What are speech-language therapy services in an IEP?

Parent Question
Jun. 3, 2022Updated Jun. 3, 2022

Speech-language pathology is the treatment of oral motor disorders, difficulties with fluency, speech sounds related to apraxia or dysarthria, communication issues, and more. The IDEA describes speech-language pathology (SLP) services as including the identification and diagnosis of students with speech and language conditions, referrals to specialists, and the provision of therapy services, including counseling and guidance for parents.

In school environments, SLP therapists focus on social pragmatics (communication within social settings), expressive language (how a student communicates their needs and wants), receptive language (how a student understands the language they hear), articulation (how a student pronunciates their sounds), fluency (rate of speech), supporting any disfluencies a child may have (such as stuttering), and volume control. Speech and language services are often conducted both in individual sessions and in a group with similar-age peers.

While augmentative and alternative communication training, devices, and programs are not explicitly mentioned as a related service under IDEA, they are required. According to Wrightslaw, “Public schools are responsible for ensuring that communication with students who have hearing, vision, or speech disabilities is as effective as communication with all other students. . . . This could mean that in some cases, as well as a program spelled out in a child’s IEP, the school may have to provide auxiliary aids or services under Title II that are not required under IDEA.”

For more information, see our article about related services in an IEP.

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