SpeechPathology.com Phone: 800-242-5183

Therapy Source Career Center - June 2019

What About Behavior? Considerations for School Speech-Language Pathologists

What About Behavior? Considerations for School Speech-Language Pathologists
Joyce Olson, Joyce Olson, Chippewa Falls
August 20, 2007


Addressing the behavioral needs of children was reinforced as a priority in the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act. Speech-language pathologists (SLPs) have a role to play in addressing the behavior and social skill deficits of children with IEPs, and also of children who are not in special education but are receiving early intervening services. However, during this author's presentations on the topic of effective social skill intervention in a number of school districts and states, SLPs in the audience expressed the opinion that the area of behavior is outside their scope of practice. They expressed frustration with the suggestion of adding this area to their already overburdened caseloads. The purpose of this article, therefore, is to establish the rationale for SLPs to be involved in behavioral and social skill intervention and to explain how they can find manageable ways to fulfill this role.

This article reviews the IDEA provisions related to behavior, discusses considerations for defining an SLP's role related to behavior and social skills, presents some options for service delivery, and suggests some guidelines for intervention targets. While this article introduces ideas for how social-behavioral intervention can be managed within a busy SLP's caseload, more specific information on intervention approaches is provided in the author's article, Effective Social Skill Instruction: Putting Research into Practice (also available at www.speechpathology.com after 9/10/07).

The Focus on Behavior in IDEA

Behavior is addressed in several parts of IDEA. Four provisions, in particular, identify when behavior is to be considered and how it should be addressed.

Functional Goals Are Required to Address "Other Educational Needs"

Federal special education rules (Code of Federal Regulations, CFR, 2006) define the required elements of an IEP, which include "a statement of measurable annual goals, including academic and functional goals designed to:

  • Meet the child's needs that result from the child's disability to enable the child to be involved in and make progress in the general education curriculum; and
  • Meet each of the child's other educational needs that result from the child's disability" (34 CFR 300.347(a)(2)).

Children with language disorders often have "other educational needs" in the areas of behavior and social skills "that result from the child's disability." The existence and effects of these "other" needs must be considered by the IEP Team when planning intervention. Look for effects such as:

  • Restricted participation in cooperative learning or play groups (Brinton, Fujiki, & Higbee, 1998; Brinton, Fujiki, Montague, & Hanton, 2000; Fujiki, Brinton, Hart, & Fitzgerald, 1999; Fujiki, Brinton, Isaacson, & Summers, 2001; Nungesser & Watkins, 2005)
  • Aggressive or disruptive behaviors that interfere with the learning of self or others (Fujiki, Brinton, & Clarke, 2002; Fujiki, Spackman, Brinton, & Hall, 2004; Johnston & Reichle, 1993)
  • Inappropriate behaviors used to express needs or feelings (Johnston & Reichle, 1993; Nungesser & Watkins, 2005)
  • Reticence and withdrawal from social interaction (Fujiki, Brinton, Isaacson, & Summers, 2001; Nungesser & Watkins, 2005; Redmond & Rice, 1998)
  • Peer rejection (Brinton et al., 2000)

Joyce Olson

joyce olson

Joyce Olson

Chippewa Falls

Related Courses

Autism Outreach Podcast: Parents as an Important Part of the Therapeutic Team
Presented by Rosemarie Griffin, MA, CCC-SLP, BCBA, Lindsey Nitake, MS, CCC-SLP
Course: #9810Level: Introductory0.5 Hours
This podcast discusses the important role that parents serve as members of the speech/language therapy team, and resources that clinicians can provide to them. Specific strategies that can be used to support parents, including those related to emotional regulation, are highlighted.

Autism Outreach Podcast: The Power of Language Samples for Assessment and Intervention
Presented by Rosemarie Griffin, MA, CCC-SLP, BCBA, Marisha Mets, MS, CCC-SLP
Course: #9811Level: Introductory0.5 Hours
This podcast discusses various types of language samples and how to incorporate them into both assessment and intervention processes.

Neurodiversity: How to Support Agency and Self-determination
Presented by Joleen R. Fernald, PhD, CCC-SLP, BCS-CL
Course: #9590Level: Intermediate1 Hour
It is imperative for clinicians and educators to be aware of the neurodiversity movement in order to better support all human rights. This course discusses what neurodiversity is and the history of the movement, as well as the potential for trauma related to behavioral interventions. Case examples demonstrate how to apply a paradigm shift to clinical practice that seeks to accept and celebrate differences rather than mask them.

Collaborating With Applied Behavior Analysts: What Every SLP Need to Know
Presented by Kelli Marshall, MS, CCC-SLP
Course: #10124Level: Introductory1 Hour
Due to the amount of crossover between the professions, intense collaboration is often necessary between speech-language pathologists and board certified behavior analysts (BCBAs). This course discusses knowledge and skills related to applied behavior analysis (ABA) and provides SLPs with strategies for collaborating with BCBAs while prioritizing client-centered care.

Video Modeling: A Powerful Teaching Tool for Students with Multiple Disabilities
Presented by Teresa Farnham, MA, CCC-SLP
Course: #9885Level: Introductory1 Hour
Students who have multiple disabilities often have difficulty with pragmatic language, especially for workforce preparation. The ability to self-monitor interactions as they happen is essential for success in various community settings but is difficult to teach. This webinar discusses using storyboards and real-time video as tools to model social language and behavior, and to develop self-monitoring skills.

Our site uses cookies to improve your experience. By using our site, you agree to our Privacy Policy.