SEACDC ASHA 2015 Presentation

Solution-Driven State Leadership
for Schools: Top 5 Issues of 2015
Panelists: Shannon Hall-Mills, Perry Flynn, Marie Ireland, LaShawn
Thomas-Brdiges, & Sheryl Thormann
Members of the State Education Agencies Communication
Disabilities Council (SEACDC)
ASHA Convention 2015, Denver, Colorado
Disclaimer Slide
The presenters have no relevant financial relationship(s) within the products
or services described, reviewed, evaluated or compared in this presentation.
The presenters have one nonfinancial relationship to disclose as members of
the SEACDC. Perry Flynn serves on the ASHA BOD.
Purpose of this presentation
• Using a problem-solution formula, state education leaders from multiple
states present a summary of five major issues facing school-based services
and share how they are tackling these key issues on behalf of professionals
in the schools.
• Members of the State Education Agencies Communication Disabilities
Council (SEACDC) will facilitate the presentation.
Participants will be able to:
1. Explain current practice issues facing personnel in school
2. Describe solutions for key practice issues that involve
stakeholders at multiple levels (school, district, and state level
3. Network and problem-solve with other professionals.
SEACDC – Who we are
• Consultants working to support speech-language and hearing professionals in
schools since ~1939
• Members from across the USA
• Share information and network to improve services
• Collaborate with ASHA to address needs in school settings
• Website provides links to regulations and guidance
Today’s Focus: 5 Key Issues
• Role of School SLPS in RTI/MTSS
• EBP for Assessment, Identification & Disproportionate Representation
• Title II of ADA guidance vs. IDEA & the IEP process
• Mismatch of models: workload/caseload, educational vs. medical
• Compliance topics
Key Issue #1: Role of School SLPS
Role of School SLPS in MTSS
• There is a growing trend nationally for SLPs working within the public
education system to be involved in activities related to a Multi-Tiered System
of Support (MTSS).
• The SLP’s role in RTI is noted within ASHA’s Professional Issues Statement
regarding the Roles and Responsibilities of SLPs in Schools (ASHA, 2010).
• ASHA members have reported their RTI involvement to include screenings,
consultation, direct services within general education, and provision of
strategies to classroom teachers (ASHA, 2014a).
Role of School SLPS in MTSS - Challenges
Variance in guidance for SLPs, workload and workload funding concerns
(Dixon, 2013; Rudebusch & Wiechmann, 2011)
Scheduling difficulties (Rudebusch & Wiechmann, 2013)
Use of IDEA’s 15% funding for Coordinated Early Intervening Services
(CEIS) to support various aspects of RTI
Recognizing the value of the SLP as an integral part of the whole in the
school context
Role of School SLPS in MTSS –
A View Across States
Key Issue #2: Evidence-Based
Practices in Assessment &
Disproportionate Representation
EBP & Disproportionate Representation
• Nationally, there continues to be under or over identification of children
from cultural and/or linguistic minorities in groups of children identified
with disabilities.
• State education agencies must gather and examine such data (per IDEA 20
U.S.C. 1418(d) and 34 CFR §300.646) and work with the local education
agencies that have been identified as struggling with disproportionality.
EBP & Disproportionate Representation
• In fact, IDEA requires states and local education systems to take steps to
address disproportionality (USDOE, 2015; IDEA reference 20 U.S.C.
1416(a)(3)(C); 34 CFR §300.600(d)(3).).
• Many disability categories (e.g., ASD, IND, EBD, SLD, SLI) have been
subject to over/under identification of children from aggregate groups.
EBP & Disproportionate Representation
• When we pair the national
trends in disproportionate
representation with the most
frequently reported areas of
assessment and intervention
provided by SLPs (ASHA,
2014c), clearer patterns of need
emerge for professional
development and technical
• Speech sound disorders (articulation &
• Nonverbal & functional communication, AAC
• Language disorders:
Pragmatics & social communication
EBP & Disproportionate Representation
Guidance is offered in multiple states to provide suggestions for what SLPs
can do to help address this issue, including:
• Dialectal and linguistic variation considerations in assessment,
instruction, and treatment
• Low SES & poverty factors in assessing risk for LI and related disabilities
• Informing evidence based decision making processes in your
school/school system
Diagnostic Accuracy
The diagnostic accuracy of distinguishing a language difference
from language impairment is substantially increased when
LSA is used in conjunction with standardized testing
(Horton-Ikard, 2010).
Dynamic Assessment
Student Effort
Examine Learning Potential and Outcomes
Student Performance
• (choose NC)
• Dynamic assessment
• Videos
• Sample reports
• School age language cards
• Grammar Fundamentals
• Assessment for ELLs
Key Issue #3: Title II of ADA
guidance in contrast with IDEA’s
IEP process
Title II of ADA guidance in contrast with
IDEA’s IEP process
• In November, 2014, the US Departments of Education and Justice issued a Dear
Colleague Letter (DCL) with an associated FAQ document to “explain the
responsibility of public schools to ensure that communication with students with
hearing, vision, or speech disabilities is as effective as communication with all other
students” (USDOJ & USDOE, 2014, p.1), addressing the relationship of two
different federal regulations (IDEA and Title II of ADA).
• In general terms, the nature of the guidance in the DCL has raised concerns due to
conflicts in how Title II is interpreted in contrast to the IEP team process that is
delineated in IDEA.
Title II of ADA guidance in contrast with
IDEA’s IEP process
• Constituent groups, including ASHA, have responded formally (NASB,
March 5, 2015).
• ASHA met with representatives of USDOE, DOJ, etc. in October, 2015 to
convey concerns.
• An ASHA survey revealed the guidance documents were not widely
distributed/known to members.
Effective Communication FAQ
Federal Guidance from DOJ and DOE
Dear Colleague Letter
Released Nov. 2014
Dept. of Justice and Dept. of Education
FAQ (30 pgs.) covers multiple questions
Parent Fact sheet also available
Effective Communication is a civil right for those with hearing,
vision, or speech disabilities
Effective Communication
When determining what is appropriate for that student, the school
must provide an opportunity for the person with the disability (or an
appropriate family member, such as a parent or guardian) to request
the aid or service the student with a disability thinks is needed to
provide effective communication.
Next Steps
Read the Letter and FAQ
Participate in ASHA’s upcoming webinar
ASHA Schools Conference session (July 2016)
Increase awareness for SLPs serving those with complex
communication needs and strengthen assessment and
report writing
ASHAs Response
IDEA Process
Use of EBP
Expectations, UDL, and current supports in schools
Communication with key constituent groups
Recommendations provided
More to read
More to read
Key Issue #4: Mismatch of Models:
Educational vs. Medical
Mismatch of Models
• Based on the caseload characteristics trends report (ASHA, 2014a) and confirmed
through our work with SLPs in our states, it is clear that workload is a substantial
challenge for many people in the field.
• ASHA supports a workload model in the schools, yet 80% of survey respondents
indicated their school system continues to use a caseload approach to determine the
number of students a clinician serves (ASHA, 2014c).
• There are grassroots efforts underway in many local school systems to pursue a
workload approach, and some states have taken strides in providing guidance
documents or position statements in support of the workload approach.
Mismatch of Models
• In 2015, a few states began drafting legislative language for a workload approach.
• Consistently using a caseload model for staff and resource allocation reflects
remnants of traditional funding models that are based on the medical model (serving
only those with identified speech/language impairment and only in direct IEP
service time or therapy time).
• Ohio-In July 2014, ODE adopted language to ensure districts utilize a two-prong
approach looking at workload first and then caseload. A guidance document is in
development to support districts’ use of workload & caseload prongs. The Ohio
licensing board is attempting to work with ODE.
Resources from States
• There are many challenges in moving a state education system from a
caseload to a workload approach.
• States have engaged in collaborative problem-solving.
• Some states have existing guidance that addresses the differentiation between
educational and medical models for assessment, diagnosis, eligibility, and
• Ohio
• North Carolina
• Virginia
Medical vs. Educational Models
• Guidance from a few states
• LRE and where children are
served tied to educational
• Ability to excel in general
education curriculum
Key Issue #5: Compliance Topics
When you’ve seen one state ~ you’ve seen
one state
Professionals must be aware of differences and
follow state and local requirements to remain
in compliance.
Compliance Topics
• In the school setting there are many federal, state, and local regulations
that apply to our work.
• School administrators are concerned with their school or district
compliance with the stated regulations.
• We know that compliance issues are probably at the top of most SEA
SLP’s radars, but might be less so for the average school level clinician.
Compliance Topics
• However, compliance issues can cause headaches for the school level
professional and his or her colleagues, so it is a good strategy to know
where to go for key information when something pops up.
• With the range of issues facing school-based SLPs and AUDs, it is
important for professionals to be aware of the current issues across the
education system and to know the resources available via state education
liaisons to address these concerns each year.
Compliance Topics
Checking Your Knowledge
• ASHA (2010). Roles and responsibilities of speech-language pathologists in schools
[Professional Issues Statement]. Available from
ASHA (2014a). 2014 Schools Survey, Caseload Characteristics Trends. Rockville: Author.
ASHA (2014b). 2014 Schools Survey, Educational Audiologists. Rockville: Author.
ASHA (2014c). 2014 Schools Survey, Speech-language Pathologists. Rockville: Author.
Dixon, D. (December, 2013). School matters: Response to intervention; Turning a
challenge into an opportunity. ASHA Leader, 18, 30-31.
• National School Boards Association (March 5, 2015). Letter of response to US
Department of Education. Retrieved from
• Rudebusch, J., & Wiechmann, J. (August, 2011). How to fit response to intervention
into a heavy workload. ASHA Leader.
• Rudebusch, J., & Wiechmann, J. (August, 2013). Time block after time block. ASHA
Leader, 18, 40-45.
• USDOE (2015). Building the legacy: IDEA 2004. Retrieved from