What are some of the most common related services used in schools?

Page 5: Speech-Language Pathology Services

Speech-Language Pathology (SLP)Speech and language skills are essential for learning. Students with communication disorders may struggle in both academic and social environments at school. Disorders in communication might be the result of known causes, such as neurological disorders, brain injury, or intellectual disabilities. In some case, they might be the result of unknown causes. A goal of speech-language pathology services as a related service is to help students who have trouble with communication skills perform important learning and school-related activities. These students might have difficulties with tasks that involve:

  • adult with boyUnderstanding verbal directions from the teacher
  • Speaking in long sentences
  • Speaking fluently without stuttering
  • Projecting his or her voice so that others can hear
  • Putting words together in a meaningful way
  • Articulating their words
  • Sharing thoughts or ideas so that others can understand the communicative intent
  • Reading or writing (i.e., written communication)
  • Communicating appropriately in social situations
  • Hearing what others are saying

For Your Information

Though related, the terms communication, language, and speech are not synonymous.

A speech-language disorder might be the primary disability for a student, or it might be related to another disability category. For example, a student with autism may have difficulty with communication and thus require speech-language pathology services in addition to his or her special education services.

Judy Rudebusch, EdD, CCC-SLP
Division Director for Special Services
Irving Special School District, Texas
Clinical Instructor, Callier Center for Communication Disorders
University of Texas at Dallas

Listen as Judy Rudebusch explains speech-language pathology services as a disability category rather than as a related services area (time: 0:36).

View Transcript

Speech-Language Pathologists

Qualified Providers:

Most states require a speech-language pathologist (SLP) to have a minimum of a master’s degree in speech-language pathology, in addition to passing a national speech-language pathology certification exam and completing a supervised postgraduate internship. Many SLPs seek a further voluntary credential (i.e., the Certificate of Clinical Competency in Speech-Language Pathology CCC-SLP) through the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. Due to shortages in the field, some states seek to allow those with bachelor’s degrees in communicative disorders to provide SLP services through emergency and provisional certification/ licensure. Only two states allow SLPs to practice independently with a bachelor’s degree.

Roles: Speech-language pathologists work with students who have speech, language, or hearing problems that affect their communication and subsequent success in classroom activities, social interactions, literacy, and learning. Speech-language pathologists help students in academic (e.g., classroom discussions), non-academic (e.g., lunchroom interactions, understanding directions in physical education, socialization), and extracurricular (e.g., after school activities, clubs) areas.

  • Teacher at the boardWork with teacher to set up opportunities for the student to practice target speech sounds in classroom activities
  • During a shared-reading story activity or a group-time circle, increase the number of speaking turns the student has; scaffold or script responses as needed
  • Provide families with information, guidance, support, and coaching on ways to help their child with language and reading development at home
  • Work with a small group of students with language impairments on their IEP goals of vocabulary and syntax


  • Group of teachersBuild in opportunities for functional communication (e.g., requests for help such at snack time)
  • Spend lunchtime in the cafeteria with the student to help him or her develop social communicative interactions
  • Train families how to use alternative communication techniques in settings outside of school

Extra-curricular Activities

  • Teacher and student working on a laptopWork with students who are job shadowing, volunteering, and active in community projects as part of the school experience to communicate effectively in those settings
  • Assist students who are in the transition process to be prepared for the ongoing communication needs he or she may have in the next environment (e.g., career, college)
  • Collaborate with teachers who conduct after school activities (e.g., soccer, band) so the students’ needs are met across all environments

National Professional Organization: The American-Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA). For more information, please visit the ASHA Website at http://www.asha.org.

a s h a logo
Speech-Language Pathology Services in Action: A Real Life Story

Kari Bohrer is a speech-language pathologist at an elementary school. As such, she works with students with varied needs throughout the school. She provides services both in and out of the general education classroom, depending on the needs of the students and their IEP goals. Watch the videos below to see how Kari Bohrer provides speech-language pathology services.

Alex has a speech-language disorder and receives extra support within a small-group setting (time: 2:40).

View Transcript

Hannah has difficulties with the “s” sound and receives individual support (time: 3:34).

View Transcript
the SLP’s Corner
Listen as Judy Rudebusch discusses speech-language pathology services.
Judy Rudebusch, EdD, CCC-SLP
Division Director for Special Services
Irving Special School District, Texas
Clinical Instructor, Callier Center for Communication Disorders
University of Texas at Dallas
Service delivery options
(time: 1:15)
Working on a team
(time: 1:48)
Working with students who have language-learning problems
(time: 1:57)
Listen as Susan Karr discusses supporting teachers.
Susan Karr, MS, CCC-SLP
Associate Director, School Services in Speech-Language Pathology
American Speech-Language Association
Rockville, MD
Supporting teachers
(time: 1:01)

Print Friendly, PDF & Email