Special Education teachers and service providers strive to provide optimal supports for students with a variety of needs in all of our schools.  Recent mandates and best practice literature indicate that, to the greatest extent possible, students should receive special education services within the regular classroom. This requires a shift in professional thinking for many, as traditional therapies and interventions are assumed to require pull-out settings and individual or small-group sessions.

ESU 5 Speech-Language Pathologists have been using inclusive practices for some time,

but continue to transition toward this mode of service delivery for greater portions of their caseloads.  Early childhood settings have long been considered the most "inclusion-friendly," as many therapy targets lend themselves to play-based intervention--concept vocabulary, social skills, overall expressive and receptive language skills, and so forth. Moving into early, mid-, and upper-elementary grades, however, requires increasingly strategic planning and collaboration with classroom teachers and staff to identify the best opportunities for eliciting and scaffolding target skills within general ed curricular activities and may even call for joint planning and co-teaching.  The SLP and teacher may work together to give students a chance to summarize or retell main ideas and details from curriculum content, or they may teach strategies for comprehension and retention of key material.  Collaboration is vital at the secondary level as well.  Support for older students is aimed at increasing function, independence, and generalization to a variety of contexts within and outside the school, as social and academic demands increase.  Providing quality inclusive services relies on a positive and productive interprofessional relationship between regular ed teachers and SLPs/service providers/special education staff at all levels.

Mandy Smidt, M.S., CCC-SLP
Shifting our practice from outside the classroom to within is certainly a challenge,

but the benefits of supporting students in their regular education classroom are great, including continuous access to general education instruction, uninterrupted learning experiences with peers, and contextual learning opportunities.


Article written by Mandy Smidt, M.S., CCC-SLP

I am so grateful that the ESU had so many specialists to work with my son, because now I know what to do to help my child with autism. The speech pathologist and occupational therapist from the ESU have allowed him to gain more than I ever expected him to. I don’t know what I would have done without them.
The best part of working at ESU 5 is the people I work with!
ESU 5 Staff Member
ESU 5 is a wonderful place to work! My co-workers are helpful, friendly and supportive.
ESU 5 Staff Member