Parents and teachers can refer a student for speech. Referrals can be made at any time during the year. Initially, there is a parent-teacher conference regarding the speech concern and an action plan is developed. Next, there is a collaborative conference involving the speech-language pathologist, at which point, the student is referred to the MTSS Team.
Once the referral is made, there are several steps in completing the process. MTSS reviews all previously collected data and completes all necessary paperwork. If the team determines from the data that there is a speech concern, they will refer the student for an evaluation.
If permission is granted, the student will be given a battery of speech-language tests to determine eligibility for speech-language services. A meeting will be held to discuss evaluation results and a placement decision is made. If the child is placed in the program, an Individualized Education Program (IEP) is established with speech goals written to meet the student's individual needs. The IEP is reviewed at least on an annual basis.
There are many factors to consider when deciding eligibility for placement in the speech-language program. We are required to follow both Federal Guidelines and North Carolina State Policies which govern programs and services for children with disabilities. We also take into account the student's age, skill level, and the way the student's speech and/or language problems impact communication in the classroom, in social settings, and at home. The primary role of the speech pathologist is to enable the student to communicate effectively in all settings.