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U.S. Department of Education: Promoting Educational Excellence for all Americans

Speech-language pathology services (Sec. 300.34(c)(15))

Comment: One commenter stated that children who need speech therapy should have it for a full classroom period, five days a week, and not be removed from other classes to receive this related service.

Discussion: It would be inconsistent with the Act to dictate the amount and location of services for all children receiving speech-language pathology services, as recommended by the commenter. As with all related services, section 614(d)(1)(A)(i)(IV) of the Act provides that the child's IEP Team is responsible for determining the services that are needed for the child to receive FAPE. This includes determining the type of related service, as well as the amount and location of services.

Changes: None.

Comment: One commenter stated that the definition of speech-language pathology services appears to be limited to children who are deaf or hard of hearing, and recommended adding language to the regulations to allow children without expressive speech to receive such services.

Discussion: There is nothing in the Act or the regulations that would limit speech-language pathology services to children who are deaf or hard of hearing or to children without expressive speech. The definition of speech-language pathology services specifically includes services for children who have language impairments, as well as speech impairments.

Changes: None.

Comment: One commenter requested the definition of speech-language pathology services specify the qualifications and standards for speech-language professionals. Another commenter requested that the definition require a highly qualified provider to deliver speech-language services. One commenter requested that the definition require a speech-language pathologist to provide speech-language services.

Discussion: Consistent with Sec. 300.156 and section 612(a)(14) of the Act, it is up to each State to establish personnel qualifications to ensure that personnel necessary to carry out the purposes of the Act are appropriately and adequately prepared and trained and have the content knowledge and skills to serve children with disabilities. Section 300.156(b), consistent with section 614(a)(14)(B) of the Act, specifically requires that these personnel qualifications must include qualifications for related services personnel. Establishing qualifications for individuals providing speech-language services in these regulations would be inconsistent with these statutory and regulatory requirements.

Changes: None.

Comment: One commenter stated that the roles and responsibilities for speech-language pathologists in schools have been expanded to help all children gain language and literacy skills and recommended that the definition of speech-language pathology services be revised to include consultation and collaboration with other staff members to plan and implement special intervention monitoring programs and modify classroom instruction to assist children in achieving academic success. The commenter also recommended including services for other health impairments, such as dysphagia, in the definition of speech-language pathology services.

Discussion: The Act provides for speech-language pathology services for children with disabilities. It does not include speech-language pathology services to enable all children to gain language and literacy skills, as suggested by the commenter. It would, therefore, be inconsistent with the Act to change the definition of speech-language pathology services in the manner recommended by the commenter. We believe that the definition is sufficiently broad to include services for other health impairments, such as dysphagia, and therefore, decline to revise the definition to include this specific service.

Changes: None.