Tips for Drafting IEPs

Tips for Drafting IEPs

Individualized Education Program (IEP) School Speech Therapist Speech Therapy Techniques

Often, the beginning of the school year means drafting new Individualized Education Program (IEP) goals or updating older ones. This post is dedicated to tips on how you can get your students’ IEPs to best reflect their highest priority needs and make clinical gains this school year.

Write a Specific IEP

As you’re probably aware, an Individualized Education Program (IEP) is a legal document. What’s included in it and signed by school district officials, therapists and parents binds the school district to providing services to meet the listed goals. If you strongly believe, in your informed clinical opinion as per a comprehensive evaluation, that a child would benefit from a particular methodology, it would be a good idea to include the specific name of that methodology. In pragmatics, this could include principles of social thinking; in auditory processing disorders, this could include dedicated software applications; in articulation, this could include PROMPT or tactile biofeedback (e.g. Speech Buddies Tools). Whatever methodology you include in an IEP goals list should be supported in the research literature and be drawn from a clear therapeutic rationale, based on your comprehensive assessment or extensive experience with that child.

What Does a Speech and Language Therapist Do?

Coordinate with Other Child Therapy Services

Because a child’s therapy services are part of a more holistic plan for his or her educational development, it’s important to coordinate goal drafting, especially those highest priority goals, with other members of that child’s team: other therapists, teachers and even parents. In other words, a particular goal or set of goals may, from a purely say language development standpoint, be most urgent. However, considering the current and future demands of a child’s curriculum, another set of goals may be more pressing. For Example, Rory at age 7 could be notably delayed in acquiring those frequently used irregular past tense verbs. While this could be the most obviously delayed part of his profile, his ELA teacher has told you that the coming semester will place a strong burden on his narrative skills. In order to parallel your work with that of the classroom, it may be indicated to modify your goals so Rory can get the most out of the coming unit in his ELA class. This I’ve found to be especially important when working with middle schoolers and high schoolers; they tend to not want speech and language services to be removed from their other academic work. It’s important that we respond to the student’s current educational life.

Errors in IEPs

I cannot tell you how often I’ve reviewed IEP goals and seen blatant errors. I’ve seen cases where the name on the front page of the IEP didn’t match the name listed on the IEP goals; I’ve seen grammatical gender errors (he vs she, etc.) and goals from other disciplines (e.g. OT and counseling and even remedial academic domains) included in the areas meant for speech and language goals. I’ve seen goals that simply make no sense in the context of a child’s true needs. Make sure you a give any IEP you are writing a thorough once-over before drafting your own goals. and if you’re reviewing an IEP written by another therapist and the content of the goals simply doesn’t match the needs of that child, consider amending the IEP.

I don’t need to tell you that the IEP is our principal guiding document. Given its importance, the above tips can provide act as a useful guide for how to maximize the effectiveness of an IEP. We at Speech Buddies wish you the best of luck as we all together embark on another great school year.

4 Reasons to Supplement your School Speech Therapy with Private Therapy

4 Reasons to Supplement your School Speech Therapy with Private Therapy

School Speech Therapist Speech Therapy Techniques

There are many wonderful, publicly funded options for your family’s speech therapy services. These could come in the form of speech and language therapy provided by your local Early Intervention (EI) program, the Committee on Preschool Special Education (CPSE) administered by your local school district, or from services provided directly to your child in his or her public school or via something called a Related Service Authorization (RSA). You may also have access to services funded in whole or in part by your health insurance plan. No matter who is providing your school speech therapy, you may want to consider supplementing those services, where possible. Here are 4 reasons that these extra services may have a profound impact on your child’s development, and could be a smart investment in your child’s future.


School speech therapy services, or those provided by other public pay sources are invaluable to your child, your family, to society in general. But because of budgetary pressures, school districts and other public payers do not allow for parents to choose which speech-language pathologist their child can see. This is of course unfortunate as so much of any therapy relationship is based on a “good fit” between your child and the speech therapist. Private speech therapy services have the added benefit of allowing you maximum choice. Speech Buddies Connect gives you choice based on many different therapists in your local area so you can decide what is most important to you. Is it the speech therapist’s level of experience or qualifications with a particular speech or language challenge? Is it convenience in terms of schedule or location? No matter your priorities, you have your choice in finding the best speech-language pathologist (SLP) for your family.


Undivided Attention

In the case of school speech therapy in kindergarten and elementary school, services are most often provided in groups of 3
students, and sometimes up to 5 or more students. Again, this is primarily due to strains on the resources of the public school system; there are simply too many students in need of speech and language therapy for the number of speech therapists on staff.Benefits of speech therapy
This of course means that for every 30-minute session your child receives, he or she is only really getting 10 minutes of direct intervention that is specifically tailored to your child’s Individualized Education Program (IEP) goals but is still missing that full 30 minutes of class time. I have had clients who have preferred to decline school speech therapy to work privately instead because of this very issue. Now I wouldn’t necessarily recommend you decline school-based services, particularly if your child is working on overcoming a language-based learning challenge. But private speech therapy does provide undivided attention which may provide a stronger learning environment for your child.



Public payers of speech therapy services also tend to offer reduced convenience in terms of where services take place. In the case of EI, services are almost always performed in the child’s home or day care facility. Very rarely do they approve services in the provider’s office. In the case of school-funded preschool speech and language therapy, there is more flexibility but in many cases, the school administrator will dictate whether services are conducted in the provider’s place of business. Depending on how contracts with the provider agencies and the local school district are structured, they may ask you to travel sometimes long distances to your speech therapy lessons. Private therapy allows you to choose your speech therapist for maximum personal convenience. And with our lives often so hectic these days, this benefit is not to be underestimated!


Another Hand on Deck

Speech and language development is incredibly important to a child’s whole course of life – there simply is no other way to put it. The sheer weight of this importance can be enough for parents to seek additional support for their children. Also, for many children, having another professional communication partner can be invaluable. You will also have another member of your team: someone who you can bounce ideas off of and someone whose experience could be a powerful complement to the team you already have in place. So if you feel that your child could you a boost and you already have public speech therapy services in place, it may be time to consider finding a local speech therapist through Speech Buddies Connect.


Parents' Guide to Speech Therapy in School

School Speech Therapy in East Harlem

School Speech Therapy in East Harlem


Guest post! Felicia B. an SLP for City Sounds of NY, joins us this week to give us an inside look at school speech therapy in a Charter School in East Harlem, NY.

I work for City Sounds of NY, a pediatric based speech-language pathology center serving the New York metropolitan area. We provide contracted services to DOE students, which has allowed me the opportunity to work in a New York City Charter School in East Harlem, NY. Our school’s core values of courage, service, originality, humility, achievement, leadership, and reflection promote not only academic improvement, but also positive behavior. A strong sense of community connects the school with the parents through family engagement events. Collaboration is very important, and parents, teachers, and administrators work together to best support the needs of our scholars in and outside of the classroom.

Photo by Fett
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How to pay for Speech Therapy? 3 Families, 3 Approaches

How to pay for Speech Therapy? 3 Families, 3 Approaches

Financial Resources

Particularly since the Great Recession of 2008-2009, the public options available to parents to cover the costs of speech therapy have been gradually tightening. I have seen many children in my practice who previously would easily qualify for services, but now are turned away, making the question of “how to pay for speech therapy” even more challenging.

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