SLPs Pushing In Series: IMO {In My Opinion}

Post #3 in the SLPs Pushing in Series.  You can check out previous posts here and here.

IMO...When the education pendulum throws you lemons, make lemonade!  Change is inevitable!  Blessed are those who are flexible for they shall not break!  Be a mover and a shaker not a whiner and complainer!


Whatever you may be thinking, I'm sure we've all had similar thoughts about change in the field of education.  Pull-out, co-teach, inclusion, 3-1, collaboration, least restrictive environment, integrative treatment, consultative, self-contained...  And then there is push-in.  Is this a hot topic or old news?

Now I may or may not be known as the pushy SLP, so if the aforementioned is true, I may just be suited for pushing classrooms.  And well I have and then I haven't.  Both for good reasons.

For starters, severity and nature of disability are major factors in my clinical decision making.  Is this a kindergartener with a severe phonological processing disorder, resulting in unintelligible speech, not recognizable by even caregivers on most occasions?  Is the kindergarten general education teacher and any other support staff (intervention specialists, reading specialists, tutors) engaging in classroom small group centers?  Should both answers be YES, then pull-out AND push-in is absolutely what I would and do provide for that child.  Intensive pull-out individualized instruction using evidenced-based practices to guide therapy for a phonological processing disorder AND classroom-based therapy in a small group push-in service targeting phonology and syntactical structures linked to the curriculum {enter my kindergarten centers binder}.

What about least restrictive environment {LRE}?  Is the student's LRE a self-contained classroom, with a smaller number of students, taught by an intervention specialist, and possibly supported by an educational assistant, with a curriculum that is modified to meet student needs?  I'll be there ALL day {and have been, even adapting an entire reading series to incorporate speech and language skills}.

Do I feel comfortable pushing into a general education classroom?  Tell me the grade and I'll give you the answer.  11th grade?  This fish is OUT OF WATER, flopping away quickly.  5th grade {and my room has literally sat sandwiched in between two classrooms for years}?  I'm standing in the back quietly {and did you forget I may be generally pushy}.  How about 1st grade?  Feeling pretty good.  Now give me a teacher in which I have a great rapport and has totally accommodated for my narrow scheduling window {not to mention is always on schedule when I arrive} and I'm feeling tulips and cupcakes!  

No, it is not all about ME, the SLP, but to be honest, confidence in your clinical expertise requires preparation for the demands of the general education curriculum and a level of comfort. 

So, why have I and then haven't I pushed into classrooms?  Because IMO sometimes it is best practice and sometimes it is just not what the SLP ordered.  I want to ask myself some questions.

What does the data say?  Is my presence more distracting rather than supportive?  Can I address the targets as identified on the child's educational plan?  Do I have staff willing to collaborate with me?  Am I comfortable collaborating with staff?  Does my schedule or the student's schedule allow it?  Am I prepared to handle the curriculum?  Am I confident in my clinical skills?  These questions and others are the reasons why I have and then haven't pushed into classrooms.

What is your opinion on push-in services?  I'd love to hear.

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