Anastasia520 asks:

Can the school deny speech therapy to my child if his speech is not affecting his learning?

In Topics: Special needs, Speech or language impairment
> 60 days ago



Feb 9, 2011
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What the Expert Says:

Hello and thank you for writing to JustAsk.

I have worked in many school districts and know that schools will deny speech therapy if it does not impact the academic achievement of a child.  In fact, such was the case of my own son and we then needed to work with our insurance carrier for private speech therapy.

Please check with your local school district to see their criteria.

Also, here is the national speech association website:

Good luck!

Louise Sattler, NCSP
Nationally Certified School Psychologist

Owner of Signing FAMilies™

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Additional Answers (2)

pigtoria writes:
Hi Anastasia520,

In short, the answer is no.

My 7-year-old son’s academics – particularly in math – had always been at or above his peers since kindergarten.  However, because his social skills are weak, it affected his speech.  He’s an introvert and doesn’t talk much so when he needs to talk to someone, he is lost at words.  Even though his academic performance is on par, he continues to receive speech therapy.

It’s a lengthy process to request for speech therapy.  Someone (parent/teacher) needs to request for an assessment and another person (parent/teacher) needs to agree.  A SST (Student Success Team) consists of the parent, teacher, speech therapist, and sometime principal needs to meet a couple of times to decide whether it’s necessary for the child to receive speech therapy.   Then the speech therapist will give the child a battery of tests to evaluate his expressive and receptive language skills.  After the tests, the therapist then decides whether the child qualifies for therapy.  (Please note the word here is “qualifies” and not “needs”). Each district set different criteria for whether the child “qualifies” for therapy.  At my son’s school, the criteria for qualification was set at 7%.  If a child score 7% or lower on two subtests in the battery of tests, then s/he qualifies for speech therapy service.

If you feel strongly that your child needs speech therapy, I encourage you to be an advocate for your child and seek the help s/he needs.  The process may be difficult and challenging but the results are so rewarding.  My son benefited so much from speech therapy as his social skills have improved tremendously.  Good luck!

Hope this helps!

> 60 days ago

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LoriDay , Teacher writes:
I am an educational psychologist who has evaluated 1000's of students and participated in countless meetings to determine eligibility for public school-funded services in Speech & Language and many other areas. My own daughter received speech therapy, so I have experienced this from both sides of the table. I am now an educational consultant who helps parents navigate this process.

My answer to your question is "yes"...the school CAN legally deny to provide services if testing does not show enough of a correlation between your child's speech & language skills and lowered academic performance. Special ed services in schools are extremely expensive and budgets are tight, therefore standards are set that define exactly what test scores and their interrelationships constitute a need for services. If your child is performing academically on par with his/her intellectual potential and/or at or above grade level, services can be denied. Parents may--and often do--pay for private speech services, especially for things like articulation and stuttering which can be harmful to a child's self-esteem and socialization, but do not necessarily lower their academic achievement.

Advocacy is important, and can tip a close call in your favor, but if there is fundamentally a lack of relationship between your child's speech skills and academic performance, the school can--and almost always will--deny services. Money is spent on services for those students most impacted by learning disabilities and most at risk of school failure.

I hope this was helpful even if not what you wanted to hear!

Lori Day
Lori Day Consulting
> 60 days ago

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