Role of the Speech and Language Pathologist
Speech/language pathologists are professionally trained to screen, identify, assess, diagnose, refer, and provide intervention for students who are at risk for articulation, fluency, voice, language, communication, swallowing, and related disabilities. In addition to engaging in activities to reduce or prevent communication disabilities, speech/language pathologists also counsel families, caregivers, and other professionals about these disorders and their management.
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) includes, speech/language pathology as a related service and as special education. As related services, speech/language pathology is recognized as "developmental, corrective, and other supportive services...as are required to assist a child with a disability to benefit from special education...and includes the early identification and assessment of disabling conditions in children" (Section 602 IDEA Amendments of 1997).
According to IDEA, speech/language pathology includes:
- Identification of children with speech or language impairments
- Diagnosis and appraisal of specific speech or language impairments
- Referral for medical or other professional attention necessary for the habilitation of speech or language impairments
- Provisions of speech and language services for the habilitation or prevention of communication impairments
- Counseling and guidance for parents, children, and teachers regarding speech and language impairments