Association Adds Caution to Article on Spec. Ed. Costs

Article Tools
  • PrintPrinter-Friendly
  • EmailEmail Article
  • ReprintReprints
  • CommentsComments

To the Editor:

I write in response to the article titled “Mass. For-Profit Helps Schools Trim Special Education Costs” (Education Week, May 25, 2011). The American Speech-Language Hearing Association, or ASHA, is the professional association for 145,000 individuals who are speech-language pathologists; audiologists; and speech, language, and hearing scientists. More than 53,000 of our members, including Peter Bittel, the chief executive officer of Futures Education, which was featured in your article, work in our nation’s schools. ASHA members are acutely aware of shrinking school budgets and the costs of providing special education.

ASHA members are strong advocates for increased funding for the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and innovative service-delivery models.

ASHA’s member guidelines clearly delineate the clinical relationship between a certified speech-language pathologist and an assistant. Federal Medicaid regulations require that any covered services, including school-based Medicaid diagnostic, screening, preventive, or corrective services, be provided by or under the direction of a qualified speech-language pathologist. School districts that fail to do so can be audited and forced to return these funds. Finally, ASHA members are bound to uphold the A S H A code of ethics and could potentially lose their certification for violations to appropriately supervise assistants.

Regarding Dr. Bittel’s comment about “speech therapy for life,” data collected by the U.S. Department of Education show that, of the 12 disability categories, “speech and language impairments” had the highest (by far) dismissal rate in special education between 2000 and 2002 . Dr. Bittel may have been referring to students with multiple and severe disabilities who may need many services in school, at home, and in the community for their entire lives. Speech-language pathologists are the professionals who are educated and credentialed to assess and treat communication disorders and, therefore, should always be involved in the treatment process.

Paul R. Rao
2011 President
American Speech-Language Hearing Association
Rockville, Md.

Vol. 30, Issue 35, Page 28

Published in Print: June 15, 2011, as Association Adds Caution to Article on Spec. Ed. Costs
Related Stories
Notice: We recently upgraded our comments. (Learn more here.) If you are logged in as a subscriber or registered user and already have a Display Name on edweek.org, you can post comments. If you do not already have a Display Name, please create one here.
Ground Rules for Posting
We encourage lively debate, but please be respectful of others. Profanity and personal attacks are prohibited. By commenting, you are agreeing to abide by our user agreement.
All comments are public.

Back to Top Back to Top

Most Popular Stories