Middle School students whose articulation skills have plateaued?

by Zelda

I am a school-based SLP and I was recently reassigned to a Middle School population. Some students in my caseload have been going to speech therapy since preschool years when they had multiple articulation errors that made their speech unintelligible.

At this point in time, they have made tremendous progress, yet are no longer making gains despite still having lingering issues (for example vowelized Rs and lateral distortions).

Most of these students are absolutely "done" with leaving the room for speech therapy and recognize that their speech progress has plateaued. My school district has set guidelines for service delivery that limit Speech Language identification to only the most severe language issues. It has been my job to enforce these guidelines and "cut loose" many of these students who do not fit the eligibility criteria.

Some parents have made peace with their children's "imperfect speech" patterns. They prepare themselves for outsider's questions regarding their child's "accent". They can choose to recognize what overwhelming progress their sons/daughters have made. Yet others feel it's still the realm of the school-based SLP to continue supplying service.

I have taken the opportunity to offer parents contact information for local SLPs in private practice should they decide that their child continue. Do others have advice on counseling parents when it's time to "Cut the chord" with their school-based SLP?

Thank you!

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Nov 27, 2017
by: Julie

I, also, work with middle schoolers. The way I explain it to parents is that there are 3 parts of qualification in the school setting. I have to ask myself these 3 questions with every student I serve: 1.) Is there a disability, 2.) Is there an adverse effect on education, 3.) Does student require specially designed instruction? Often times there is a disability, but students do not meet the #2/3 qualification with articulation problems at this point. To me, this is what separates school based services from private services. Hope this helps!

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