MGSE Learning Interventions Forum #2: Perceptions of special education teachers, and the usefulness of speech language pathology (SLP) reports in practice

L613, Level 6 Melbourne Graduate School of Education 100 Leicester Street University of Melbourne

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Suzy Owens

Sharon Klieve will present on a study which investigated the perceptions of special education teachers regarding the usefulness of speech language pathology (SLP) reports in relation to their practice and how they support students with learning difficulties and disabilities in the classroom.  Special education teachers were included in the present study as they, along with regular teachers, are often primarily responsible for implementing report recommendations in all aspects of curriculum planning and learning support.

To enable students with LD to achieve their full educational potential, speech pathologists are often involved in undertaking assessments and writing recommendations. Ideally speech language pathologists would be integrated into school systems to allow for close collaboration. For many schools a consultative service model is often the reality, with SLPs providing guidance through assessment and reporting processes such as a formal report. The responsibility for implementing SLP recommendations and programs is often given to parents and the school (Nelson, 1989). Carson et al. (2013), found that indirect methods implemented by a SLP, such as consultation, can enhance teachers’ classroom language and literacy instruction.  The successful blending of SLPs’ expertise of language structure and development with teachers’ expertise of literacy curriculum and instruction has been shown to enhance the provision of explicit and differentiated oral and written language instruction (Kamhi et al., 2001; Squires et al., 2013).

The outcomes of the assessments undertaken and subsequent recommendations can be useful for classroom decision-making, implementation and identification of individual support strategies. However, if recommendations are to be acted upon, it is critical that the educational professional can fully understand the report and see its relevance to the classroom and the student’s learning within that context. (Fletcher, Hawkins & Thornton, 2015)

A review of the literature has found there is limited research relating to speech-language reports or how teachers assessed the effectiveness and utility of these reports. This would appear to be a major gap in our knowledge. Therefore, this study investigated perceptions held by teachers regarding the value of the reports and explored the way the reports are used. The research sought suggestions from the teachers regarding existing processes, potential improvements and their views on the aspects of the speech and language reports that were most beneficial to their planning and support.

Sharon Klieve

Sharon Klieve (MEd, GDipArts (Ling), MSpPath) is a dual qualified Speech-Language Pathologist and teacher whilst also holding an additional specialisation as a Teacher of the Deaf.  Sharon is a registered teacher with the Victorian Institute of Teaching and a certified practicing Speech Pathologist with Speech Pathology Australia.

She has a broad range of experiences, both here and in Ireland, working with children from birth to adolescence.  In addition to working with individual children and families, Sharon has taught in mainstream schools, specialist schools for children who are deaf and hard of hearing and specialist schools for children with language and social difficulties.  She is currently working in a private practice providing school consultation and individualised therapy to students who present with language, literacy and numeracy difficulties.  Alongside her work in private practice she is a lecturer in the Master of Learning Intervention at the University of Melbourne Graduate School of Education with an interest in the oral language underpinnings of literacy, inclusion and support of students with language and literacy difficulties and evidence based intervention for language and literacy difficulties.