Recent Changes in Preschool Services
We, the undersigned, object to the recent changes in the policies regarding FUSD Preschool Assessments. The directives received are confusing and the services we are being asked to perform (preschool screening/RTI/assessments/additional referrals) are difficult for most SLPs due to caseload size. In addition, most other school site personnel are even more unfamiliar with this age group than the SLPs. This will undoubtedly lead to both under-identifying and over-identifying preschool children in need of services.
We feel that the way in which preschool assessments have been handled for many years (i.e; screening and assessments conducted in their entirety at EPU or some other preschool-friendly environment by people who specialize with this age-group) was more efficient in terms of accurate identification and also more effective and comfortable for children and families. Many site SLPs do not have appropriate supplies and space (i.e; open play area/floor space, preschool size chairs, tables, toys, etc.) to conduct a proper preschool assessment. Preschool children frequently do not respond to traditional testing and need to be assessed dynamically in a play-based format in order to gather valid results.
Furthermore, the use of RTI to determine whether a child has greater needs than the SLP alone can address will lead to frustration for families and lost time accessing appropriate interventions and is possibly a violation of special education law.
We are requesting a return to the previous policy regarding preschool assessments and services until additional input from the people who will be implementing these changes can be sought.