Speech referral vent

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by KinderCowgirl, Oct 14, 2007.

  1. KinderCowgirl

    KinderCowgirl Phenom

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    Oct 14, 2007

    OK - just a warning this is going to be a vent! I work for a very large urban school district and apparently there is a shortage of speech therapists currently being shared by the elementary schools. To try to fix this problem I think they are trying to lesson the caseload (this is not official of course).

    Here is the new procedure for referring a child for speech: 9 weeks of documentation. Every 3 weeks 12 pages of checklists have to be filled out by me and by the parent. Then, if the child is still having issues, we can begin the referral process. So the 2 kids I have with severe speech problems won't be eligible for help at the very least by March. It affects their learning because when they sound out a word to read it or write it, the sound they make isn't a sound they have learned. It's frustrating for them.

    On top of that, many teachers are saying it's too much work and the child will just not be referred (which I believe is the way they are going to alleviate the caseload). It's such a disservice to the kids! The sooner they can get help the better off they usually are. It just eats my lunch! Anyone else run into issues like this?

    Personally, I am very stubborn and will do whatever I need to do. But to try and discourage people from helping kids because of bureaucracy...:mad:
     
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  3. scmom

    scmom Enthusiast

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    Oct 14, 2007

    Sounds like a lawsuit waiting to happen if parents don't think children are getting services they deserve in a prompt manner. Don't the kids have to be tested in X number of weeks if a parent requests it?
     
  4. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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  5. Missy

    Missy Aficionado

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    Oct 14, 2007

    You have my sympathies!

    I also have issues with the speech "services" (I hesitate to dignify it with that term) my students receive.

    I would report this to your union/association. There could be state laws involved in this taking such an extensive period of time.
     
  6. JaimeMarie

    JaimeMarie Moderator

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    Oct 14, 2007

    It's hard to refer a kid in kindergarten here. They always say it's developmental. Besides the fact that the caseload is limited to a certain number of students. Right now I know our SLP can't take in any more kids.
    SIGH I have two I would love to refer.
     
  7. silverspoon65

    silverspoon65 Enthusiast

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    Oct 14, 2007

    I think they are doing the opposite at my sister's school - they have to share a therapist between two schools and I think they are trying to make up more cases so they can justify, and have the units, to hire another one. She has been in speech since kindergarten, and no one in my family really knows why because we don't notice anything. They said she has a slight lisp with S and Z which none of us notice, other than when she has a loose tooth. Now she is in second grade, and really frustrated because she is in the ACE class (gifted group) and she gets pulled out for speech and gets behind. I think my parents are pulling her out at this point... They were supposed to have rectified the situation before the end of kindergarten, and then the therapist left. I told mom legally they have to offer outside therapy if they can't offer it in school since she has an IEP. Oh well. sorry, now I am just venting too.
     
  8. grade2rocks

    grade2rocks Rookie

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    Oct 14, 2007

    We need to try two sets of 8 week "interventions" (16 weeks in all) before beginning the referral process for any type of special ed services, including speech. By the time the entire procedure has worked its way through, the entire school year is over.

    And yes, I too believe this is a way of trying to lighten the special ed caseload.
     
  9. JaimeMarie

    JaimeMarie Moderator

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    Oct 14, 2007

    Isn't that nation wide now. Everyone has to have an RTI program don't they?
     
  10. Danny'sNanny

    Danny'sNanny Connoisseur

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    Oct 14, 2007

    Our SLP's are so overloaded, that only the kids with the really severe speech problems get services. My brother is tounge-tied, and has a "baby-voice" still (2nd grade), but from talking to my friends who are SLP's, I'm worried about him. He can't really grow out of being tounge-tied, and his voice won't be nearly as cute when he hits middle school (and he also has delayed bone growth, so he'll always be the smallest in his class) :(
     
  11. kcjo13

    kcjo13 Phenom

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    Oct 14, 2007

    What irritates me is when you finally get a kid in the system, then they don't get served as often as they are supposed to be. I have a kid with a severe lisp who is supposed to get 30 minutes a week (not enough if you ask me), and he has been seen 3 times this year. Every time I send him, he comes back and says she is busy, and to come next week. Trust me, I've complained, but nothing is being done by admin.
     
  12. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Oct 15, 2007


    Have the parents complained? I bet that would get a bit more attention.
     
  13. ruralneteach

    ruralneteach Rookie

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    Oct 15, 2007

    I think you are right about lightening caseloads because of the shortage of speech paths. I think the referral process is assinine. I don't hear speech impairments unless they are huge. My team teacher last year did and we began the process for one little guy. It turned out that he was too young .... by three months.

    My biggest complaint is that I'm not trained for speech so to do an intervention is a joke. I don't have a clue what to do. One of the strategies we are to employ is a visual cue. Huh? When I asked about this, I was told it could simply be tugging on my earlobe when he said his r wrong.

    I'd like to tug on someone's ear!
     
  14. KinderCowgirl

    KinderCowgirl Phenom

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    Oct 17, 2007

    Thanks for your responses guys! I guess it's like that everywhere. This is a new system for us - we used to be able to refer a child just for speech automatically, even in Pre-K. We'd have forms to fill out and had to have an ARD, but that's all. So it will be an adjustment.

    I don't like the intervention part either. I have never had any training on specific ways to help a child's pronunciation. One of the things on my list is tape record all assignments and instructions. Who has time to do that and it's not a listening issue, we know the hearing is fine - I just don't understand how doing that for 9 weeks is going to help their speaking ability. It's just so time-consuming. I haven't even finished the first assessment for one of them yet - it's 12 pages!
     
  15. classemom

    classemom Rookie

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    Oct 17, 2007

    UUGHH!!!!!! I know what you are feeling....I am a new teacher in Texas too!!!!! I was wondering if all the red tape (when you are just trying to get a child the help they need) was just in my district...but maybe it is statewide, or even nationwide....needless to say my bubble has been busted, all this time I thought I would actually be able to help a child by giving them what they need~instead, I get told we can't do this and not to do that...oh, but I guess I am still the one who will be held accountable! So frustrating!!!!!!!!!!
     
  16. shouldbeasleep

    shouldbeasleep Enthusiast

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    Oct 19, 2007

    OK Let's do the math.

    Special Ed kids, even speech/language kids, are coded and subgrouped as far as scores go on the No Child Left Behind reports made to the government. These subgroups are having trouble meeting annual goals toward that amazing 100% passing at grade level that's supposed to occur in a few years.
    But if you can hide those kids in the general population, the subgroup failure rate is less significant. So you become a "passing school system".

    Now if you're a good manipulator of data, you make it very hard to add more students to the special ed. subgroup. Viola! Your school is progressing! You meet Annual Yearly Progress! Your failing subgroup numbers are decreasing!

    And in just a few short years, nobody will be in Special Ed, because everybody will be on grade level and will not be "left behind".

    In our district, they just eliminated speech pathology by declaring it to be a "health" issue. It apparently needs to be addressed by the parents with their family doctor. I wonder which subgroup will be the next to go?
     
  17. rogue0208

    rogue0208 Companion

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    Oct 20, 2007

    I am shocked, completely shocked and mortified and irritated about all these things I read from other states. I'm a Coordinator of Special Needs and my job is to get the kids referred, get them evaluated, go to the meetings and fight (aka advocate) if need be for what is appropriate for them.

    Haven't any of these states heard of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act? Some of the principles of IDEA are:

    ~Zero Reject - Schools must educate each student with regard to the type and extent of the child's exceptionality. If their speech impairment is affecting the way they learn (which it often can i.e. how can a child with an articulation problem learn phonemic awareness if their phonemes don't sound correct?), then they are not receiving the education that is appropriate to their exceptionality.

    ~Free and Appropriate Public Education - Schools must tailor a student's education to the student's individual needs and capacities. Same example as above.

    ~Due Process - Do the parents know how inappropriate these schools are acting? Do they agree that their kid needs more help? Form a unification with the parents and empower them to fight this fight because they are really the only ones that can do it. Schools hate to admit it, but parents have A LOT of power when it comes to these things. Unfortunately, parents don't know they have a lot of power, so they often bend over for the school because they don't know they can fight them.

    This is one of the reasons why I love working in NY. I'm sure that we have some problems, but overall, our Spec. Ed. system is pretty good. There needs to be some reforms in teh rest of the country though because our kids are suffering. :(
     
  18. Li'lrabbit

    Li'lrabbit Rookie

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    Oct 20, 2007

    Outraged is right, and I am too. However, the stories above are the norm in the United States. The situation is in response to provisions of the NCLB and various state testing schemes which assume that schools automatically staff kids into SPED so that they can avoid including low performing kids in the annual testing pool.

    Our state actually has a formula that establishes a quota for SPED kids. Once you fill the quota, you have to throw a kid out of special ed before you can bring in a new one.

    NCLB directly contradicts IDEA, but NCLB trumps IDEA. Fail to comply with IDEA and you may get sued, and you might lose. But if you fail to comply with NCLB, you lose your funding immediately. Moreover, the funding formula of NCLB gives you one helluva good defense against the IDEA suit.

    Bottom line, the government has declared war on public education and we are squarely in the crossfire.
     

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