Revised Speech/Language Eligibility Criteria
Beth McKerlie, CCC-SLPMSHA Past President, NKC SchoolsPat Jones, CCC-SLPMSHA President-Elect, Liberty SchoolsDiane Cordry Golden, Ph.D., CCC-AudMO-CASE Retired
Only one of two states still using “cognitive referencing” (comparing IQ-language scores)Most all states use deficit model (1.75 to 2.0 SD)In overall language, not discreet parts (e.g. syntax)Workgroup of MSHA, MO-CASE, Higher Education, DESE and local district stakeholders establishedMet 2016-17 and developed recommendations to DESE that included revisions to all speech and language criteriaIncluded in proposed State Plan (2017) but could not finalize in 2018 without State Board quorumAgain in 2018 included in proposed State Plan and State Board approved February 2019, in rule makingNew State Plan effective July –August 2019?
Initial Eligibility Criteria Proposed Revisions
Proposed revisions for INITIAL eligibility criteria under IDEA (State Plan rules) for all 4 speech-language areas:LanguageSound SystemVoiceFluencyNot eligibility criteria for re-evaluation and determination of continued need for special educationNot eligibility criteria for determination of need for speech-language as related service
A language impairment is present when a comprehensive communication assessment documents all of the following:(1) The language impairment adversely affects the student’s educational performance as documented bylack of response to evidence based interventionsdesigned to support progress in thegeneral education curriculum.Intent is to ensure RTI, MTSS type general education interventions have been implemented before consideration for IDEA eligibility. Apply to all SL eligibility criteria.Can be curricular interventions (e.g. reading) and/or speech-language specific interventions. Can be implemented by any appropriate provider, teacher, para, SLP-A, SLP, etc.
(2) The student’s overall language functioning is significantly below age expectations as measured bytwo or more composite standard scores on standardized language assessments.The composite language score reflects both receptive and expressive language function in a single standard score.Significantly below is defined as 1.75 standard deviations below the mean for students who are kindergarten age eligible and older.A public agency may accept a composite score allowing for the standard error of measurement when the criterion is met on the other composite score.The agency may adopt written procedures for utilization of reasonable variances that enable a student to meet the standard score criterion in highly unique situations such as English Learners.
New straight deficit of 1.75 SD below the mean replaces cognitive reference comparison or discrepancy metric for K-12 students. IQ scores no longer required.Requires 2 overall language composite scores below the new criterion. Overall scores include both global receptive and expressive language – NOT scores in discreet areas (e.g. semantics or syntax).Allows for some variance in meeting 1.75 criterion level including SEM and unique situations such as EL students.
Young child with a developmental disability criteria (communication area) shall be used for eligibility determinations for children who are 3 to 5 years of age but not yet kindergarten eligible.Continues useof YCDD deficit levels of 2 SD in communication or 1.5 paired with another developmental area for eligibility of children aged 3-5 (not yet K eligible).This is NOT a change from current criteria as it only applies to K and older. Some commenters requested use of 1.75 instead of 2.0 for “communication” making that area different from all others for YCDD.
(3) The student consistently displays inappropriate or inadequate language that impairs communication in the student’s educational environment as documented by structured qualitative procedures such as a formal a language sample, classroom observations, curriculum based assessments, teacher/parent checklists/interviews or other clinical tasks.Intent is to have authentic assessment beyond normed referenced scores that documents language impairment that adversely impacts educational performance in the school environment.
(4) The language deficit is not primarily the result of dialectal differences or second language influence.Unchanged – although this exclusion remains challenging to implement related to EL students.
Sound System Disorder
A Sound System Disorder, which includes articulation and/or phonology, is present when:(1) The Sound System Disorder adversely affects the student’s educational performanceas documented by lack of response to evidence based interventions designed to support progress in the general education curriculum,Intent is to ensure general education interventions have been implemented before consideration for IDEA eligibility. Can be provided by any appropriate provider including SLP, SLP-A, etc.
Sound System Disorder
(2) The student exhibits asignificantdelay ofat least one yearin correct sound production based on state designated normative data in the table below after administering a single word test and/or a sentence/phrase repetition task and a connected speech sample with consideration given to the type of error recorded (substitutions, omissions, distortions, and/or additions). These errors may be described as single sound errors or errors in phonological patterns.However, If the student does not exhibit a significant delay of at least one year in correct sound production, but there are multiple errors in the sound system which arecollectively so severe that the student’s speech is unintelligible, the public agency may establish the student as having a sound system disorder.
Sound System Disorder
(3) the sound system disorder is not a result of dialectal differences or second language influence.Criterion moved to one year beyond norms plus required lack of response to intervention via non-special education services to ensure student requires “special instruction” for IDEA eligibility.Professional judgement eliminated, replaced with student speech is “unintelligible”. Can be documented as inability to communicate basic wants and needs impacting all environments; likely causing measurable deficits in other areas (social/emotional, developmental, academic, etc.)
Speech (SSD, Voice & Fluency)Adverse Educational Impact Caution!
In court cases, adverse education impact generally defined as ability to learn and perform in the regular classroom/curriculumFor speech, most reasonably documented by overall communicative/intelligibility deficits in classroomCaution identifying adverse impact as “speech calls negative attention to the student with social-emotional adverse impact.”Documenting social-emotional deficit implies intervention services should address that deficit not just speech intervention.
A voice impairment is present when a comprehensive communication assessment documents all of the following :(1) the voice impairment adversely affects the student’s educational performance as documented by lack of response to evidence based interventions designed to support progress in the general education curriculum,(2) the child consistently exhibits deviations in pitch, quality, or volume;
(3) the student's voice is discrepant from the norm as related to his/her age, sex, and culture and is distracting to the listener;(4) the voice impairment is not the result of --a medical condition that contraindicates voice therapy intervention;a temporary condition such as: normal voice changes, allergies, colds, or other such conditions; ora dialectal difference or second language influence.Intent for schools to establish policy to address medical clearance for voice therapy.
A fluency impairment is present when a comprehensive assessment documents all of the following:(1) the fluency impairment adversely affects the student’s educational performance as documented by lack of response to evidence based interventions designed to support progress in the general education curriculum,(2) the student’s fluency is significantly below the norm as measured by speech sampling in a variety of contexts and impairs communication in the student’s educational environment as documented by structured qualitative procedures such as classroom observations, curriculum based assessments, teacher/parent checklists/interviews, or other clinical tasks.
(3) the student consistently exhibits one of the following symptomatic behaviors of dysfluency:sound, syllabic, or word repetition;prolongations of sounds, syllables, or words;avoidance;blockages; orhesitationsIntent is to have authentic assessment beyond any numeric data that documents fluency impairment that adversely impacts educational performance in the school environment.
Data Based Analysis
Several large districts participated in work groupRepresentative of DESE, MO-CASE, MASP, schools based SLPs, and MSHAApplied new criteria to 1200 evaluations wondering if flood gates would openResult: not significantly different in number of students eligible, shift in type
Missouri S/L Handbook Update
MSHA received an ASHA State Association Grant in 2017Handbook work group 2017-2018Purpose:Improve outcomes for childrenIncrease consistency across stateEnsure alignment with local, state, federal practicesEnsure access to evidence-based practicesPublished November 1, 2018Lives on MSHA website/DESE link in proposed State Planhttps://dese.mo.gov/sites/default/files/webinar/documents/se-state-plan-part-b-msha-handbook_0.pdfQ&A -https://dese.mo.gov/sites/default/files/webinar/documents/se-state-plan-part-b-speech-language-eligibility-criteria-q-and-a.pdf
Missouri S/L Handbook Update
Future DirectionsFeedback was solicited from MSHA members and nonmembersSolicit feedback from current presentations (MO-CASE Collaborative Conference and MSHA Convention)Immediate revisions needed to include forms/checklists/examples for purposes of MTSS procedures and documentation
Contact for questions:Beth McKerliebeth.firstname.lastname@example.orgPat Jonespat.email@example.comDiane Cordry Goldendiane.firstname.lastname@example.org