-by-step procedure available to Conduct a Workload Analysis
  • National survey information is provided ASHA 2014 Schools Survey and Advocacy Steps to follow to promote a workload approach.
  • It even outlines potential impacts of large caseload with helpful references cited.

5. Documentation in the Schools

  • No one gets into practice because s/he loves documentation. However, documentation is a critical aspect of our (and any!) practice.
  • There is a Professional Practice Issues that outline documentation principles, components of documentation, record retention, a FAQ and legal/ethical issues
  • This covers IEPs, Medicaid, RtI/MTSS, Multidisciplinary evaluation, etc.

6. Transitioning Youth

  • Not THAT kind of transitioning…transitioning from school to community! Do you work with students in middle and high school? If yes, then it is time to focus on transitions. What would they be doing after graduation? Has the team thought out the best scenario for these students? Then it is time to put things in place to make this happen.
  • This link describes transition planning, transition goals, services and relevant laws.
  • It also provides links to helpful resources.

7. Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC)

  • Often, the SLP is the go-to person identified by teams seeking devices to support communication. This link will take you to all the resources associated with this critical but less familiar area of AAC.
  • These documents outline the roles and responsibilities of SLPs with respect to AAC (both a Position Statement and a Technical Report) as well as a document that outlines the Knowledge and skills for service delivery associated with AAC.

8. Cultural Competence

  • This is a critical skill for any school-based therapist’s practice! ASHA has collected some amazing tools and resources. Although it is #8, this should be #1 on the reading list for all SeekFreaks!!
  • This collection contains: Self-assessment for cultural competence, working with culturally and linguistic diversity and links to national centers devoted to this issue.

9. PACE-Performance Assessment of Contributions & Effectiveness of SLPs

  • This complete resource for evaluating school-based SLPs includes:
    • PACE Matrix
    • Step-by-step Guide
    • Self-reflection Tool
    • Classroom Teacher Checklist
    • Parent Checklist
    • Student Checklist
    • Observation Form
    • Description- Role of the Evaluator

10. Client and Patient Handouts  &  Resource Portal – en Español!

  • ASHA offers a variety of client education brochures, resources and tools to understand specific issues and diagnoses. Start with SLPs in Your Child’s School.
  • Do you have a family or parent most comfortable communicating in Español who is seeking information about Communication? This portal offers all resources with a question prompt all in Spanish.

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There are so many more informative resources throughout the ASHA website, including a listing with specific clinical disorder information. We limited ourselves to 10 so as not to overwhelm. But SeekFreaks don’t know when to stop! So we took it 1 step further and created bundles of resources – a basic toolbox, if you will, depending on your role, your audience and your needs.

4 Bundles of APPT Fact Sheets to Suit Your Particular Needs

Bundle #1: Handouts for SLPs new to school-based practice and SLP students

This bundle would be perfect for clinical instructors to hand out out to their SLP students. It is also ideal for new SLPs, and seasoned SLPs who are new to school-based practice.

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Bundle #2: Handouts for Parents/Guardians/Families

As the name implies, this bundle is for families. Don’t overwhelm them by handing these out at once. Select only what’s right for your purpose, and make sure you follow up, answer questions, clarify and discuss the contents of the fact sheet with the family. Finally, don’t forget to check with your school and/or school district to see if it’s ok to hand these out.

  • Roles and Responsibilities of Speech-Language Pathologists in Schools
    • The right resource for parents who are unfamiliar with SLPs/SLPAs, their services and responsibilities. You may want to compile some of this information versus simply handing out this resource.
  • Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC)This Professional Practice Issue provides basic information about augmentative and alternative communication systems and devices as well as the expertise required to appropriately assess for AAC and provide ACC services to promote independent communication
  • Transitioning Youth
    • This can be helpful to begin discussions with families about how critical transition planning is and potential services, assessments and centers for transition that could assist
  • Resource Portal- en Español!
    • A must have for your families and parents that are most comfortable communicating in Spanish

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Bundle #3: For In-service Training for School Staff and Community Providers

Asked to conduct an in-service to your school team, here are some topics to choose from. It also saves you from having to create your own handout. These fact sheets can also be used to provide key information to those who may be unfamiliar with school-based practice such as physicians, clinic-based therapists, transition case managers, or other community providers.

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Bundle #4: Discussion Topics for Therapist Meetings

These are great topics to discuss at your school district’s therapist meetings. Don’t avoid difficult topics or issues that are tough to resolve. Try to engage all participants, promote a rousing exchange, and wrap up with your own list of answers and guidance.

  • Response to Intervention (Rtl) and Universal Design for Learning
    • How is RtI implemented in your own school?
    • What is the expectation for SLP participation? How does your school team monitor the student’s progress in RtI?
    • What are the challenges for SLPs participating in RtI?
    • What interventions are most commonly provided to teachers and teacher aides in the RtI process? Can a webinar or resource be developed?
    • How can SLP expertise be shared in UDL and/or resources to promote communication and language rich educational environments?  
  • Caseload and Workload for the SLP in Schools
    • Download the  ASHA 2014 Schools Survey and compare with your individual and district-wide data. What is close to the norm? Where does your or your district data vary from the national data most?
    • Conduct a workload assessment and compare within your group. What trends or patterns can you identify?
    • Review the advocacy suggestions for the workload approach. Discuss if the time is right to request it or lobby your administration to consider it. Develop a task force and create an advocacy plan.
  • Cultural Competence
    • Share your culture with a small group. What makes your culture unique? What are stereotypes you have heard about a given culture?
    • What brings stereotypes to mind? What populations or groups of people do you have difficulty relating to? Share strategies to promote empathy and build relationship. Wrap up with individual (private) goals to employ specific strategies. Consider establishing accountability partnerships.
    • Read: Working with Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CLD) Students in Schools and discuss the suggested strategies. What is most difficult in your school or district?
    • Take the self-assessment and discuss any insights and/or surprises.
  • PACE-Performance Assessment of Contributions & Effectiveness of SLPs
    • If your school district requires performance appraisals for SLPs, discuss this template for assessing our work at your next meeting.
    • If an appraisal is being developed, it would benefit your group to be proactive, reaching out to administrators on how they can effectively appraise you. Let’s help our supervisors capture our contributions to the students’ education, communication and success.

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Readers of this article also read:

Summer Reading List for New School-based OTs, PTs and SLPs

50 Alternatives to “Good Job!”

Late Summer Reading List for Seasoned School-based OTs, PTs and SLPs

OTs, PTs & SLPs in Schools…How Did We Get Here?

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