School-Based SLPs: Back to the Curriculum


What happens when speech-language pathologists (SLPs) get together at the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) annual convention? Move over TEDTalks! We spread innovative ideas and plant seeds for new ones!

At the 2016 ASHA Convention in Philadelphia, the creation for the clinical forum titled “Exploring Curriculum-Based Language Interventions and Assessment” was set into motion. Specifically (and over high-priced coffee), a discussion around the following question ensued:

If we (i.e., university faculty) educate our students to provide interventions based on a high level of empirical evidence, then what evidence base is available to support curriculum-based interventions and assessment?

Thus, this discussion set into motion an exploration that goes back almost 30 years. “Great Scott!”

So, LSHSS readers, in the spirit of Marty McFly, we say, “Come with us “Back to the Curriculum”!

McFly Diary, 1989: Channel your inner Dr. Emmett Brown, and travel back almost 30 years to Nickola Nelson’s (1989) article, “Curriculum-Based Language Assessment and Intervention,” published in Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools (LSHSS). At that time, Nelson provided the LSHSS readership with a framework for conducting, managing, and delivering intervention within curricular contexts. The procedures that Nelson outlined provided suggestions for implementing and modifying context-based interventions. She suggested that we meet the students’ abilities within the curriculum by modifying the complexities of language used in school.

McFly Diary, 2010: Let’s now hop back into our DeLorean and visit 2010. The Ad Hoc Committee on the Roles and Responsibilities of the School-Based Speech-Language Pathologist developed a professional issues statement to promote efficient and effective outcomes for students (ASHA, 2010). This policy statement outlined the critical roles that SLPs have as members of school faculties (e.g., providing unique contributions to the curriculum, highlighting language/literacy, collaborating with school professionals/universities).

McFly Diary, 2016: One last trip on the DeLorean! In 2016, the authors of this LSHSS clinical forum and others were attempting to implement curriculum-based instruction in their clinical practices in response to the 2010 professional issues statement developed by the Ad Hoc Committee on the Roles and Responsibilities of the School-Based Speech-Language Pathologist. But what empirical evidence are we using to facilitate these interventions? A cursory exploration of ASHAWire for an ASHA presentation (Powell, Randolph & Meaux, 2016) suggested limited availability to randomized controlled studies or meta-analyses that support curriculum-based interventions and assessment. Therefore, the “Exploring Curriculum-Based Language Interventions and Assessment” clinical forum was created to support the work that is being done effectively and efficiently in the schools to support the notion of what is reality in the schools.

“Great Scott!” This clinical forum will provide SLPs at all stages of education and practice with an exploration of

  • policies guiding school-based SLPs’ practice;
  • implementation of curriculum-based interventions and assessment; and
  • notes to guide future curriculum-based explorations.

We hope you enjoy “Exploring Curriculum-Based Language Interventions and Assessment” in the April edition of LSHSS. We also hope that you’re inspired to continue providing and exploring the efficacy of curriculum-based language interventions and assessments in the schools. After all, in the words of Marty McFly, “If you put your mind to it, you can accomplish anything!”


American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. (2010). Roles and responsibilities of speech-language pathologists in schools [Professional Issues Statement]. Retrieved from

Nelson, N. W. (1989). Curriculum-based language assessment and intervention. Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, 20, 170–184. Retrieved from

Powell, R., Randolph, C., & Meaux, A. B. (2016, November). Making the connection to the curriculum: From research to practice. Paper presented at the Annual Convention of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, Philadelphia, PA.

All movie references are attributed to:

Gale, B. (Producer), Canton, N. (Producer), & Zemeckis, R. (Director). 1985. Back to the future [Motion Picture]. United States: Universal Pictures.

Explore the Clinical Forum

Meaux, A. B. (2018). Introduction to the Clinical Forum: Exploring Curriculum-Based Language Assessment and Interventions. Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, 49, 137–139.

Powell, R . K. (2018). Unique Contributors to the Curriculum: From Research to Practice for Speech-Language Pathologists in Schools. Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, 49, 140–147.

Terrell, P., & Watson, M. (2018). Laying a Firm Foundation: Embedding Evidence-Based Emergent Literacy Practices Into Early Intervention and Preschool Environments. Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, 49, 148–164.

Meaux, A. B., & Norris, J. A. (2018). Curriculum-Based Language Interventions: What, Who, Why, Where, and How?  Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, 49, 165–175.

Collins, G., & Wolter, J. A. (2018). Facilitating Postsecondary Transition and Promoting Academic Success Through Language/Literacy-Based Self-Determination Strategies. Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, 49, 176–188.

Newkirk-Turner, B. L., & Johnson, V. E. (2018). Curriculum-Based Language Assessment With Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Students in the Context of Mathematics. Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, 49, 189–196.

Gillam, S. L., Olszewski, A., Squires, K., Wolfe, K., Slocum, T., & Gillam, R. B. (2018). Improving narrative production in children with language disorders: An early-stage efficacy study of a narrative intervention program. Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, 49, 197–212.

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About the Author

Ashley Bourque Meaux, PhD, CCC‐SLP, is an Assistant Professor of Communication Sciences and Disorders in the Department of Health and Human Sciences at Southeastern Louisiana University.

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