Each May, Better Hearing & Speech Month (BHSM) gives us an opportunity to raise awareness about communication disorders!
This year, ASHA revised plans for BHSM to reflect the impact of the COVID-19 virus. Resources will be topical to the coronavirus and feature guidance for preventing or managing communication disorders at this challenging time. Head to ASHA’s BHSM Page for more resources!
School Services, Interrupted: What Parents of Students Receiving Speech and Language Treatment in Schools Should Know During COVID-19 Closures
Given speech and language impairment is the second most common disability category under which schoolchildren receive services via the Individuals With Disabilities Act, many parents have reported concern about access to speech and language services and their children’s ability to complete schoolwork and maintain skills from home. ASHA has offered the following information:
- Your child is still entitled to a free appropriate public education. In the US, school districts must continue to provide a free appropriate education (FAPE) to all students at this time. FAPE may encompass, as appropriate, special education and related services provided through distance instruction (virtually, online, or telephonically).
- Your child has a right to privacy. Privacy laws still apply. A student’s personal health records may not be shared without parental consent under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). In addition, the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), which protects students’ private educational records, is still in place. Parents should know that SLPs may need to modify treatment or seek parental approval in certain instances due to these privacy considerations—such as when providing group treatment to students.
- Children who regress can rebound. Children with speech and language disorders are at greater risk of regressing educationally than other students. However, students can regain ground and in most cases, regression is not permanent.
- Your child may be able to receive virtual speech and language services during closures. Some school districts have virtual treatment services; however, a school’s ability to offer telepractice services depends on state regulations of telepractice for speech and language treatment, local school district policies, technology capabilities of both the school district and family and a variety of other factors outside the control of parents and speech-language pathologists (SLPs).
- That’s where we come in! As an experienced online private practice, Worldwide Speech is dedicated to serving you if your child’s services have been reduced, if they need additional support services, or if they need help adjusting to distance learning. We offer online tutoring, reading intervention, speech therapy, special education, and occupational therapy. We will work with your budget as we realize it is a very difficult time financially for families around the world. If you’re interested, head to our website for a free consultation!
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