School-Based Practice: Research and Resources Speech-language pathologists and reading professionals provide educational services to children who are at risk for reading difficulties, although these professions do not necessarily coordinate efforts. But maybe they should. A study from the University of Virginia reports a 25% overlap of speech-language and reading services provided to students in ... Research in Brief
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Research in Brief  |   April 01, 2012
School-Based Practice: Research and Resources
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School-Based Settings / Research in Brief
Research in Brief   |   April 01, 2012
School-Based Practice: Research and Resources
The ASHA Leader, April 2012, Vol. 17, 18-19. doi:10.1044/leader.RIB.17042012.18
The ASHA Leader, April 2012, Vol. 17, 18-19. doi:10.1044/leader.RIB.17042012.18
Overlap in Speech-Language and Reading Services
Speech-language pathologists and reading professionals provide educational services to children who are at risk for reading difficulties, although these professions do not necessarily coordinate efforts. But maybe they should. A study from the University of Virginia reports a 25% overlap of speech-language and reading services provided to students in kindergarten and first grade.
Researchers analyzed a population-level database of reading screening scores from 74,730 kindergartners and 75,088 first-graders in Virginia. They obtained information on the speech-language services these children received; prevalence rates of speech-language impairment, reading risk, and comorbidity were calculated. The distribution of children receiving speech-language services across categories of reading competence was examined.
Findings indicated that 6% of the children received speech-language services and 11.1% of the kindergartners and 13.7% of the first-graders received reading services. One-quarter of the children receiving speech-language services also received reading services. Furthermore, children receiving speech-language services received reading services at twice the rate of children who were not receiving speech-language services in both kindergarten (23.1% vs. 9.1%) and first grade (25.2% vs. 11.3%).
This study provides empirical support for the overlap between SLPs and reading professionals and addresses the need for improved coordination. Visit the January 2012 issue of Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools.
Folic Acid Key to Preventing Language Delay
Maternal folic acid supplementation from four weeks pre-conception to eight weeks post-conception has been linked to a significantly lower prevalence of severe language delay in children, according to a study in Norway.
Researchers analyzed 19,956 boys and 19,998 girls born between 1999 and 2008 to mothers participating in the Norwegian Mother and Child Cohort Study. Researchers used data on children born before 2008 whose mothers returned the three-year follow-up questionnaire by June 2010. Investigators found that 204 children had severe language delay (minimal expressive language or unintelligible utterances). Of the 9,052 children whose mothers took folic acid supplements, severe delays were reported in 81 children (0.9%), but of the 7,127 children whose mothers did take folic acid supplements (B-complex vitamins), severe delays were reported in only 28 children (0.4%).
Researchers indicate that if in future research this relationship were shown to be causal, it would have important implications for understanding the biological processes underlying disrupted neurodevelopment, for the prevention of neurodevelopmental disorders, and for policies of folic acid supplementation for women of reproductive age.
The full study was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
Teens Unaware of iPod Use Risks
Most high school students are unaware of the risks associated with using personal listening devices and need education about hearing health, the warning signs of hearing loss, and how to prevent hearing loss.
Researchers from Auburn University and the University of California Santa Barbara surveyed high school students about hearing health and their perceptions of how they use personal listening devices (PLDs), including iPods, to determine the need, content, and preferred format for educational outreach.
The 83-item descriptive convenience survey was administered to students at a California high school in December 2009 to assess students’ demographics, knowledge of hearing health, perceived use of PLDs, and risk activities.
The response rate was 56%. Most of the students believed that they used PLDs safely. However, responses indicated that many of the respondents’ use of PLDs could put them at risk of injury to themselves or others if they became unaware of their surroundings while listening to PLDs. Some students were knowledgeable about hearing health and safe PLD use, but most needed information about hearing loss and hearing conservation.
The study appears in the January 2012 issue of Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools.
Spotting Dyslexia in Toddlers
Children at risk for dyslexia may show differences in brain activity on MRI scans even before they begin learning to read, according to research from Children’s Hospital Boston. In the study, 36 preschool-age children underwent functional MRI as they performed tasks requiring them to decide whether two words started with the same speech sound. During the phonological tasks, children with a family history of dyslexia showed reduced metabolic activity in certain brain regions when compared with controls matched for age, IQ, and socioeconomic status. In both the at-risk and control groups, children with high activation of frontal brain regions had better pre-reading skills, such as rhyming, identifying letters and letter sounds, knowing when two words start with the same sound, and being able to separate sounds within a word.
“We already know that older children and adults with dyslexia have dysfunction in the same brain regions,” said senior investigator Nadine Gaab of the hospital’s Laboratories of Cognitive Neuroscience. “What this study tells us is that the brain’s ability to process language sounds is deficient even before children have reading instruction.”
The full study is in the online edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (doi:10.1073/pnas.1107721109).
Resources for School-Based Practice

ASHA’s webpages for school-based speech-language pathologists and audiologists include links to dozens of resources.

At ASHA’s Schools webpage, SLPs will find links to practice policy documents, journal articles, Special Interest Groups, survey results, frequently asked questions, and information on response to intervention, caseload/workload, Individuals With Disabilities Education Act, No Child Left Behind, Individual Education Plans, advocacy, salary supplements, and more.

At ASHA’s webpages for school-based audiologists and educational/pediatric audiologists, audiologists will find links to practice policy documents, journal articles, Special Interest Groups, professional and consumer organizations, survey results, and information on classroom acoustics, coding and reimbursement, and many other issues.

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April 2012
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