This advice-column-style blog for SLPs was authored by Pam Marshalla from 2006 to 2015, the archives of which can be explored here. Use the extensive keywords list found in the right-hand column (on mobile: at the bottom of the page) to browse specific topics, or use the search feature to locate specific words or phrases throughout the entire blog.
Cutting Artic from School Therapy
By Pam Marshalla
Q: I am helping with policy development in my district and we’re facing significant budget cuts. We have to cut mild artic kids from the caseload. Do you have any advice about this?
I am wondering if they are considering cutting services for very low functioning kids too.
Kids with very low communication skills tend to be seen quite often these days, often 2-3 times per week. On the other hand, high-functioning artic kids are being seen less and less and even being cut.
This does not make sense to me; children who are very low-functioning actually do not change so fast that they need to be seen that often. They could be served by less direct therapy and more general consult.
Kids with mild artic problems are the ones we actually can fix. Why don’t we see them more?
I do not understand why the parents of high-functioning kids are not screaming about this.
I realize that my opinion goes against the grain of everything that is going on today. I think we have everything upside-down.
7 thoughts on “Cutting Artic from School Therapy”
Thanks very much for putting this out there, Pam…I am seeing the push for exactly this sort of thing in districts that are facing budget nightmares and higher-caseloads-than-manageable, and I agree with your point that as a whole, we may be getting it all backwards.
Unfortunately, I think what parents and administrators hear when this is brought up for discussion – at least initially – is that we are saying that the lower-functioning kids aren’t going to make as much progress so they don’t need as much therapy. That is not what is being suggested, nor is cutting their therapy, but I think the immediate response is defensive.
It’s up to us to bring up and maintain the conversation to continue lower-functioning services and continuity of course, but also gather the long-term data that shows their progress trends given more frequent sessions vs. fewer/shorter but consistent sessions and then do the same thing for those articulation students that have less and those that are hit hard and heavy with shorter/more frequent/less “large group” scenarios (and hopefully higher dismissal rates) .
This could be some interesting data. A good conversation.
You are right on point. Don’t back down!!
I will be cutting my second grade speech improvement program next year due to an SLP being cut in my building two years ago. I just can’t do it anymore by myself. While I know I can fix mild articulation problems if I saw those students more often, they don’t have IEPs and aren’t mandated to be seen. Minor articulation problems don’t negatively impact the stuudent’s education whereas low functioning students issues impact their education. Parents are going to be directed to using private SLPs to get therapy for speech impediments. I am sure their will be complaints, but no one spoke up when my colleague’s position was cut.
This is so unfair. Most people don’t know this anymore, but the very reason SLPs are in the schools in the first place is because Charlie Van Riper and his generation fought for us to be in there. The reasoning at the time was that only the children of wealthy people could receive private speech services. We were brought into the schools in order to give all children an equal opportunity to develop good speech to improve their station in life. Now we are resorting to the days of elocution when only the rich could afford private speech tutoring. Sad.
I agree wholeheartedly and appreciate you putting this out there Pam as well as the other commenters’ input. Thank You.
When I read what Pam has to say I think “reality is finally speaking”!! Let’s think about ALL children. Those with mild problems have a chance to have NO problems. Why is this not a priority?!! Van Riper was right to get us in to give a child a chance to be without speech limitations. I agree. Tell parents to fight for free speech!!