The critical shortage of personnel in speech and language pathology has created significant challenges for local school districts trying to fill speech and language pathology vacancies and their ability to provide speech and language services to students with disabilities. The staffing shortage of speech and language pathologists (SLPs) has become a state-wide issue in Wisconsin public schools. While the state has seven universities that offer a masters degree in communicative disorders, the data collected reveals access to these programs is severely restricted.
In response, the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) convened an Ad Hoc Task Force to examine available options to address the shortage of licensed SLPs in Wisconsin public schools. The focus of the task force was to review alternatives and make suggestions on addressing the shortage.
The task force considered a continuum framework of speech and language service providers suggested from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association's (ASHA) 2011 SLP Professional Summit. Thirty other states have already moved from a model of a single service provider to a model of multi-level service providers for speech and language service delivery. The ASHA position statement (2004) includes the establishment of categories of support personnel for the profession of speech-language pathology. The use of multi-level service providers can offer a long term sustainable model for increased quality and access to speech and language services for students with disabilities in Wisconsin schools.
- The task force will examine ideas to address the SLP shortage.
- The task force will submit suggestions on how to address the SLP shortage to DPI.