School Psychology Review

Speech/Language Referral Practices by School Psychologists

Leonore Ganschow, Richard Sparks, Mark Helmick

pp. 313-326

Mini-Series: Self-Management Interventions in the Schools

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A total of 951 school psychologists responded to a survey about language learning disabilities (LLD) and speech/language referral practices. Of the respondents, 68% reported having had minimal training in the assessment of speech/language disorders and 66% reported limited interaction with speech/ language pathologists during preservice training. The WISC-R was the main indicator used by the reporting school psychologists to determine need for speech/ language referral; 36% used the Verbal/Performance discrepancy; 7% a below average Verbal IQ; and 5% the Vocabulary subscale. Instruments used most frequently in the identification of learning disabilities (LD) were the WISC-R, Bender Gestalt, Woodcock Johnson Psychoeducational Battery: Achievement, Visual-Motor Integration Test, and a sentence completion task. Most school psychologists referred at least some students with LD to a speech/language pathologist, but over 50% referred only l-10% of the identified and/or suspected LD population. Implications for school psychologists are discussed.