Promoting Interprofessional Practice in Schools How can school-based SLPs get more deliberate about working across disciplinary boundaries to bolster student learning? School Matters
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School Matters  |   December 01, 2018
Promoting Interprofessional Practice in Schools
Author Notes
  • Marie Kerins, EdD, CCC-SLP, is associate professor in the Department of Speech-Language Hearing Sciences at Loyola University in Maryland. She is an affiliate of ASHA Special Interest Group 10, Issues in Higher Education. mkerins@loyola.edu
    Marie Kerins, EdD, CCC-SLP, is associate professor in the Department of Speech-Language Hearing Sciences at Loyola University in Maryland. She is an affiliate of ASHA Special Interest Group 10, Issues in Higher Education. mkerins@loyola.edu×
Article Information
School-Based Settings / Professional Issues & Training / Attention, Memory & Executive Functions / School Matters
School Matters   |   December 01, 2018
Promoting Interprofessional Practice in Schools
The ASHA Leader, December 2018, Vol. 23, 32-33. doi:10.1044/leader.SCM.23122018.32
The ASHA Leader, December 2018, Vol. 23, 32-33. doi:10.1044/leader.SCM.23122018.32
A colleague used to say to me, “Words matter.” I never doubted this, especially as a speech-language pathologist. However, her succinct philosophy resonated more when I worked as a school-based SLP. My educational colleagues and I use the words “collaboration” and “interprofessional education” synonymously, even though distinctions exist.
ASHA helps us understand interprofessional education (IPE) and interprofessional practice (IPP) as “two or more professions learning about, from, and with each other to enable effective collaboration and improve outcomes for individuals and families whom we serve.”
Educators most definitely collaborate, but often use the term more broadly. Without the specific goal of learning from each other to improve our services, collaboration can mean myriad things. Promoting—and working together to improve learning—a mutually agreed-on definition like the one from ASHA helps us hone interprofessional in-service training and practice.
Intentional IPE/IPP at the pre-service level is ideal, but adapting an existing curricular framework such as the one developed by the Interprofessional Education Collaborative (IPEC) works, too. IPEC identifies four core competencies in developing interprofessional practice or education—teamwork, communication, values/ethics and roles/responsibilities.
Creating and implementing a plan for IPP can help SLPs save time, build relationships with school staff and improve outcomes for students. I learned the hard way how using a framework like IPEC makes collaboration in a school-setting more effective.
The importance of planned IPE
As an 18-year veteran of schools, I participated on a productive team of collaborators in a special education school. Our cooperative approach got even better as we grew comfortable with our own scopes of practice and as trust among us grew. I benefitted from on-the-job training in collaborative practice, but we also lost valuable time and worked through multiple misunderstandings.
I list my lessons learned in these steps showing how to put the IPEC competencies into action in your school:
  • Values/ethics: During in-classroom sessions, I learned to start by observing rather than jumping into treatment without watching how the teacher addresses curricular goals. Valuing her expertise and coming into the classroom as an equal partner went a long way toward building trust.

  • Roles and responsibilities: Establishing that trust is one of first ingredients in interprofessional partnerships. Our IPP team eventually sorted out what made us each distinctive, as well as where our scopes of practice overlapped. This eliminated duplication of services. For example, I figured out how I could both meet the students’ needs and complement teachers’ objectives as a way to define my role on the team.

  • Communication: Weekly communication allowed us to identify how we’d each work with students to meet their learning objectives. This helped us remain flexible in taking on various roles based on what the student needed that week.

  • Teamwork: The special education teacher and I found our stride by following the above tenets. Our collaborative work took two middle school students from reading well below age level to on-age level within the school year.

These key elements of valuing other professionals, communicating clearly, and establishing and appreciating one another’s strengths improved efficiency and aided student success.

These key elements of valuing other professionals, communicating clearly, and establishing and appreciating one another’s strengths improved efficiency and aided student success.

The value of sharing resources
What can educational audiologists and school-based SLPs do to make IEP go more smoothly? Try using these simple approaches to bring your colleagues together to encourage adoption of IPE/IPP practices at both the pre-professional and professional-development level:
  • Share the ASHA definition of IPE/IPP to promote inclusive interprofessional collaborative practices. Download and distribute the free brochure from the ASHA Schools team, “The Value of Collaborating With Audiologists and Speech-Language Pathologists.

  • Adopt—then adapt—the core competencies from IPEC, already used in many U.S. institutions of higher education.

  • Celebrate and promote successful collaborative practices among school-based professionals through presentations within school districts and at professional conventions. Read and/or conduct research on successful collaborations.

  • Work with educator colleagues on ways to share the importance of IPE/IPP, so they can advocate for the inclusion of IPE language in their respective professional standards.

  • Be mindful of national legislation such as the Every Student Succeeds Act, which promotes interprofessional collaboration by giving states more flexibility to expand service-delivery models and expand supports. SLPs can then leverage these trends to advocate for IPE.

  • Be creative with workload models to provide opportunities for improved student outcomes through collaborative practice, such as the three-weeks-on/one-week-off model.

Audiologists and SLPs know how well IPE can improve student-learning outcomes. Early adopters share their successful strategies for implementing these ideas. They also advocate for accrediting bodies to implement more formal IPE/IPP curriculums into graduate training programs.
Sources
ASHA resources on Interprofessional Education/Interprofessional Practice (on.asha.org/ipe-ipp)
ASHA resources on Interprofessional Education/Interprofessional Practice (on.asha.org/ipe-ipp)×
Council for Accreditation of Counseling & Related Educational Programs, , 2016 CACREP Accreditation Standards (bit.ly/cacrep-standards)
Council for Accreditation of Counseling & Related Educational Programs, , 2016 CACREP Accreditation Standards (bit.ly/cacrep-standards)×
Council for Exceptional Children, , CEC Initial Level Special Educator Preparation Standards ()
Council for Exceptional Children, , CEC Initial Level Special Educator Preparation Standards ()×
Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation, , CAEP Accreditation Standards (bit.ly/caep-standards)
Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation, , CAEP Accreditation Standards (bit.ly/caep-standards)×
Council on Academic Accreditation in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology, (2017). Standards for Accreditation of Graduate Education Programs in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology.
Council on Academic Accreditation in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology, (2017). Standards for Accreditation of Graduate Education Programs in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology.×
Gosse, C., Hoffman, L., & Invernizzi, M. (2012). Overlap in speech-language and reading services for kindergartners and first graders. Language, Speech & Hearing in Schools, 43(1), 66–80. [Article]
Gosse, C., Hoffman, L., & Invernizzi, M. (2012). Overlap in speech-language and reading services for kindergartners and first graders. Language, Speech & Hearing in Schools, 43(1), 66–80. [Article] ×
Interprofessional Education Collaborative, (2016). Core competencies for interprofessional collaborative practice.
Interprofessional Education Collaborative, (2016). Core competencies for interprofessional collaborative practice.×
World Health Organization, (2010). Framework for action on interprofessional education and collaborative practice.
World Health Organization, (2010). Framework for action on interprofessional education and collaborative practice.×
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FROM THIS ISSUE
December 2018
Volume 23, Issue 12