There are many different settings that allow children to receive speech and language services. Depending on that setting, there are different qualifications that need to be met in order to receive services. For example, there are different qualifications and rules that need to be followed for children to receive services in a school vs in a clinic.   

In a school, a child can qualify for services if their speech or language impairment is negatively affecting them within the classroom. For example, a child may have difficulty using language to communicate, therefore they may have difficulty in reading and writing. If so, the child may be referred to a Speech-Language Pathologist, by either their teacher or parent in order to receive a speech and language evaluation.   

When an evaluation is warranted, the Speech-Language Pathologist must assess the child to determine if there is a disability. If so, it must be decided if the disability is negatively affecting the child in regard to their academics and ability to do school assignments. Speech-Language Pathologists also need to consider if a related service is needed to help the child progress. If all these factors are relevant, a child can qualify for school-based speech and language services. In a school setting, Speech-Language Pathologists must also follow state and federal laws when determining if a child is eligible for services. 

In a clinic, a child may be referred to a Speech-Language Pathologist by their pediatrician, family member, themselves, or another agency. Speech-Language Pathologists do not have to follow federal and state laws when determining if a child is eligible for speech and language services. They need to complete comprehensive standardized testing or selected specialized assessments that are criterion referenced to determine if there is a speech or language impairment. Speech-Language Pathologists in the clinical setting interact with the child and their caregivers directly. Speech-Language Pathologists in this setting consult with caregivers in order to get a better understanding of the child’s birth, developmental, and social history. If a child is deemed eligible, the Speech-Language Pathologist can make goals that are family-and-child-centered. Goals can focus on daily living skills, such as being able to state their name, birthday, their family’s names, and play skills. Or goals can focus on life skills, such as being able to order their favorite food when going out to eat or interacting with peers.   

Merlin Day Academy is a hybrid of the School and Clinical setting, blending special education with therapeutic supports incorporated into the classroom. Speech-Language Pathologists support literacy instruction and an oral motor rotation that promotes language development and healthy eating habits. The Merlin Day Academy team can implement services identified in your child’s Individualized Education Program (IEP) and the Eyas Landing therapy team can provide additional therapeutic interventions based on your child’s individual needs.