SpeechPathology.com Phone: 800-242-5183

AMN Healthcare

Transdiciplinary Service Model for Early Intervention

Cheryl Stewart, M.A.,CCC-SLP

August 7, 2006



Are there guidelines for or questions an IFSP (Individualized Family Service Plan) team should ask themselves when deciding whether an infant or toddler with developmental delays or disabilities, under the age of 3, needs direct speech therapy or whether


This has been a "hot" question for as long as I have worked in early intervention. Sometimes it is fueled by a shortage of speech-language pathologists or a limited understanding of what speech and language services look like in the birth to age three population, instead of addressing what services best meet the needs of the child. In a "best practice" scenario, the team would use a transdisciplinary model. This model is based on the theory that a child does not perform skills in isolation but that multiple needs are interrelated. Use of this model requires a sharing of information and skills across discipline-specific boundaries. With this model it is possible that one discipline will be the primary family contact and the others will serve as consultants. (Visit www.ericdigests.org/pre-9213/early.htm for descriptions of the three team models of intervention.)

There are few programs that exercise a true transdisciplinary model in assessment and intervention. It requires a group of professionals who are accustomed to working together as a team. It requires professionals to surrender discipline-specific boundaries and to have a working knowledge of the other disciplines. So your question as stated above does not have a simple answer. The IFSP team should include an SLP who has evaluated the child if this question is even to be asked. The age, medical diagnosis and prognosis, risk for future delays, current delays, disabilities, and general function of the child all need to be discussed and considered in answering this question. Other important questions are: What are the skills of the developmental therapist? What will "support" from an SLP look like in practice? If SLP support is recommended, describing the support services should be detailed in the IFSP. There should be frequent reexamination of this support role and modifications made as needed. Changes in frequency of support visits, communication between the SLP and the developmental therapist, and change to direct SLP services should be considered periodically.

Cheryl Stewart has been a speech-language pathologist for 15 years. She is the Clinic Coordinator for the Speech & Hearing Clinic at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. She worked for four years as part of a transdisciplinary team in a NICU and NICU-to-home program in New York City.

cheryl stewart

Cheryl Stewart, M.A.,CCC-SLP

Related Courses

Adverse Childhood Experiences: Effects on Brain, Behavior and Clinical Practice
Presented by Angela Hein Ciccia, PhD, CCC-SLP


Angela Hein Ciccia, PhD, CCC-SLP
Course: #8929Level: Advanced1 Hour
  'She had researched data to back up presentation'   Read Reviews
This course provides a brief review of conventional and expanded adverse childhood experiences and discuss their implications. Specifically, the impact of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) on brain and behavior and the importance of this information to clinical practice for speech-language pathologists are described. This course is presented in partnership with the American Board of Child Language and Language Disorders (ABCLLD).

ApPARENTly This Is Not Going Well: Difficult Conversations with Parents
Presented by Marva Mount, MA, CCC-SLP


Marva Mount, MA, CCC-SLP
Course: #9726Level: Intermediate1 Hour
  'Very informative and relatable to our field and IEP meetings in general'   Read Reviews
This course explores emotional intelligence (EQ) and how to "plug in" and use it in situations that go awry with parents of clients. Specific strategies for handling difficult situations and de-escalating arguments are discussed.

Facilitating First Verbs through Shared Book Reading
Presented by Susan Hendler Lederer, PhD, CCC-SLP


Susan Hendler Lederer, PhD, CCC-SLP
Course: #9735Level: Introductory1 Hour
  'This course was excellent because it provided specific details and examples to implement'   Read Reviews
This course discusses early verb acquisition, choosing first verb targets, and a variety of strategies to facilitate verb learning using children’s picture books as a therapy context.

Reading Comprehension and the SLP: Foundational Understanding
Presented by Angie Neal, MS, CCC-SLP


Angie Neal, MS, CCC-SLP
Course: #10763Level: Intermediate1 Hour
  'The breakdown of what’s important for comprehensive learning'   Read Reviews
This is Part 1 of a two-part series. This course provides SLPs with foundational knowledge needed to directly address and collaboratively support reading comprehension across all grade levels. Models of language and reading comprehension, comprehension processes vs. products, instruction in comprehension skills vs. strategies, factors in reading comprehension difficulties, and connections to general education are discussed.

Reading Comprehension and the SLP: Contributions of Language
Presented by Angie Neal, MS, CCC-SLP


Angie Neal, MS, CCC-SLP
Course: #10764Level: Intermediate1 Hour
  'Great course! So much wonderful information and great therapy strategies'   Read Reviews
This is Part 2 of a two-part series. The connections between reading comprehension and areas of language such as vocabulary, morphosyntax and social communication are described in this course. Implications for intervention/instruction and collaboration with educators are also discussed.

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