Schools Can No Longer Deny Access to Speech-Language Pathology Services for Children with Autism!

Schools Can No Longer Deny Access to Speech-Language Pathology Services for Children with Autism!

Category : Autism , Back to School , Blog

The Department of Education’s NEW Guidance Will Ensure Speech-Language Pathology & Other Services are Available to Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder Under IDEA, Parts B & C

This Center is pleased to share this important information from the U.S. Department of Education (ED) which recently “…issued a new guidance to school systems nationwide recognizing the importance of speech-language pathology services and the necessary role of a speech-language pathologist in both evaluation and treatment of children with [Autism Spectrum Disorder] ASD.” This guidance was issued as there was growing concern that Speech-Language Pathologist and other professionals were not routinely included on the team serving children who were being tested to determine eligibility or at the meetings where the”… individualized education plan (IEP) or individualized family service plan (IFSP) as required under IDEA, Parts B and C, respectively. Part C ensures that eligible infants and toddlers with a disability have access to early intervention services that are designed to meet their developmental needs.” In fact, the Dept. of Education states that applied behavior analysis (ABA) therapists may have been included exclusively and to the EXclusion of Speech-Language Pathologists or other professionals who should/could be on the team contributing and meeting the needs of the children with ASD.

Judith L. Page, PhD, CCC-SLP, 2015 president of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) stated, “We very much appreciate this guidance and believe that it will serve to ensure that children receive the appropriate treatment they deserve based on their individual needs…The specialized education, training and experience of speech-language pathologists make them a key part of the team that evaluates and treats a child with autism spectrum disorder.”

Lorri Unumb, Esq., Autism Speaks Vice President for State Government Affairs stated, “Autism Speaks is pleased to see the Department of Education embrace and confirm its commitment to a collaborative model of treatment for individuals with autism…In the same way that Autism Speaks has, for the last ten years, been actively pursuing insurance reimbursement for a variety of evidence-based therapeutic approaches, we believe that IEP teams also need to consider the full range of needs for each child, including speech-language services.  Many children with autism, including my son, suffer speech difficulties such as apraxia in addition to autism, and a comprehensive intervention program is needed to address these difficulties, with various professionals consulting and interacting with each other. From a policy standpoint, we continue working to ensure that all funding sources, whether through health insurance or the education system, recognize the need for a collaborative approach and appropriately cover the services of all needed professionals.”

To Learn More: 


Autism Speaks:

Florida Department of Education:

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