At this time of year, many schools assess the progress their students have made, and in turn re-assess their materials needs. Some students are making excellent progress in therapy and some may have already been discharged from articulation therapy, using Speech Buddies and other evidence-based materials. But, as we know from a seminal study I often cite (Jacoby, 2002), 28% of kids make little to no progress in even an extended regimen of therapy.
I have had the pleasure of working with Justina Heintz, M.S. CCC-SLP, an SLP with Northside Independent School District (NISD) in San Antonio, Texas. This school district is not only one of the largest in Texas but is one of the top thirty largest school districts in the United States. They approached Speech Buddies with the primary aim of reducing caseloads. And in order to justify such a large-scale adoption of Speech Buddies Tools the district, under the supervision of Ms. Heintz, undertook a pilot study to determine the effect of Speech Buddies Tools on the districts’ caseloads. Ms. Heintz presented her findings at the 2015 annual convention of the Texas Speech-Language-Hearing Association. Recently, I had a chance to speak at length with her about this study. She shared some updates: about how the first year of Northside’s district-wide Speech Buddies Tools adoption program progressed, about the impact that Speech Buddies Tools are already having on reducing clinician caseloads, and about how Northside SLPs are improving the lives of the children of NISD.
If you have a child with a speech or communication disorder, one of the best things you can do is work with the school to become a partner for your child’s future. When you consider yourself as a teammate for your child’s teachers, you can help your child succeed in school – and in life. Continue reading