Teamwork: How can Special Educators and Speech and Language Pathologists work together ?

Speech Box-1


Here is a resource from American Speech and Hearing Association that further defines what a speech and language pathologist is in the schools.


In my school, I do a combination of service delivery:

  • I teach whole class, below are some of the theme or curriculums I use
    • Framing Your Thoughts ( grammar, writing)
    • Story Grammar Marker, Braidy (story retell and question words)
    • Expanding Expression Tool ( categories, adjectives, descriptors organization of language)
    • Headbanz ( descriptions, asking questions)
    • Close Reading Strategies ( comprehension, vocabulary)
    • Text Talk ( Tier 2 vocabulary, story grammar, comprehension)
    • Social Thinking Curriculum
  • I  teach small group often in a blended way in which some of the group are on technology and others are having a one on one session with me
  • I teach individual sessions

Besides for my speech and language responsibilities my school responsibilities include RTI ( Response to Intervention), I am the chair of Positive Behavior Intervention Strategies ( PBIS) committee and being part of curriculum team. I manage our district’s google site on autism and reading strategies.

How can a special educator and speech and language pathologist work together?  What are some of the similarities in their scope of practice?  What are some of the differences?


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49 comments on “Teamwork: How can Special Educators and Speech and Language Pathologists work together ?
  1. Where I work at Woonsocket High School, the school SLP is heavily involved in multiple classrooms throughout the day. Often times, she is in reading class and engllish classes at the inclusion and departmental level to support students who are benefit from her services. Though I do not know much about how her work with them is done, I do know how much she helps my classroom and how beneficial it is to my students. Two periods a day, I teach a transition class to two groups of students with exceptionalities. These students generally are low performing with a few outliers, and struggle with their social and basic living skills. In this class, we focus on career exploration, resume building, interview skills, and as I like to call it, “life skills”. This includes money management and healthy living, among many other things. Every Friday, my SLP comes into class, along with the school Social Worker, and runs a social group. In this social group, the SLP works on various social skills all based around communication such as controlling verbal impulses, using descriptive words to describe things accurately, and the students being able to express themselves appropriately. This class is run by my SLP and I act as a support as she works with the students, and I carry on her strategies and skills when she is not there. She collects data throughout the year on these areas, and we share it with the students the whole way so they can see their progress. It’s amazing to see how much progress the students make throughout the year with consistency and her support and the carry through of those skills. We meet regularly to plan activities that support the students and adjust our teaching to the most prevalent needs of the students to make sure they have their needs met.
    This is just one example of how an SLP and teacher can collaborate and work together to best support their students. I have also used the advice of my SLP to help me write a reading goal for a student of mine. This student has a learning disability and has a significant stutter and I wanted to make sure I created a goal that was individualized to his actual needs. Her insight really helped me be able to do that effectively. But SLP’s can serve so many other purposes in schools as well.They can help identify a communication disorder in order to help the student receive appropriate services (if needed), and help evaluate the results. They can also work with the teacher of a student with a communication disorder to help them determine modifications and accommodations that will support the students learning. We know how vast the role of an SLP is, so it is no surprise that SLP’s can support and collaborate with teachers in so many ways.
    There are many similarities between SLP’s and teachers and their roles. Both are involved in the IEP process, making sure appropriate goals, modifications, accommodations, and services are made accessible to the student. Progress monitoring and data collection is administered by both of them as well. SLP’s and teachers work to identify disabilities as early as possible to promote early intervention, and collaborate with other teachers and professionals to make sure the students are received the most supportive education. One of the major differences I think there is between SLP’s and teachers is the focus of SLP’s. SLP’s really focus on language, looking at speech, audiology, swallowing, articulation, tone, pitch and many others in that area. Where special educators look at different content areas, such as reading, writing, math, language, and behavior. SLP’s overall have a more in depth understanding of communication disorders than special education generally do. The environment of a teacher tends to be more controlled as they are often times in a classroom when unfortunately many SLP’s are in a “closet” room or participate in push in’s or pull outs. Though there are some differences between the two, they are a powerful team when they work together to support students with communication disorders.

  2. Identifying and assisting students with communication disorders involve special educators and speech and language pathologists working together. As a special educator I may have unidentified students with communication disorders in my classroom. In order to get them the supports they need I would have to work together with an SLP to explain what I am seeing in the classroom that may suggest they need additional help. For students who are already working with an SLP, it is important for me to stay up to date on their progress and the supports they are receiving so that I can transfer them over to my own classroom and help them as needed. Keeping a students education as succinct as possible will allow for better outcomes and more fluency in their learning.
    I see many similarities in the Special Educator and SLP’s roles. Developing and implementing the IEP for this child would be one similarity. Both parties have to be aware and on board with this students IEP. It also seems like a lot of the strategies used for these students are similar to those you could bring into your classroom through differentiated instruction and universal design for learning. This includes story retelling, working on comprehension, Tier 2 vocabulary, and more. As per RTI, all teachers should be using research-based methods that are shown to be effective in their classroom. SLP’s will also use research-based methods to help students with communication disorders. Both parties must also assess and document outcomes of student assessments since keeping track of data is important to show progress.
    The main difference I see between the two is that a speech-language pathologist has a more specific job specialized in knowing how to assess and support students. They deal with other factors such as swallowing and tongue problems that would likely not be addressed by a special educator. They participate in research projects to learn more about the best ways to assist students and dive deeper into the content. This is why they are truly our biggest resource when working with children with communication disorders and we should take full advantage of having a good relationship with them to better help our students.

  3. Since special educators and speech and language pathologists both play a very significant role in regards to a child’s education and success, it is essential that they work together in order to meet each student’s individual needs. Without each member of the team and collaboration, students would not receive the quality education that they deserve. Effective collaboration and communication is essential because each member of the student’s team brings different approaches, strategies, skills, ideas, and suggestions to the table, which are necessary and extremely beneficial when providing students with meaningful learning and helping one achieve academic success. One way that special educators and SLPs can work together is through collaboration. Collaboration is essential and supports communication in addition to forming positive relationships. In terms of collaboration, each member of the team (i.e. special educators and SLPs) can come together to share information regarding the student’s areas of needs, strengths, interests, etc. They can also collaborate in order to determine goals for the students as well as any modifications or accommodations that are beneficial and allow student to access the curriculum. They can also work together to determine interventions for the student, monitoring the student’s process in various environments to evaluate the interventions as well as thier effectiveness, share resources, tips, tricks, strategies, and techniques, support each other’s decisions, and engage in effective communication with parents/family that suggest all member of the team are working towards a common goal that best supports the student.

    There are many similarities in regards to a special educators and a SLPs scope of practice. These similarities include:
    * Members of the IEP team
    * Engage in the development and creation of the IEP
    * Create goals and include them on the student’s IEP
    * Provides modifications and accommodations
    * Implement interventions
    * Monitor student’s progress
    * Administer assessments (formal and informal)
    * Evaluate and synthesize data
    * Create lessons and activities for student
    * Build relationships and learn student’s interests
    * Use testing, screenings, data, and observations to determine student’s areas of needs and strengths
    * Collaborate with other educators, family, and related service personnel
    * Advocate for the child
    *Serve as a recourse and help educate other colleagues about specific skills, strategies, interventions, etc.

    Moreover, there are also some differences in regards to special educators and SLPs scope of practice. These differences include:
    * They do not always engage with students in the same environments. For example, SLPs can implement speech lessons as a “push-in” within the classroom; however, I have only seen this done at the Pre-K level. Typically, I have found that SLP pull a small group of students out into their classroom to work during a scheduled period of time, a few days a week. Whereas, I have seen special educators engage in lessons in both inclusion and resource settings daily.
    * SLPs typically focus on skills in regards to speech, language, communication, articulation, swallowing, feeding, etc. Whereas, special educators work with students on a variety of skills, which may include reading, writing, math, emotional regulation, attention, behavior management, and many more.
    *SLPs are experts and are able to identify and diagnosed individuals with communication disorders as well as identify appropriate recourses and interventions to implement with the student.
    *SLPs have a more focused and specific field whereas special educators have a broader range of expertise.
    *SLPs are also found in a more diverse group of settings such as health care settings, research based settings, etc.
    *Finally, SLPs have extensive knowledge about characteristics present among individuals with communication disorders/associated factors such as other disabilities, prevention tips, educating individuals, families, and communities about communication disorders, and how communication disorders affect individuals.

  4. There is a multitude of things that a special educator and a speech pathologist can collaborate on and must collaborate on to insure a child is getting the education they need. Collaboration should take place in creating the IEP, including identifying the students present levels of performance and goals for the IEP. Collaboration should also occur in helping the student to achieve the IEP goals. Creating lessons for the child is also an opportune time to collaborate as the special educator can integrate things the speech pathologist is doing into the classroom and vise versa. Both professionals should also collaborate as part of the IEP team. Most importantly, the special educator and the speech pathologist can collaborate in order to work and establish a good working collaboration with the students home life, who ever they live at home with.

    Speech pathologist and special educators are similar in that they both:
    -Add information to the IEP
    -Identify a disability
    -Create lessons
    -Assess a student
    -They both provide intervention
    -They are both advocates for the student

    Speech pathologists and special educators are different in that:
    -SLPs usually pull students out of the classroom for a scheduled amount of time per their IEP
    -SLPs diagnose specifically communication, swallowing and feeding disorders
    -While SLPs should collaborate on the IEP is it the responsibility of the special educator to write the IEP

    • In Rhode Island, up into the age of 9, a speech and language pathologist could be the case manager for a student. Unfortunately, there was a law passed that said after the age of 9 speech and language could not be a stand-alone.

  5. Working with a SLP is very important for the child. Some of the ways that special educators can collaborate with the SLP are on assessments, during re evaluation meetings, and IEP meetings. It is important to talk with the SLP ahead of time to understand their goals for the child. This past year the SLP that I had for my students tried to combine the academic and social goals when possible. This way all parties could work on the goals during the school days. I love the idea of the SLP using classroom curriculum (lessons and text) to reinforce the students goals. In a perfect world the SLP would come into the classroom and co teach a lesson to the whole class to help with the needs of the students. Even though not all my students receive speech all the students could benefit from the strategies that would be taught. Meeting with the SLP weekly or bi weekly (depending on how often student receives serves) would be a great help. Progress can be reported, the special educator and SLP can talk concerns, the SLP can explain tips to help in the classroom and it can create an overall partnership. Ideally the special educator would be at the meetings but with schedule issues that does not always work.

    I think the number one similarity is the student. Each person is there for the child and helping the child grow, learn and achieve their best. Both parties write IEP strengths, needs and goals. They work on strategies with writing, reading, language, communication and behavior needs. Both the SLP and special educator advocate for the children and implement their IEP goals.

    The SLP comes in for their scheduled time weekly or bi weekly and although they support the student and the special educator they do not teach the daily lessons. The special educator is responsible for making sure all goals are implemented and the student is getting what they need. The SLP is also able to assess the student on certain speech and language problems that the special educator is not trained to do.

    I really am looking at the job of a SLP a lot differently now and I see the importance of collaborating with them.

    • I love this! ” I think the number one similarity is the student. Each person is there for the child and helping the child grow, learn and achieve their best.”

  6. Speech and language pathologists and special educators have very similar roles. Thus, their working together could potentially result in some incredible teaching. One way that the two professionals could work together could be through collaborating to make modifications. Though both professionals are used to this type of work, seeing it through another lens could immensely help the other in creation or modification of lesson/unit plans.

    SLPs and special educators have similar roles. Between the two, a wide rage of disorders and disabilities are addressed. It is the job of both people to support students with needs particular to their scope. Both roles are also responsible for the creation and implementation of IEPs. It is also vital that SLPs and special educators collaborate with general educators. This collaboration can involve helping teachers modify lessons, educating them on the students they are working with, giving teachers strategies to use in class, or even helping them build rapport.

    Some of the main differences between the role of a SLP and a special educator lie in the students that they are working with. Although both professionals work with students who have needs, the services that are provided differ. Special educators may be more concerned with reinforcing skills that are taught in the academic setting, or ensuring that sufficient scaffolding is used. Whereas, a SLP may be teaching skills that provide students the communication skills to better function in a social setting.

  7. The special educator and speech and language pathologist (SLP) are two essential puzzle pieces which make up a special education team. Educators collaborating together to plan and maintain an open communication system will only set the foundation for students to feel successful as a learner.
    It would be important for the special educator and SLP to work together when a student is being referred for any special education services by the parent or classroom teacher. Reviewing data or observations for the referral services should have shared input about the student in different classroom settings. Taking advantage of the intensive knowledge that a SLP could pass along from administering selected speech and language assessments to possible accommodations made to IEP goals. In particular, a special education teacher working in a self-contained classroom and the SLP should be opened to communicating lesson plans, classroom routines, and activities with those students being serviced by the SLP. Integrating lessons or practice skills taught in both classroom settings by the special educator and SLP can help the student make connections to areas he/she is working upon academically/socially. Another important reason the SLP and classroom teacher should be working together is to discuss the student’s speech and language goals. Having a discussion with the SLP at the beginning of the school year will provide the classroom teacher with the appropriate information about what their students goals are, how it may impact their classroom performance, and what supports need to take place in the classroom. From personal experience, in my school currently the SLP and bilingual SLP will pull out the students their servicing to another room. I have observed the assigned SLP in my school to collaborate with the RTI team in the mornings before school starts quite frequently. It would be interesting to see how having the SLP “push-in” their services or implement whole group lessons in the classroom because it doesn’t happen at all in my school.

    Special educators and SLP share several similar and different responsibilities for the students their servicing. One major similarity is both educators should be working together to implement the best practices for their students to become successful learners as he/she progresses to each grade level. Writing IEP goals and developing support systems in place for the child is a common responsibility as well. Being an advocate for the student and incorporating daily accommodations that he/she may need to perform well in reading or communicating successfully. However, the SLP does have the able to administer selected assessments for identifying communications disorders that special educators are not trained to do. SLP are well-educated about the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) to instruct any inventions, activities, standards, or evidenced based practices that best supports each student on their case load. More importantly, SLP can evaluate and diagnose students with a communication disorder and work closely with the student one on one more frequently than a special educator.

    Looking forward to gaining a better understanding of the SLP role in the school setting as I continue my classes in EDU 571.

  8. In order for students to be successful, the special educator and the speech and language pathologist must work together. The special educator and SLP should be able to meet regularly to discuss the needs of their students. The special educator should be aware of what the speech and language pathologist is working on and the speech and language pathologist should be aware of what the special educator is working on. They should communicate and collaborate as much as possible.

    There are a few similarities between a special educator’s and SLP’s scope of practice. Both work with students that need additional support aside from what they are receiving in the general education classroom. Both roles work with students in a variety of settings including small groups and one-on-one. The special educator and the SLP can provide push in or pull out services for the students who need them. They are both responsible for developing goals for a student’s IEP and for working towards meeting those goals.

    There are some differences between the role of a special educator and a speech and language pathologist. SLPs are responsible for screening and identifying a student who may need speech and language services while special educators work to identify students with intellectual, learning, and developmental disabilities. SLPs have more training about specific strategies to help students with particular speech and language disorders.

  9. A special educator and speech pathologist can work together in many different ways to help a student reach their goals. Perhaps the most important part of them working together is the fact that they must make an effort to communicate with each other. Ideally, the special educator and speech pathologist should sit down and create social, academic and functional goals together and discuss specifically what each will work on during their time with that student. It is also important that they regularly discuss the students progress during their time working with him or her so they are on the same page.
    Some of the similarities in their scope of practice is the fact that they are both working to provide the student with a variety of techniques and strategies in order to help them reach their academic, social and functional skills. The speech pathologist however, mainly works on the verbal aspect of these skills.
    Some of the differences between a special educator’s scope of practice and a speech and language pathologist’s scope of work is the fact that while the special educator mainly focuses on academic skills, the speech and language pathologist primarily focuses on verbal skills.

    • I appreciate your comments. I just want to clarify ‘verbal skills’ as the broader term would be ‘communication skills’. A speech and language pathologist as part of their scope of practice work on literacy skills ( reading and writing) and executive function skills ( planning, organizing, executing).

  10. There are many ways in which a SLP and a classroom teacher can work together. One way is for the SLP to help a student who has difficulties communicating learn skills to help them ask for help or understand classroom instructions. Students may not understand the vocabulary in the instructions and the SLP would be able to work with them to help understand. Another way is for the SLP to help students better express their ideas either during instruction or social settings. The SLP could teach strategies for a student who has trouble communicating their ideas. As an educator, I could also provide the SLP with materials I will be working with in advance so they could preview these materials to my students with communication disorders.

    Both educators and SLPs have similarities in their roles of working with students and in schools. They both develop and implement IEPs, they work on literacy and curriculum teams, and they help with reading, writing, speaking and and thinking. Similarities also exist in implementing instruction. I was recently observing a co-teaching classroom in the area of writing. The special educator was working with her students using a talk to text device, while the general educator was using Braidy with her general education students, which I had never heard about until my observation and now, in your blog. I thought that this was a great strategy to use to teach writing and had no idea that the SLP was the one that told the general educator about it.

    The SLP and classroom teachers are different in what they teach. The classroom teacher is responsible for providing instruction in each grade level meeting standards while the SLP is responsible for diagnosing and developing treatment plans for communication disorders. A teacher needs a bachelor’s degree and teaching certificate to teach while the SLP needs a master’s degree, a certificate of clinical competence, and a state license. Also, a teacher is only in a school setting while the SLP can work in a variety of settings including schools, hospitals, homes, and corporate settings.

    I have never gotten the chance to work closely with the SLP in my classroom. During my time as the district substitute elementary teacher in a small school district, I have gotten to know the SLP only by seeing him in the hallways and occasionally coming to the classroom looking for a particular student. Currently, I work with students who have mostly emotional disturbances in a behavioral setting and we do not have a speech-language pathologist. Given the opportunity to work with one, I would want strategies on giving directions to my students who have autism. Although I know several strategies, I feel as if my students worked with the SLP, they would gain more than what I can offer them.

  11. A special educator and speech and language pathologist work together in many different ways. They work together to formulate goals for their students. In order to help the student achieve these goals, communication should be given on a consistent basis. In my own school, the special educator and speech and language pathologist work together to help determine the students’ needs. For example, the general educator tells the special educator her concerns regarding a certain student in the area of oral communication. The special educator observes the student and notices articulation difficulties. Next, the special educator invites the SLP into the classroom to observe the student’s difficulties. Upon observation, all teachers involved have a meeting to develop goals that make sense for the student. In order for the goals to be meaningful, the activities and lesson plans should translate across the curriculum. I’ve seen this process done twice this past school year, but because the students are in third grade (ages 8-9) they are very unlikely to receive services from the school unless they have another diagnosed disability.

    The similarities in the special educator’s and speech and language pathologist’s scope of practice are:
    • Identifying students with disorders
    • Assessing students’ skills and areas of concern
    • Evaluating the results with the special education team
    • Develop and implement an IEP
    • Advocating best practices
    • Participate in school-wide curriculum teams
    • Collaborate with the special education team
    • Help students develop social skills
    • Sometimes work in small group settings
    • Work on reading skills

    The differences among each teacher’s scope of practice are:
    • In SLP practice, the student is typically brought into another section of the school, outside of the general education classroom.
    • SLP’s assess and diagnose communication, swallowing, and feeding disorders.
    • Special educator works with students on math skills

  12. A special educator and speech pathologists can work together in many ways. First, they are both part of a child’s IEP team, If a child is being evaluated for speech and language services both work together to help this child succeed. Both Speech Pathologists and Special educators set Smart goals for this child, they both create goals for their students with a set length of time and perform benchmarks assessments and evaluations to see whether or not they are meeting their goals and if not how close or far away they are to achieving their goals. Many students who need speech services also may need services from a special educator. For example in my classroom I had a student who attended speech once a week but also met with a special education teacher daily. This particular student had behavior issues and did daily check in and check out with his special education teacher to help regulate his behavior and teach him strategies he can use to stay on task and to stay calm in the classroom.

    A big difference though is a speech and language pathologist is only focused on speech and language issues while a special education teacher is providing services to a wide variety of students for many different reasons. Special education teachers also wear many hats. I had a special education teacher who came in my room to co-teach writing and math, was responsible for check in and check out with some of my students and took some of my students out a few times a week to give them reading intervention services. She also wrote up to IEP’s for my students and established their smart goals.

  13. A special educator and a speech and language pathologist are able to collaborate and work together on a few things. First, the most important thing is setting goals and ways to meet the needs of the student. This is important because both the special educator and speech and language pathologist bring valuable information to the table to try and create a method to help the student become successful. By using their strong suits, they are able to create a better plan of attack than by working alone. When creating these goals and ways to meet the needs of the student, both the special educator and speech and language pathologist can discuss assistive technology they may find useful, as well as learning methods the student may require. This discussion once again will help the student become successful. Another aspect of education special educators and speech and language pathologists may be able to work together on is creating an RTI system to help students. By working together, the system can include all aspects of knowledge in understanding when a student moves from tier I, tier II, tier III, or a referral. They may design this to understand the student in need better and focus on helping those students who are in need. One final aspect that they may work on together is a behavioral plan for the school. Both the special educator and speech and language pathologist may collaborate on their plan of action to insure that students have opportunities to work for success.

    Special educators and speech and language pathologists have some similarities in their scope of practice. The first similarity is that they are both working to meet the needs of the student to help that student become successful. To help this student be successful, both are using benchmark goals and using methods to meet those goals. Second, both are using this to meet their IEP goals. When looking at the needs, they then set goals and expectations for the students to meet. Going along with this, both the special educator and speech and language pathologist want to see the student be successful in the least restrictive environment. In doing so, goals will hopefully be met and the student will able to meet their expectations.

    Some of the differences between a special educator and speech and language pathologists are evident in education. First, speech and language pathologists usually work in one to one settings or even very small group settings, where as special educators may work in large or small group settings either in a general education or self-contained classroom Second, speech and language pathologists concentrate more on aspects of communication- whether it be stuttering, swallowing, or some form of communication disabilities. Special educators work to help students with all aspects of education that are mandated by the state and country.

  14. Speech and language pathologists and special education teachers can work together in a variety of ways. One of the main ways they can work together is in the development of an IEP for students with communication disorders. Sometimes a student may only have a speech IEP so the speech and language pathologist can write the IEP herself but can consult with a special education teacher, when needed, in the process of developing one. For a student who has multiple goals and needs beyond speech and language, the pathologist and teacher can collaborate and work on the IEP together to make sure the student needs are met for academic, functional, and related services. In a classroom setting, if there is multiple student who receive services for speech and language, the speech and language can collaborate inside the classroom in small groups with those students along with collaborating with the regular education who is in the classroom.

    Special educators and speech language pathologist do very similar works when it comes to working with students with disabilities. When it comes to IEP writing, both the special education and speech and language pathologists have a role in writing the present level of performance, goals, and accommodations and modifications for their students. The main differences are that the special educator writes a variety of goals for academic and functional needs and the speech language pathologist focuses on just speech and language needs. The role of the special educator works in a variety of settings depending on the school. They may be co-teaching with a regular education teacher or could be pulling small groups of students out at a time. The speech and language pathologist mostly does one-on-one instruction or small group and only occasionally is in the regular education or inclusion classroom.

  15. Special educators and speech pathologists can work together in many ways. One way is they are both members of a student IEP team; they should meet up and discuss their findings and observation on a student to create goals together. They can each offer their own unique view and approach of how to help a particular student. Also if this child has behavior issues as well, if the SLP also plays a large role on the PBIS team they can discuss what particular rewards and positive behavior supports seem to work effectively on that particular child. At the School I long- termed at our SLP was also a member of the PBIS team, I often would discuss with her certain students in my classroom and what rewards and supports seem to be working and not working for them.

    Some similarities between SLPS and special education teachers are they both are active member of a student’s IEP team. They both either work with these students either one on one or in small group instruction to provide them with the additional support they need. The major difference is a special education teacher is in charge of students with a variety of needs and disabilities while an SLP works specifically with students who have difficulty with speech and language.

  16. In order for students with speech and language disorders to be successful in school, the special educator and the SLP must work together for students to be successful in school. The SLP needs to gather information from the special educator on what areas of the students everyday life in school is being impacted by the speech and language disorder. The SLP can communicate with the special educator on how they can help to continue monitor the speech and language disorder and what strategies they can use to help so that the student is getting instruction and help not only when the SLP is around. The SLP and the special educator are on the same team for the student and need to be working towards the same goal of helping the student succeed. They are similar in that sense that they want the best for the student and are willing to help them achieve goals. They also work with students in similar ways (whole class, small group, one on one, etc.) They are different in the sense of what they are trained to do. Special educators get training on a wide range of intellectual, learning and developmental disabilities. SLP get a specified training of speech and language and are experts in that specific field. It is so important to have both work along side on another when a student in special education also receives speech and language services.

  17. In order for students with speech and language disorders to be successful in school, the special educator and the SLP must work together for students to be successful in school. The SLP needs to gather information from the special educator on what areas of the students everyday life in school is being impacted by the speech and language disorder. The SLP can communicate with the special educator on how they can help to continue monitor the speech and language disorder and what strategies they can use to help so that the student is getting instruction and help not only when the SLP is around. The SLP and the special educator are on the same team for the student and need to be working towards the same goal of helping the student succeed. They are similar in that sense that they want the best for the student and are willing to help them achieve goals. They also both work with students in a variety of ways (group, whole class, one on one, etc). They are different in the sense of what they are trained to do. Special educators get training on a wide range of intellectual, learning and developmental disabilities. SLP get a specified training of speech and language and are experts in that specific field. It is so important to have both work along side on another when a student in special education also receives speech and language services.

  18. Research proves that collaboration amongst school staff members increases student achievement. Therefore, we must attempt to communicate with as many staff members as possible to ensure students’ needs are being met. Speech-Language Pathologists (SLPs) work with children who have speech and language problems that affect success in classroom activities, social interaction, literacy, and learning. Therefore, if students are not succeeding in the classroom, it is the responsibility of the special educator, the general educator, and the SLP to work together and collaborate to determine accommodations or any services for the student.

    In addition, SLPs work with children who have a variety of disabilities such as: language, voice, fluency or stuttering, articulation, and swallowing. Many people assume SLPs work with a limited amount of students, however, there could be multiple kids in a classroom that have a speech, language, or communication disorder. Because many kids would thrive from having a SLP, it is necessary for the general/special educator to voice his/her concerns to the SLP if the student is not seeing one already.

    SLP have many different roles in school, one including the development and implementation of IEPs. If they are involved in the IEP, it is necessary for the special educator to conference with the SLP to gain more information about the student. The more information and understanding of a student’s disability, the better the IEP will be written, and the student will receive better instruction because of the IEP.

    There are similarities and differences in roles of the special educator and SLP. Both help develop and implement the IEP. They also can evaluate the result of comprehensive assessments, collaborate with teachers and other professions, advocate for teaching practices, and push-in or pull-out students throughout the day for different services. Their roles differ when their job descriptions get more detailed. For example, SLP attempt to prevent communication disorders. They also screen children for any speech or language disorder. They work alongside the special and general educator to ensure students are succeeding in speech, language, communication, etc. Because both the special educator and SLP have significant roles in schools, they must collaborate to ensure students are successful inside and outside of the classroom.

  19. Special educators and speech and language pathologist need to work together in order to help a student meet their goals. The special educator can provide valuable information about a student receiving speech and language services and vice versa. In my experience working with the schools speech and language pathologists, I have found their input and advice valuable. I am able to focus on the appropriate needs of the student, as well as helpful strategies and adaptations. Furthermore, I am able to share information about how the student is performing both academically and behaviorally in the classroom. This helps alleviate any surprises and assists the speech and language pathologist with aligning what the student is working on in class with what she can focus on with the student when working one-on-one. I teach at the secondary level and my school uses a pull-out model for students receiving speech and language services.
    Similarities between the special educator and speech and language pathologist is that they both work to improve a students performance in communication through listening, speaking, reading, spelling, and writing. They are also both responsible with the social emotional needs of a student. Students who act out or refuse to do work need extra-support, especially if the reason for their behaviors is because of their communication disorder. Moreover, they are both part of the IEP team and need to collaborate to develop appropriate goals for a particular student.
    Differences may include the fact that the speech and language pathologist is responsible for screening and identifying a student who may need speech language services. Also, speech and language pathologists have more training and knowledge about specific strategies and practices that can improve a students particular speech and language disorder. The one complaint I have is the time constraints when it comes to being able to meet and plan.

  20. I have found a lot of connections between a special education teacher and SLP. Using my school as an example, our special education teacher and SLP meet regularly to discuss their caseloads and goals for shared students. Both educators work with their students to gain a stronger understanding of what is going on in the classroom and instruction. They also work with student’s social needs, specifically assisting them with developing healthy relationships. This is important at our school because students are in the same classroom for the majority of the day with the same peers. They also share this space with the same group for all four years of high school. Our students also must hold an end of the trimester exhibition, where they speak about their learning for the trimester in front of their peers and any support systems they work with. This can be nerve wracking for many students, especially students with voice or articulation disorders. Both educators have been supportive in preparing those students with the skills to successfully present and speak for their exhibition. Of course a major component is that they work together on IEP development and helping students achieve goals.

    Where there are plenty of areas of crossover, there are some differences in the scope of practice. The special educator is the manager/keeper of the IEP. Yes, they have help in their development, but they are legally responsible for the work that goes into it, namely goals and a center point for parent communication. To use my experience, I have only co-taught lessons with my special education teacher where typically the SLP would pull 1-2 students out to work individually with them. It’s not that I don’t think they are capable of doing it, it’s just never been a conversation. I believe that the two roles have more similarities than differences and their collaboration is essential to creating a positive learning environment.

  21. Collaboration with the special educator and speech pathologist is critical for a child’s development. Without some form of collaboration, it may prolong the students success. In order for secure success, both have to be on the same page when developing IEP goals and the benchmarks in way that student will hopefully reach them. Having that understanding and goal setting allows for both of the special educator and SLP to be aware of what the expectations are and how that student will be reaching them.
    I have worked with SLPs that have been amazing in collaborating. When discussing the students abilities and where they need to improve we see eye to eye. They let me know what I can do in the classroom to assist the student. I also find it helpful to ask the student what they did, so that I can get their perspective and to see what their outlook may be.
    I have also worked with students who receive speech from an outside provider, not within the school. This makes it very difficult for communication. I will also follow up with the student to see what they did and what recommendations were given. In this case, communication with parents is super important.
    Overall, the SLP and special educator can accomplish so much when come together and work for the same goal. As a special educator, I love learning new techniques and ideas to implement into the classroom to target specific goals.

    • I love your response to the blog as it also points out that speech is better provided by an in-house person rather than an outside contracted service. Although the contracted service may be doing excellent service unless there is a time in that contract to collaborate and have an understanding of the child’s whole academic day or the changes that are being made in the school in terms of curriculum or activities they are not able to respond to these. It becomes more of a ‘clinical’ treatment than a school based integrative treatment.

  22. A special educator and speech and language pathologist work together to develop, implement, and revise IEPs for students that are overlap on their caseloads. These roles also work together to develop curriculum to make it more inclusive of all learning styles. They can also work together on school-wide behavioral RTI or PBIS programs. Additionally, these roles can collaborate when one needs additional resources or advice to best serve a student’s needs.
    There are a few similarities between a special educator’s and speech and language pathologist’s scope of practice. Both roles work with students that need additional support aside from their general education. Both roles pull small groups or work one-one-one with students. Both roles can also do push-in services. Both types of educators can teach in similar ways. They can both be working on skills like comprehension and story-retelling.They also are responsible for developing and implementing IEP’s for their caseload. Both types of educators are working towards specific goals for their student. There are some differences between the two roles. SLP’s work with a set of specific disorders related to communication whereas special educators usually work with the full range of disorders. SLP’s have a more specialized field of expertise and special educators have a broader range of expertise.

  23. A special educator and a speech and language pathologist should work together to meet the needs of the student. In a perfect world, if they could be able to meet regularly because it would be helpful. The special educator should be aware of what goes on with the SLP and the SLP should be aware of what the special educator is doing. They should be communicating with each other regularly about the students. Even if it is through emails or texts. Communication is important for them to work together but they also could bounce ideas off each other. They see the students in different settings so would have different insights in to the students. So I think that if they are willing to share their observations of the students with each other too, it’d be great. I think also sharing the goals they have for the student with each other and coming up with goal together can be helpful.

    Some of the similarities in their scope of practice is that they are both trying to get the student’s needs met. They are there to help the students succeed in the least restrictive environment. They also both work on helping the student meet their IEP goals. They both are involved in meeting common core standards as well.

    Some of the differences between the two is that the SLP is more focused on the communication piece and literacy and special educator is more curriculum based for all core content areas. The SLP is more one on one or small group, while the special educator is more in the classroom or in a self contained classroom.

  24. When I was working as a long-term sub in a self-contained room this past school year, I got a chance to work closely with the High Schools Speech and Language Pathologist. I never got the opportunity to sit in on the private sessions she would have with small groups of students in class, but once a week she would come into my classroom and work with the entire class. Having the SLP come to my class once a week meant that I had to personally make sure that I had time set aside that day for her to come in and do her group project/activity. We would always communicate with each other the morning of, when she would be coming in to make sure we had an ample amount of time to do the group activity/project that day.

    Communication was our biggest strength. Special Educators and SLP’s should always be talking to one another and be open to communication in the classroom. The SLP would always run the activity/project in the class, and I would go around helping and instructing the other students. In many ways it felt like we were co-teaching in class. It was very important that we collaborated with one another to show the students how to successfully work together.

    Communication and Collaboration are always a huge part of any classroom. Both Special Educators and SLP’s have the same ultimate goal(s). To help nurture and educate students and help them reach their potential and their own goals. Everything we did was to benefit them, and I saw some of what we did in class to effectively work together in this article.

  25. Within my school district, collaboration of educators and specialist is a goal that we often reflect on. Successful collaboration ensures that the students has the ability to reach his or her full potential. With a Special Educator and a SLP, this collaboration can effect how the student is using their communication skills in the whole class setting. They can compare and contrast how successful the student is doing with these skills when one on one with the SLP and in a classroom with their peers.

    Communication between a Special Educator and an SLP is also important when thinking about parental involvement. They need to work together to ensure that a students IEP goals are SMART for the IEP meeting when they are presented to the TEAM, including the parents. They can collaborate to keep the parents involved on the student’s progress with communication skills.

  26. In order for students with various communication disorders to be successful, it is crucial for the special educators and speech pathologists to collaborate and communicate on a frequent basis. During my student teaching experiences, the speech pathologist was able to provide a more detailed explanation about what was occurring with the students I had with language impairments or communication disorders. One of the students with Cerebral Palsy was non-verbal and required the use of a communication device in order to express her needs. Therefore, it was critical that my cooperating teacher and I work with her to utilize the assistive device so that she could become successful using it.

    I also learned from this article and through my own experiences that speech pathologists and special educators must work together to develop IEP’s, test children on IEP’s or who are being considered for services, and often collaborate with one another as part of the educational team. They must also work together to update parents on the student’s progress. In my student teaching experiences, I saw a great example of special educators and speech pathologists working together on a daily basis. As a future special educator, I understand how much of a necessity it is that all members collaborate in order to help meet the student’s needs and be successful in school.

  27. It is so important that the special educator and the SLP work together in schools in order for students to be successful. Students who have a communication disorder are going to have issues in school that need close monitoring for progress among many individuals rather than just one. The SLP has an expertise in communication disorders and can identify helpful ways to assist the child more specifically than a special educator likely could. A students educational team will include both the special educator as well as the SLP, therefore these two individuals should be on the same page as far as understanding their student and the students goals. Since the SLP will have more specific information on exactly what the student needs in school, the special educator should value this opinion and proceed with this input. The regular education teacher should also be very involved in this process as well. As a regular education teacher, you are working with this student for such a large portion of the day and this professional should have a full understanding of how exactly this student learns best.

  28. Special educators and SLPs have some similarities in their scope of practice that are different from each other and others that overlap but which might be used differently by each professional. Special educators have expertise in curriculum, behavior management, and IEP development, while the SLP has knowledge about individual language and communication development, language/communication disabilities, and individualized intervention strategies. Collaboration between a SLP and special educator is important to the student’s progress and success. Integrating the materials and information being addressed in the classroom into speech sessions can help students make connections to areas being addressed and then generalizing the information from speech therapy into the classroom. It is important for the special educator to be aware of what the student is working on speech therapy and how those areas may impact their classroom performance and also the student’s progress towards IEP goal and objectives.

  29. It is very important that the SLP and the special educator work together. If the teacher has a student with a language disorder, the SLP can help that teacher with suggestions to use in the classroom. Typically, the SLP will take children in a small group or in a one on one setting. This is crucial for those who learn best in a small group setting. If a child has a speech disorder the SLP can work on lessons similar to what is going on in the classroom (ex. spelling/vocabulary words or reading aloud). I personally would be lost with out my SLP, she has given me so many tips and strategies that work wonders with my students.

  30. I believe it is extremely important for both the special educator and the SLP to work hand in hand. A child who has a communication disorder or even just a communication difference is going to benefit from the strategies a SLP can provide. Without the SLP those strategies would either not be known or may take longer to find. The SLP needs to be able to work collaboratively with the Special Educator and find out what day to day areas are the most impacted. The SLP is most likely not with the child as much as the Special Educator is and can learn a lot about the child’s daily behavior, interests and struggles from the Special Educator. They will work best if neither person tries to “know more than the other.” The child’s best interest always needs to be in the forefront and both need to be constantly working toward growth for the child. This may mean that the SLP does some one on one in the beginning but the goal needs be be to eventually move to small group. Then once in small group sessions the goal moves to being whole group. This progression continues and the SLP may not be needed for direct instruction as much because the child has the tools needed. The Special Educator can continue monitoring so there is no backsliding as well. If there is not a SLP in your school is it ok for teachers to reach out to one and ask them to be part of a team for a child so they can possibly get some of the strategies to use?

  31. A special educator and a speech and language pathologist can achieve so much when they work together. They have many similarities and even some differences. Both participate with the RTI environment. They work with student’s who are struggling in a certain aspect of their schooling. Both work with other team members, such as an IEP team, to work on positive strategies to best provide assistance for a child who is struggling academically. This could be through communication, which could require special education services. The difference with this however, is the SLP works with the development of the programs while the teacher utilizes them and works with the child on obtaining specific goals. Both the teacher and SLP can work on these modifications and/or accommodations.
    Planning lessons/programs with differentiated instruction to best fit a child’s individual needs is another similarity they both hold. Both professionals need to be able to communicate and work well with a team. They use small group strategy and can even co-teach and use one another’s strategies, which can benefit the child immensely. One may see a better teaching method for a specific child and utilize it in the future, that type of feedback could be incredibly useful. By having both an SLP and a special educator in the school, you are able to generalize better. A change of setting, environment, and even people around them can make all the difference.
    Both the educator and SLP keep data and make notations on the child’s behavior and academics. Data is key! They both keep the parents in the loop so the child does not fall back and helps the family to understand what is going on/what will be happening in their child’s life, especially developmentally. Lastly, both use the common core standards within their lessons/programs. They have many similarities that can benefit the school setting. I feel there are more similarities and benefits than there are differences.

  32. What I found interesting about this article is that SLP’s not only work with individual students, but also work with the teacher in developing classroom objectives. We have an SLP at our school that comes once a week; I’ve walked in the room and have listened/viewed in on their interactions but never really understood what the reason was behind it for certain students. I’ve had a few homeroom students that required these services and have seen IEP goals and quarterly progress notes. What I feel I could also do myself is be more inquisitive with the SLP in the student’s progress more in detail and better understand how the objectives were developed. I feel that many other students could benefit from working with her as they tend to speak very fast, stutter, and require more clarity when they speak

    • I love that the blog has encouraged you to be more inquisitive about the speech pathologist in your school. I find that we each have so much to share that the student we are working with benefit from our collaboration.

  33. Speech and language pathologist teach a lot of the same material as an elementary general education or special education teacher should be teaching. I wish their case loads weren’t so full. I feel the classroom teachers and students could benefit from a SLP coming into the room for even one time a week. It changes things up and can potentially be a new teaching style the kids are exposed to.
    The teacher and SLP can work together to apply the topics. They can discuss what to focus on and reflect on the lessons. The gen. ed. or special ed. teacher can let the SLP know how students continued with the theme and what they continue to struggle with. It’s always great to have another professional in the room to reinforce topics and/or to break up the class into smaller groups.
    Unfortunately, I’ve mainly witnessed the pull out model with SLPs. It’s nothing against them, they just have too many students on their case load and are doing the best they can. Grammar, comprehension, and writing are so important for all students and all students can use extra instruction in them. It would be great if the school could have another SLP teacher teacher to either break up the load so they can both work in classrooms part time or one works in classrooms while the other pulls out.

  34. I am aware that my knowledge of the topic is very limited. However, once I did some research online, I discovered many different things. In my opinion, special educators and speech language pathologists can and should work together. As my peers stated, there are many ways to make that possible. SPL especially would be effective for kids when preparing teaching strategies. Special educators should become a team and efficiently develop ways to capitalize on their separate skill sets. SPL members can help draw a “game plan” for special educators. Additionally, this method would greatly help ESL teachers. Like I’ve stated before, this ongoing is not very widespread in my country, but I would greatly support it if it were to become tangible.

  35. Today Speech and Language Pathologists and Special Educators play many roles as they try to support the children. Speech and Language Pathologist can work together with Special Educator to provide comprehensive language or subject and speech assessments for students. I think SLP may be able to help the students who are having hard time to understand the subject. SLPs can also work with parents and teachers. In that way they can help and provide students what they need. The SLPs may also teach the whole class specific lesson because of expertise in that area with Special Educator. Collaboration is very essential for education.

  36. Collaboration is a key component to ensure the success of a student. Speech and Language Pathologist (SLPs) can work together with Special Educators in order to support student communication skills in the classroom. Together they can come up with effective strategies and techniques during instruction to improve the development of sensory motor skills, language and cognition. They can both also help the general classroom teacher or the lead teacher with mini lessons that are geared to improving a child’s education performance that has a communication disorder. Also, they can work together and confer with parents, administration, and other professionals to develop the goals of a child’s IEP which will promote the child’s educational, physical and social/emotional development.
    After doing some research on the role of a SLP and a special educator it seemed to me that at some point in time the special educator took more of the role of planning activities, modifying work, providing crisis intervention, etc. The SLP took more therapy role that deals with articulation disorders, swallowing, fluency/stuttering problems etc. I think now a SLP joins the classroom more often, especially in the younger grades, to take on more roles and be an active participant in the classroom. Have a special educator and a SLP collaborate can really provide a student with more possibilities and techniques. It seems that Speech and Language Pathologists focus on younger students and collaborate more with the elementary level teachers. Being a secondary Math teacher, is there any way I can reach out to one of my student’s SLP to adapt techniques into my classroom or do I go through the special educator?

    • I would suggest reaching out to the speech and language therapist. The reality is that usually at the upper level of school there are less speech and language pathologists per pupil as there is also a decrease in the population that require those services. The thought is that if we do a good job of intervening in the earlier grades there should be fewer children that still require direct service. There may be strategies that the speech and language pathologist can use to assist the classroom teacher. There may be topics that the therapist could do a workshop on that gives information to the group and opens that conversation between therapist and teacher.

  37. This question reminds me of one we talked about last class- with an in school and out of school SPL. I think the answer should be the same, that the special education teacher and SPL should collaborate with each other and the regular education teacher. In order to work together, they’ll first need the time to work together. As Laura mentioned, the teachers need that collaboration time, especially with the SLPs. I think the collaboration with the special education teacher would be an interesting one. Some speech and language issues a student is having could be interfering with their comprehension of a subject, which would be where the special educator steps in. The SLP could give the special educator steps to work on this with the student, and the special educator could inform the SLP of the classroom learning that the SLP may not always be able to see.

  38. I know that I rely on SLPs in my job at the school for the deaf every day. They have insights into student language and communication that I often don’t see until they share their information with me. Solid teamwork between SLPs and teachers can allow the sharing of vital information and strategies. Students often have a hard time carrying over strategies that they learn during their time with the SLPs into their everyday classes. Collaborating with the SLPs, and communicating with them, allows them to bring content from the classes into their sessions with the students. The students see the connections better, and carry over their strategies more easily. Collaborating also allows the teachers to be aware of strategies so that they can push consistency as well.

    I wish I saw more push-in with the SLPs into the classrooms. They do it frequently in the elementary school, but less often in the secondary program. I think it would allow for more connections and carry-over for the students if they practiced their strategies with the SLPs and teachers in the classroom itself. I also wish that the SLPs were included in every PLC meeting that the teachers have, rather then once a month. I think they could have valuable insights that should be shared during that time, and that would also help them fell like more a part of the educational team within the school. As we have seen, SLPs are far more than speech teachers now, and they have a great deal of knowledge about language and language development that has a large role in the educational setting.

  39. There are many ways in which the special educator and the speech and language pathologist can work together. Communication is a need for all students. Planning together, strategies can be used across the curriculum to enhance the educational experience for all learners. Using small groups and teaching strategies that help students convey and interpret information is a team effort. Working together, not only makes learning more tangible for the student but helps educators make better decisions going forward with instruction. The more effective collaboration that takes place, the better the situation for everyone.
    Both the special educator and the speech and language pathologist are responsible for goals and being part of the educational team.
    There are some differences between the roles of the special educator and the speech and language pathologist. The SLP works more within the development of speech and language in addition to techniques to help improve communication skills. The special educator should work with and use the recommendations of the SLP to keep the support for the student consistent.
    How can a team suggest to the SLP to integrate more into the classroom?

    • Good reflection and question.

      As with most teams feeling a part of the team and not an ancillary part does much to increase the participation with all. Perhaps because my roots began in a specialized school in which the speech and language pathologist was 75% of the time in the classroom I both feel very comfortable and appreciative of how working together with the regular educator and the special educator can make my job more productive and easier. Perhaps a good first step in making this happen is co-teaching a small group with a particular theme. This collaboration for a small amount of time may help to break the ice.

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