This is an abstract from the Roles and Responsibilities of Speech-Language Pathologists with Respect to Literacy in Children and Adolescents in California CSHA position paper updated as of October 18, 2018.
Language disorders and language-learning disabilities may significantly impact all components of reading and writing. Educators, special educators, and parents in California have placed more emphasis on this fact in recent years. With increased national and state legislative focus on literacy, speech-language pathologists (SLPs) have both a challenge and opportunity to contribute to literacy development. This position paper and resource guide addresses the SLPs’ roles and responsibilities with respect to literacy development in children and adolescents in California.
SLPs are highly trained in both spoken language (listening and speaking) and written language (reading and writing). Our unique understanding of the systems of language (phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics, and pragmatics) and their use in oral and written forms is the foundation for our consultation and collaboration with interdisciplinary team members through a variety of language-literacy service delivery models. SLPs play a critical role in literacy development in children and adolescents through providing direct assessment and intervention services and through collaborating with families, teachers, and other professionals in special education and general education settings.
With the passing of the California Assembly Bill No. 1369 regarding dyslexia approved by Governor Jerry Brown on October 8, 2015, it is very timely to clarify the role of SLPs as members on literacy teams. The law requires the Superintendent of Public Instruction to develop program guidelines for dyslexia by the beginning of the 2017-2018 academic year to be used to assist regular education teachers, special education teachers, and parents in the identification and assessment of students with dyslexia and to “plan, provide, evaluate, and improve” educational services to these students. The program guidelines are to be developed in consultation with teachers, school administrators, parents, and other educational and medical professionals involved in the identification and education of students with dyslexia. They are required to include characteristics typical of dyslexia and strategies for their remediation. In addition, the guidelines will include information to assist educators in distinguishing between dyslexia and normal development.
This position paper and resource guide outlines SLPs’ key roles and responsibilities and is designed to be utilized as a guide in supporting literacy development in school-age children and adolescents with language disorders and language-learning disabilities (LLDs). It is loaded with charts and lists for easy access to useful resources, references, tips, and strategies. This document covers the impact of LLDs on reading and writing, prevention and early identification of risk factors, assessment, and intervention. We hope that this sparks more conversations, sharing of information, and inter-professional practice as we combine our strengths with other team members to support children and adolescents in developing literacy skills.
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