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How do I ensure that the language skills I target are educationally relevant?

Shari Robertson, PhD, CCC-SLP, BCS-CL, ASHA Fellow

February 15, 2024

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Question

How do I ensure that the language skills I target are educationally relevant?

Answer

The litmus test for eligibility for speech and language services in the schools is whether the identified areas of weakness have a substantial negative impact on the attainment of the student’s educational goals.  In other words, school-based SLP services exist to support academic success.  So, we need to be sure we are targeting skills that support classroom learning and grade level expectations.

Fortunately, regardless of the state in which you practice, you can easily access a consistent framework for what students should know and be able to do at the end of each grade. The Common Core State Standards (CCSS), which have been adopted by a majority of states, define the knowledge and skills students are expected to develop during their K-12 education to ensure success after graduation (National Governors Association Center for Best Practices, 2010).  Alternately, some states have chosen to create their own set of standards, which provide a similar set of expectations for each grade.    Consistently linking assessment and intervention to Common Core or state-specific standards ensures that therapy goals are matched with the communication needs, grade-level curriculum expectations, and specific demands of the classroom (Power-deFur & Flynn, 2012, Ehren et al., 2012).  

Even though school-based SLPs are super heroes, it can be time-consuming (and a little daunting) to sort through all of the standards for each grade level to determine appropriate targets for your students.  Consequently, it can be helpful to use a resource such as the Skills-Based Assessment of Core Communication Skills (Schultz, 2016; 2017) to identify relevant knowledge and skills and monitor progress across grade levels.

This Ask the Expert is an excerpt from the course, 20Q: Efficient and Effective Language Intervention in the Schools - Embrace Your Superpower, by Shari Robertson, PhD, CCC-SLP, BCS-CL, ASHA Fellow.


shari robertson

Shari Robertson, PhD, CCC-SLP, BCS-CL, ASHA Fellow

Shari Robertson, Ph.D., CCC-SLP, ASHA Fellow, Board Certified Specialist in Child Language (BCS-CL)  is a professor emerita and retired Associate Provost at Indiana University of PA and the CEO of Dynamic Resources.  Prior to moving into academia, Robertson spent 20 years in the public schools as a broad range SLP and Administrator and she continues to be a strong advocate and innovator in areas related to schools-based intervention. Dr. Robertson’s has received the Editors Award for Language by the Journal of Speech-Language-Hearing Research as well as the Annie Glenn National Award for Leadership in Language and Literacy.  The 2019 President of ASHA, Shari is committed to helping her colleagues thrive in their personal and professional pursuits and continues to spread the message of the importance of making effective communication, a human right, accessible and achievable for all.  


Related Courses

20Q: Efficient and Effective Language Intervention in the Schools - Embrace Your Superpower
Presented by Shari Robertson, PhD, CCC-SLP, BCS-CL, ASHA Fellow
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Presenter

Shari Robertson, PhD, CCC-SLP, BCS-CL, ASHA Fellow
Course: #10837Level: Intermediate1 Hour
  'As a Language Therapist at a school for children with Dyslexia, I really enjoyed learning about the hierarchy of Language'   Read Reviews
SLPs hold comprehensive, valuable expertise in language unique among professionals working with school-aged children. This course encourages SLPs to embrace and share this expertise and apply it to therapy guided by five evidence-supported principles. Activities, templates and lesson plans for effective, efficient, educationally relevant small group and classroom-based intervention are described.

20Q: Dynamics of School-Based Speech and Language Therapy Variables
Presented by Kelly Farquharson, PhD, CCC-SLP, Anne Reed, MS, CCC-SLP
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Kelly Farquharson, PhD, CCC-SLPAnne Reed, MS, CCC-SLP
Course: #10002Level: Advanced1 Hour
  'Easy to follow along/read at my own pace'   Read Reviews
This course reviews dynamics of speech and language therapy variables such as session frequency, intervention intensity, and dosage, and how these are impacted by different service delivery models. It discusses how therapy outcomes are related to therapy quality, IEP goals, and SLP-level variables such as job satisfaction and caseload size.

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Presented by Celeste Roseberry-McKibbin, PhD, CCC-SLP, F-ASHA
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This course discusses Developmental Language Disorder (DLD) in English Learners (EL). Specific, research-based strategies are provided for developing academic vocabulary skills and phonological awareness skills in this group of students.

20Q: Providing Supportive Intervention for Trauma-Exposed Students with Communication Disorders
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Course: #10310Level: Introductory1 Hour
  'So helpful for our changing caseloads, thank you'   Read Reviews
The definition of childhood trauma, the experiences that constitute trauma in a student’s life, and the concept of trauma-informed intervention are described in this course. Practical, hands-on suggestions are provided for strategies that support students with communication disorders who have experienced trauma, and activities to improve their social and executive function skills.

20Q: Grammar and Syntax for School-Age Learners
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This course discusses why it is important for SLPs to diagnose and intervene to help school-age children and adolescents who struggle with grammar and syntax. Information on the development of grammar and syntax, procedures for assessment, academic challenges for students with grammar/syntax impairments, and curriculum-based interventions are provided.

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