Schools Forum at Convention Draws 400 Members from across the nation shared challenges and brainstormed strategies on more than 40 topics in roundtable discussions at the 2004 Schools Forum. ASHA’s top leaders also addressed the group, announcing the breaking news of reauthorization for the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Kathleen Whitmire, ASHA’s director of school ... ASHA Convention Coverage
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ASHA Convention Coverage  |   January 01, 2005
Schools Forum at Convention Draws 400
Author Notes
  • Marat Moore, managing editor of The ASHA Leader, can be reached at mmoore@asha.org.
    Marat Moore, managing editor of The ASHA Leader, can be reached at mmoore@asha.org.×
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School-Based Settings / ASHA Convention Coverage
ASHA Convention Coverage   |   January 01, 2005
Schools Forum at Convention Draws 400
The ASHA Leader, January 2005, Vol. 10, 2-19. doi:10.1044/leader.ACC2.10012005.2
The ASHA Leader, January 2005, Vol. 10, 2-19. doi:10.1044/leader.ACC2.10012005.2
Members from across the nation shared challenges and brainstormed strategies on more than 40 topics in roundtable discussions at the 2004 Schools Forum. ASHA’s top leaders also addressed the group, announcing the breaking news of reauthorization for the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Kathleen Whitmire, ASHA’s director of school services, served as moderator of the forum, held Nov. 18 at the ASHA Convention in Philadelphia.
Leadership Reports
“Schools are a priority for ASHA,” said President Larry Higdon as he welcomed the crowd. Of the 100,000 ASHA-certified SLPs, 56% are employed in the schools.
Higdon outlined the Association’s ongoing program work through the 2004 Focused Initiative on school issues, including advocacy and training related to IDEA and No Child Left Behind (NCLB), ongoing literacy activities, promotion of a workload approach to caseloads, and the 2005 Schools Conference set for July 8–10 in Indianapolis.
Celia Hooper, vice president for professional practices in speech-language pathology, listed the outcomes related to schools programs and services, which include:
  • an increased number of states and districts that utilize workload models

  • access to information on IDEA

  • an increased number of states and districts that offer salary supplements for the CCCs

  • support from the State Education Action Team to five targeted states

  • consultations on workload to 25 districts and four states

  • support to 38 districts in 14 states that gained salary supplements

In the area of reimbursement, ASHA’s working group on Medicaid supervision developed a technical report and position statement on ASHA-certified SLPs providing supervision to lesser qualified personnel for Medicaid-reimbursed services in the schools.
In 2005, ASHA’s focused initiatives include: personnel issues, doctoral shortage, reimbursement, and evidence-based practice.
Catherine (Kate) Gottfred, vice president for governmental and social services, updated participants on IDEA reauthorization, the new schools finance committee, training materials and activities related to the No Child Left Behind Act, and the 2005 public policy agenda.
President-elect Dolores E. Battle noted the “exciting time we’re in” related to the confluence of IDEA, NCLB, literacy, and workload. She spoke of the importance of accurate assessment of culturally and linguistically diverse (CLD) students, and noted the development of new intervention models, evidence-based practice, and the ongoing personnel challenges in the schools.
For CLD students, “there are issues beyond bilingualism. We all have a culture,” she said, stressing that children “need a chance to show what they can learn.”
Ellen Estomin, a member of the Ad Hoc Committee on Caseload Size, gave participants more background on the workload analysis approach, noting that training has been offered in more than 40 states using ASHA’s practice documents. ASHA has contacts in 25 districts and four states related to implementation of the workload approach.
Former president Nancy Creaghead updated the group on literacy resources and initiatives, including practice documents, the online “ Literacy Gateway,” advocacy with the U.S. Department of Education, and other program activities in the National Office and liaison work with external organizations.
Roundtable Discussions
Break-out roundtable discussions drew enthusiastic responses and prompted intense discussions of dozens of topics. Those topics included: apraxia, AAC, autism, auditory processing disorder, cleft palate, cochlear implants, collaboration, assessment of culturally and linguistically diverse students, fluency, evidence-based practice, literacy, IDEA, Medicaid, NCLB, recruitment of SLPs, rural challenges, salary supplements, severe disabilities, Internet treatment materials, voice disorders, urban challenges, and workload.
The discussion on eligibility and dismissal issues drew such a crowd that tables had to be combined. When the discussion turned to funding, facilitator Tom Ehren pointed out that “the most important part of money is not our paycheck, but where the money comes from.”
One participant noted, “In lots of schools, there are inconsistencies among SLPs about which students qualify and which don’t. A spectrum is OK, but too many discrepancies are a problem. It sends a mixed message.”
Another issue raised in the group related to parents who did not want their children dismissed. Ehren said, “We talk about dismissal from the very beginning, and we celebrate dismissal.”
In the roundtable on CLD students, clinicians spoke about the challenges of dealing with multiple languages and parents who juggle jobs and are often transient. One participant said, “Don’t forget about the older kids, the adolescents who are facing more academically complex challenges.” Another participant said that their staff gives parents of young children books in their native language. Other approaches in the group include after-school programs and homework clubs, and finding interpreters in the community to assist clinicians in the schools.
President-elect Battle, who acted as facilitator, noted the importance of communication with middle school students. “How do you get that level of conversation with parents to help their kids in middle school?” she asked. “Often they will drop out or end up in the criminal justice system.”
The group also addressed the issue of scoring tests, and the need to take the time to do comprehensive assessments.
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January 2005
Volume 10, Issue 1