Speech Language Pathologists in the public schools serve students with speech and/or language impairments. A speech or language impairment is defined as “a communication disorder, such as stuttering, impaired articulation, a language impairment, or a voice impairment, that adversely affects a child’s educational performance” (C.F.R. §300.8.). Speech and language disorders can also result from a variety of other impairments, including cerebral palsy, cleft palate, hearing loss, autism, learning disabilities, and traumatic brain injuries.
Speech Language Pathologists in the public schools must have a master’s degree, have passed a national certification examination, and have completed a year of clinical fellowship. Further, they must be licensed by the state of Texas. For more information, see the Texas State Board of Examiners for Speech Language Pathology and Audiology, http://www.dshs.state.tx.us/speech/sp_rules.shtm
Speech Language Pathology Assistants must have a bachelor’s degree, have completed 25 hours of observation, and must be licensed by the state of Texas. Their practice must be supervised by a licensed, certified Speech Language Pathologist. For more information, see the State Board of Examiners for Speech Language Pathology and Audiology, http://www.dshs.state.tx.us/speech/sp_ppsuper.shtm.
The Speech Language Pathologist in the public schools may provide many roles for students with speech and language impairments, including evaluation, IEP development, and intervention. They also may provide screening and prevention services, collaboration with other instructional personnel, and training and professional development. Speech Language Pathologists may serve students in a variety of ways, including individual, small group, classroom-based, or consultation.
Region VI coordinates technical assistance and provides staff development for individuals who work with students who have speech-language disorders. Technical assistance includes information on best practices, eligibility, and current research that will enable licensed speech pathologists to remain current in their knowledge and skills.
Texas Women’s University, the Texas Education Agency, and participating Education Service Centers collaborate to offer a statewide program providing a master’s degree in speech-language pathology via distance learning. Region VI is participating in the sixth cycle of this program which began in the summer of 2011. Cycle 7 will begin in the summer of 2013.
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