Eligibility and Exit Guidelines for Speech and Language Services

  • Introduction
    The following criteria have been established by the Speech-Language Pathologists of North Shore School District 112 for use with students from preschool to junior high.  These guidelines will be used by a child’s educational team when determining eligibility for speech-language services, severity rating, and readiness for dismissal.

     

    Click here to view a full list of the Speech and Language Service Guidelines


    Eligibility for Speech-Language Services
    Under IDEA, a “speech or language impairment” is defined as “a communication disorder, such as stuttering, impaired articulation, a language impairment, or a voice impairment that adversely affects a child’s educational performance” (34 CFR § 300.26, emphasis added)
     
    If the child demonstrates a speech or language impairment that does not adversely impact educational performance, the child should not be found eligible under speech-language impairment.
     
    Exit Criteria
    Consideration for dismissal must be based on one or more of the following criteria:

    • Student has met all target speech/language goals or benchmarks.  No further services warranted,
    • Student demonstrates use of compensatory skills or strategies that are functional in the deficit area(s),
    • Extenuating circumstances such as medical, dental, social, etc., warrant discontinuation of services temporarily or permanently,
    • The student’s skills are appropriate for physical and/or mental age/cognitive level of functioning,
    • Intervention no longer results in measurable benefit, despite documented use of a variety of appropriate approaches and/or strategies,
    • Student is unwilling or unmotivated to participate in therapy, despite documented use of a variety of appropriate approaches and/or strategies,
    • The disorder no longer has an adverse effect* on the student’s educational performance (academic, social, vocational). 


    Speech-Language Dismissal Procedures
    North Shore School District 112
     


    When is a student no longer eligible for speech-language services?

    • The American Speech-Language Hearing Association (ASHA) provides the following guidelines for dismissal[1]:
    • The student no longer has a speech-language impairment; OR
    • The student may still have a speech-language impairment, but it no longer impacts his/her academic/functional performance;
    • The student has received speech-language services as special education and still has a speech-language impairment that impacts academic performance, but the eligibility team has determined that he/she does not need special education services;
    • The student has received speech-language services as special education and still has a speech-language impairment that impacts academic performance, but the eligibility team has determined that he/she does not need the related service to continue to benefit from special education;
    • The student has plateaued in his/her progress.  The speech pathologist may continue to serve as a consultant to the educational team, but the student may be dismissed due to lack of educational benefit;
    • The student is not motivated to continue working on the communication impairment.
    • Each eligibility decision must be made on an individual basis by the team, considering all relevant factors for the particular student


    What steps should be taken when determining dismissal?
     
    ASHA provides the following guidelines[2]:

    • Determine if the student’s communication disorder is adversely impacting academic achievement and/or functional performance;
    • Dismiss the student from speech-language services once the criteria for eligibility are no longer met.
    • “A student is eligible for speech-language pathology services through IDEA 2004 when she or he exhibits a speech or language impairment that has an adverse impact on educational performance to the degree that specially designed instruction or related services and supports are necessary for the student to make progress in the general educational curriculum.”


    Examples
     


    Examples of academic impact:

    • Student’s disability impacts completion of academic tasks,
    • Articulation or syntactic errors are evident in writing/spelling,
    • Difficulty learning and applying vocabulary or other language concepts to academic tasks


    Examples of functional impact:

    • Student is unwilling to communicate in a variety of situations,
    • Student is unwilling/unable to participate in class appropriately,
    • Student is less than 80% intelligible to peers and adults,
    • Student is unable to follow directions in class due to auditory memory or receptive language difficulties (not attentional/behavioral)

    Student expresses/demonstrates embarrassment when talking (low volume, hand covers mouth, verbal expression of discomfort)

     


    [1] ASHA (1997-2009), Dismissal Criteria, retrieved on 12/01/09 from http://www.asha.org/slp/schools/IDEACaseload/dismissal.htm
    [2] ASHA (1997-2009), Eligibility decisions and dismissal versus continued eligibility, retrieved on 12/01/09 from http://www.asha.org/slp/schools/prof-consult/EligibilityExcerpt.htm