ArSHA supports changes that identify the highest qualified professionals as providers of services to our Arizona students. We support the change that ADE is proposing in their list substituting the term "qualified professional" in R-2-401, to "an individual holding a master's or doctoral degrees in audiology" and "licensed and certified speech-language pathologist".
On October 23, 2017, the Arizona State Board of Education (ASBE) passed State Education Rules package, R-2-401, replacing specific professionals to verify certain disabilities (including "audiologists" and "certified speech language therapists" [pg 6, line 38]), with the general term "qualified professionals". See page 6, lines 25 and 3 of the draft version with strikethroughs of the approved package: https://azsbe.az.gov/sites/default/files/media/R7-2-401_Oct%2023%20As%20Adopted%20by%20Board_0.pdf
On page 7, line 5-7 of the same document, the ASBE directed the Arizona Department of Education (ADE) to develop a list of qualified professionals eligible to conduct the appropriate evaluations, and to submit the proposed list to be reviewed by ASBE at their December 4, 2017 board meeting. ADE is seeking public comments on the list of qualified professionals that they are proposing to ASBE. The public comment period on this proposed list closes Monday, November 27, 2017.
The changes that ADE is proposing to ASBE, as it pertains to our field, are bolded below:
7. For the following disabilities, the full and individual initial evaluation shall include:
b. Hearing impairment:
i. An audiological evaluation by an individual holding a master's or doctoral degree in audiology, and
ii. An evaluation of communication/language proficiency.
f. Speech/language impairment: an evaluation by a licensed and certified speech-language pathologist.
g. For students whose speech impairments appear to be limited to articulation, voice, or fluency problems, the written evaluation may be limited to:
i. An audiometric screening within the past calendar year,
ii. A review of academic history and classroom functioning,
iii. An assessment of the speech problem by a licensed and certified speech-language pathologist, or
iv. An assessment of the student's functional communication skills.
ArSHA supports the proposed language in this ADE 'Qualified Professionals List' because it upholds the highest standards, and assures that the highest qualified professionals in our field serve the students and families of Arizona. This clarification is in line with the IDEA 2004 law.
Send your comment to ADE on the 'Qualified Professionals List' by no later than Monday, November 27, by emailing them at ESSInbox@azed.gov.
Fe Murray, EdD, CCC-SLP