Do You Know Who is Providing Your Child’s Speech-Language Therapy? Part 2

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One of the most controversial posts we’ve published on the Wrightslaw Way Blog was “Do You Know Who is Providing Your Child’s Speech-Language Therapy?” (Blog Discussion Part 1)

If you thought we questioned SLPAs, their abilities, and qualifications, not so.

But, there are areas of concern for parents.

If your child is receiving speech-language services, make sure you know if a trained, certified, or licensed individual is providing your child’s speech therapy.

The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) is very clear about expectations for speech-language pathology assistants (SLPAs), what they can and what they cannot do. Learn about educational and training requirements for SLPAs.

Appropriate use and supervision of trained SLPAs can fill the gap often caused by a shortage of speech-language pathologists (SLPs).

Issues to consider:

1. IEP Lists SLP/staff as the Speech Therapy Provider

The term “staff” may refer to anyone on the school staff who is willing to do speech therapy — including untrained substitutes, aides, and paraprofessionals. The list goes on.

2. Fully Informed Parents

If you agree in the IEP to speech-language services for your child, you should be fully informed about what you are consenting to, including who will provide therapy services.

3. Adequate Supervision

Can an SLPA replace a SLP? No.

According to ASHA, no one can employ an SLPA without a speech-language pathologist as supervisor. SLPAs are not trained for independent practice.

4. Know Your State Requirements

States have different regulations and requirements for speech-language support personnel. State laws may differ from ASHA’s guidelines and requirements.

Read the complete article, Do You Know Who is Providing Your Child’s Speech-Language Therapy? to find the responsibilities within (and without) the scope of practice for SLPAs and links to ASHA Guidelines. You will find more about informed parent consent and supervision requirements for SLPAs.

Other Links

ASHA Speech Language Pathology Assistants Overview and Key Issues

Wrightslaw webpage: Do You Know Who is Providing Your Child’s Speech-Language Therapy?

Do You Know Who is Providing Your Child’s Speech-Language Therapy? – Blog Discussion Part 1

Wrightslaw Related Services


  1. I’m in New Mexico. Our licensing board (RLD)recently put together a committee to put forth/push the licensing of SLPAs in NM. We have had Apprentices in Speech-Language Pathology (ASL) for 20 years. An ASL ( BA/BS in Communication Disorders) applies for a license to work under the supervision of a CCC-SLP. A license is issued yearly. Before their 3rd license renewal, they must be accepted into an ASHA Accredited CD program. Persons with ASHA & NMSHA, went to the licensing board stating there were SLPAs working in our state who were not licensed by NM but need to be. It’s coming. I want to know how to work within this system. I’ve supervised ASLs, had 120 students on my caseload, they got to do what I love the most, work with the kids while I tested and attended meetings.

  2. Speech-language pathologists assess, diagnose, treat, and help to prevent speech, language, cognitive, communication, voice, swallowing, fluency, and more.

  3. This is an important issue to remind parents of. Even not considering budget cuts, schools have trouble finding enough ASHA & state certified therapists. Sometimes the SLP supervising SLPAs is contracted as a consultant & not as an employee.

    • Hi, Chuck. Have you been following what’s happening in Waco? I’m not finding any information regarding ONLINE speech services? Waco ISD is saying they can switch a child from in person speech to online services, saying that the “methodology” is not in an IEP, and that they can make this switch without an ARD and parent input. That doesn’t feel legal. Have you heard of this happening somewhere else? Are their guidelines to follow? Thank you

      • I have been following the introduction of online speech, & counseling services, but am not aware of what Waco is saying. I am guessing some attorney or administrator is saying that this is an appropriate response until someone rules that it is not. I wonder how other states might be dealing with this.

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