One of the many ways speech language pathologists (SLPs) support students who have communication needs is by serving as vital members of their IEP teams. An individualized education program (IEP) is a written statement that describes a child’s present levels of performance, learning goals, school placement, and services. But the IEP is much more than just a statement, it’s a living legal document designed to ensure a student’s access to education and help the student thrive. IEP teams can include general and special education teachers, special service providers like OTs and SLPs, parents, students, administrators, and even advocates or attorneys.
Here’s a refresher on the responsibilities SLPs have as a critical part of the IEP team, including details about IEP meetings, assessments, reporting and timelines.
SLP Roles and Responsibilities
As a member of the IEP team, the SLP must:
- Conduct a thorough assessment in the area(s) of concern
- Write a detailed assessment report that team members will clearly understand
- Discuss assessment findings and recommendations with case manager and other team members prior to the meeting
- Have all necessary information uploaded into the IEP system in advance
- Discuss and describe student’s present levels of functioning (including strengths and needs) during the IEP meeting
- Respond to any questions or concerns expressed by any team member, including the parent
- Share eligibility, goal and service recommendations and make adjustments based on IEP team member input
- Collaborate with other team members to determine best plan of action prior to and after the assessment
Daily IEP Responsibilities of the SLP
- Check and answer emails
- Review status of each assessment
- Follow up with case managers as necessary on rating scales, interview, teacher feedback, IEP dates, etc.
- Use student IEP information system for assessment assignments and follow-up with the case contact if access has not been granted to the IEP
Weekly Responsibilities of the SLP
- Review upcoming IEPs; ensure you have drafted reports, PLPs, and goals; and send to lead
- For upcoming IEPs: Touch base with case managers regarding outcome of assessments and recommendations and meeting dates/times
- Input IEP information and upload reports as applicable
- Keep inventory of protocols and request additional protocols
- Check in with your SLPAs to identify upcoming IEPs to ensure you receive information in advance
- Submit completed reports once the IEP has been held
IEP Timeline for Assessments
SLPs must follow designated timelines for IEP assessments. For example, in the state of California:
- Assessments and reports must be completed, and the IEP meeting held within 60 calendar days from the date the signed assessment plan is received by a school
- Timelines pause and re-start again only during off-track time and when school vacations exceed five consecutive days
- If requested by the parent, the school must provide assessment reports to the parent within five working days before the date of the IEP meeting
While SLP duties and requirements may vary across locations and positions, this should give SLPs a general idea of expectations regarding IEPs. Although it can feel like a lot to keep up with, developing a system, learning from colleagues and gaining experience will help! And the effort is well worth the reward of seeing your students succeed.
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