Tech Ninja is glad to have Guest Blogger: Ashley Robinson once again!
I have a question for all the school based related service providers and assistive technology professionals: Have you ever struggled to explain your role in a student's education to a parent or teacher? As a speech-language pathologist at a middle and high school, I see many students who have received speech-language as a related service since preschool. In many cases I wonder if the role of the related service professional has been explained to the team. So, I came up with my own explanation.
The IEP is the bridge to the curriculum. It should address the skills that the student needs so that he can follow the Common Core. For example, there is a sixth grade boy who struggles with written expression. Instead of writing a goal that states “Boy will write on grade level,” think about what is keeping this student from writing on grade level. Perhaps this student is not using complex sentences or is using ambiguous pronoun references.
In my experience though, most students have a disability (think ADHD or specific learning disability) and language disorders (or sensory issues, or assistive tech issues....) are a part of that disability and require related service support to access the IEP. (Fig. 3) The bridge cannot be built straight across - there needs to be a ramp.
Because I'm an SLP, I am going to use speech-language services as my example; however, this analogy applies to OT, PT, and Assistive Technology (at least with the model we work under in my school system).
Once the team determines that speech-language services are needed to address a goal (stay tuned for a future post on this), then the question is – what is the role of the SLP as a related service support provider? Here's what I think:
Goals should address the needs of the student, and with each year the student will (hopefully) close the gap until he is working on the curriculum (YAY!!!). Some students will never have a bridge that stretches all of the way across; however, it is important that goals are systematic and are bringing that student as far as possible each year.
I'm curious to know what you think. How do you see the role of the related service professional in the school? Feel free to contact me with your thoughts and questions!
Ashley Robinson – MS CCC-SLP and AT professional