Speech Language Eligibility Tree

Guidelines for Determining Eligibility for Speech and Language Impairment

The federal definition of a speech language impairment, as defined in IDEA is, "a communication disorder, such as stuttering, impaired articulation, a language impairment or a voice impairment that adversely affects a child's educational performance" [Section 300.7 (b)(11)].

The following "decision making tree" will assist in the determination of eligibility.

STEP 1: Does the student demonstrate a speech or language deficit?

   NO. All composite / index scores on standardized tests are in the average range. Results of non-standardized testing do not indicate a speech or language deficit. STOP HERE. Student will not be found to have a speech or language impairment.

   YES. There is evidence of a deficit due to:

       Results of standardized testing include a Composite or Index standard or scaled score(s) that falls below the average range (typically a score below 85).

       Criterion-referenced tests on which the student didNOT meet the criterion.

       Non-standardized test results that clearly document the presence of a speech or language deficit.

IF YES is checked, please continue to Step 2, below.

STEP 2: Does this deficit impact the student's educational performance?

   NO. Although a deficit exists, there is no evidence of an impact on the child's educational performance. STOP HERE.Student will not be found to have a speech or language impairment.

   YES. There is evidence of an impact on educational performance:

       As documented in Academic Achievement test results

       As documented in state testing results

       As documented in Classroom Observation

       As documented by classroom teachers and / or other members of the educational team.

       STEP 3: Does this deficit require specialized instruction?

   NO. Although a deficit exists that impacts the student's educational performance, no specialized instruction is required.The student's needs can be met through classroom accommodations and instruction. STOP HERE. Student will not be found to have a speech or language impairment.

   YES. The student requires specialized instruction in order to meet classroom requirements.

If "yes" is checked for Steps 1, 2, and 3, the child is found to have a speech or language impairment.
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