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TRAINING MODULE SPEECH LANGUAGE PATHOLOGY ASSISTANTS (SLPA) Roles and Responsibilities. Resources West Virginia Department of Education Office of Special Programs. SLPA Training Module.

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West Virginia Department of Education Office of Special Programs

SLPA Training Module

  • Newly hired SLPAs are required to preview this module and document on supervision plan.

  • Designed to provide information for speech assistants working in the schools under the supervision of a speech-language pathologist (SLP).

  • Content focuses on:

    • Procedural aspects of becoming a speech assistant

    • Process of working with the supervising SLP.

  • Does NOT focus on specific content skills.

    • Skill training must be addressed through other professional development activities.

  • Resources are provided as links within the module.

    • Documents, websites, and forms

West Virginia Department of Education (WVDE) Definition: Speech Assistants

  • Speech Language Pathology Assistants (SLPA) - individuals who may provide services to students with communication disorders under the guidance and direction of a certified SLP.

  • SLPAs may assist the supervising SLP with record keeping, generalization of learned skills to multiple settings, implementation of assistive technology devices/services, services for diverse and underserved populations, and other responsibilities. (WVDE, 2004)

WVDE Guidelines

  • WVDE published Guidelines for the Use of Speech Assistants in West Virginia Public Schools

    • Provides direction to school districts

    • Outlines roles/responsibilities of SLPA and supervising SLP

    • Information from the document is included in the module.

  • American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) resources were incorporated into guidelines.

  • To access the document, click on the following link:


  • Definition: Support personnel: people who, following academic and/or on-the-job training, perform tasks as prescribed, directed, and supervised by certified speech-language pathologists. There are different levels of support personnel based on training and scope of responsibilities.

  • ASHA References

    • Speech-Language Pathology Assistant Scope of Practice (2013)


    • SLPA Frequently Asked Questions


Criteria: Speech Assistant

  • Hold a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in speech pathology or communication disorders from an accredited institution;

  • Be employed by a local West Virginia board of education;

  • Receive the recommendation of the district superintendent verifying that the applicant is the most qualified candidate for the position and that no fully certified speech-language pathologist has applied for the available position; and

  • Complete Form 38 & Form 38A and submit them to the Office of Personnel Preparation , WVDE

WVDE Application Forms

  • FORM 38 “Temporary Authorization for Speech Assistant” & Form 38A, “Supplement to Form 38” are contained in one document must be completed and submitted to the WVDE, Office of Personnel Preparation


  • Contact WVDE Office of Professional Preparation for questions :

  • Scottie Ford,

  • Sherri Hudnall

Supervision Requirements Speech Assistant

  • “It is the responsibility of the supervising SLP and the special education director to collaboratively design and implement a supervision system that maintains the highest possible standard of quality.” (WVDE Guidelines p. 8)

  • Supervision Plan MUST be completed and submitted annually for approval to:

    Kathy Knighton (

    Office of Special Programs

    West Virginia Department of Education

The Supervision Plan

  • The supervising SLP and special education director collaboratively design and implement a supervision system.

  • The amount and type of supervision required should be based on the skills and experience of the speech assistant.

  • The supervisory responsibilities should be mutually agreed on by the supervising SLP and special education director.

    (WVDE Guidelines p.11)

Personnel Requirements for Supervising SLP

  • WVDE Guidelines specify:

  • Supervising SLP must hold a master’s degree

  • Supervising SLP must be certified through WVDE

  • Supervising SLP must have practiced speech

    language pathology for at least two (2) years following certification.

Responsibilities of SLP Supervisor

  • The amount of supervision depends on the complexity of the case and on the experience and expertise of the speech assistant.

  • Specific responsibilities of the supervising SLP are listed in the Guidelines document.

Responsibilities of Supervising SLP

1. Inform families

2. Represent team

3. Determine caseload

4. Communicate with families

5. Diagnosis & evaluation

6. IEP review

7. Delegate tasks to assistant

8. Develop/ Review IEP

9. Interactions w/ other professionals

10. Review & sign progress notes

11. Coordinate assistant training

12. Provide & document supervision

13. Ensure practice is within scope of responsibility

14. Performance appraisal of assistant


Speech AssistantRoles and Responsibilities

According to WVDE Guidelines:

“ Tasks executed by speech assistants must be within their scope of responsibilities and include only those tasks they have the expertise and training to perform.”

Speech AssistantRoles and Responsibilities

  • Conduct speech-language screenings (without

    interpretation) following specified screening protocols selected by the supervising SLP.

  • Assist the supervising SLP during assessment of students, as directed.

  • Provide direct therapy to identified students.

  • Follow goals and objectives identified on the IEP and plans developed by the supervising SLP..

Speech AssistantRoles and Responsibilities

  • Document student progress toward meeting established goals and objectives as stated in the IEP and report this information to the supervising SLP.

  • Assist in the implementation of assistive technology devices and services as deemed appropriate by the SLP.

  • Assist with informal documentation (notes, tallying, etc.).

  • Perform checks and maintenance of equipment.


Speech AssistantRoles and Responsibilities

  • Participate with the SLP in research projects, staff development and public relations programs, as deemed appropriate by the SLP.

  • Assist with other clerical duties as assigned by your supervising SLP.

  • Schedule activities, prepare charts, records, graphs, or otherwise display data.

Speech AssistantTasks Outside Scope of Responsibilities

  • May NOT perform standardized or non-standardized diagnostic tests, formal or informal evaluations, or interpret test results.

  • May NOT participate in parent conferences or any team meeting not designated by your supervising SLP.

A Speech Assistant….



Speech AssistantTasks Outside Scope of Responsibilities

  • May NOT Assist with student’s therapy without following the IEP prepared by the supervising SLP or without access to supervision.

  • May NOTsign any formal documents without approval of the supervising SLP.

A Speech Assistant…


Speech AssistantTasks Outside Scope of Responsibilities

  • May NOT write, develop, or modify a student’s IEP.

  • May NOT make referrals for additional services.

  • May NOT disclose confidential information either orally or in writing to anyone not specifically designated by the supervising SLP.


A Speech Assistant…..

Speech AssistantTasks Outside Scope of Responsibilities

  • May NOT select students for services or dismiss a student from services.

  • May NOT communicate with the student, family, or others regarding any aspect of a student’s status or service without the specific consent of the supervising SLP.

  • May NOT represent yourself as a speech-language pathologist.

A Speech Assistant …


SLPA SupervisorRoles and Responsibilities

  • Clearly define & communicate the job activities and tasks that are within the specified scope of responsibilities for a speech-language pathology assistant.

  • Counsel and coach SLPAs on improved performance as needed.

  • Provide job-related instruction including planning and organizing the work to be delegated to the SLPA.

SLPA SupervisorRoles and Responsibilities

  • Evaluate the performance of the SLPA

  • Provide ongoing feedback

  • Discuss standards to define acceptable clinical performance

  • Provide constructive feedback regarding clinical performance

  • Routinely document observations and feedback regarding clinical performance


Communicating with Your Supervising SLP

  • Clarify a schedule for meeting with your supervisor.

    • time

    • place

    • frequency

  • Clarify how you will address your supervisor.

    • by title? by name?

    • will this differ after school hours?

    • will this differ when children are not present?

Communicating with the Supervising SLP

  • Ask questions rather than make assumptions

  • Discuss and clarify expectations

    - Be explicit with regards to expectations of your performance.

    - Be explicit with regards to specific tasks.

  • Ask for clarification regarding any process or procedural matters of which you are unsure.

Communicating with Your Supervising SLP

  • Determine the organization for meetings with your supervisor

    • prepare a list of questions

    • take notes & review after the meetings

    • stay on track

    • initiate questions about issues of concern if your supervisor does not bring them up

SLPA FORMS These forms are to be used by the LEA and SLPA to document the services provided. There is no requirement to submit to the WVDE.

  • Session Documentation Form

    Use to document goals, materials, activities, evaluation and comments about sessions with students

  • SLPA Self-Evaluation Form

    Use to evaluate your clinical performance during direct therapy sessions with students

  • Supervising SLP Evaluation Form

    Use this to evaluate your supervisor and his/her clinical interactions with you

Supervising SLP FORMSThese forms are to be used by the LEA and supervising SLP to document the services provided. There is no requirement to submit to the WVDE.

  • WVDE Direct Observation Form

    • Use to record direct observation suggestions and follow-up

  • Supervision Log Direct / Indirect

    • Use to record direct and indirect supervision

  • WVDE Summary Observation Log

    • Document number of sessions provided and percentage of sessions supervised

Professional Development

  • Successful completion of a semester course (3 credits) in an area related to the field of communication disorders

  • Successful completion semester course (3 credits) that is required for the completion of a masters degree in communication disorders

Professional development activities may include:

Professional Development

3. Attendance at state or national conferences in communication disorders

4. Professional Development activities designated by the WVDE, Office of Special Education

Professional development activities may include:

Talk with your Supervising SLP about appropriate professional development activities

Renewing Your Authorization as a Speech Assistant

  • The authorization is valid for one (1) school year and expires on June 30th of each year.

  • To renew the authorization, you must complete professional development activities and receive the recommendation of the district superintendent verifying that no fully certified speech-language pathologist has applied for the available position.

Verification Report Speech Assistant Authorization

  • A Verification Report documenting the speech therapy services delivered and supervision of the speech assistant must be completed by SLPA, supervising SLP and Special Education director.

  • The report must be submitted to the Office of Special Programs to June 1










  • Contact Information

  • Office of Special Programs

    • Kathy Knighton (

    • Kathy Hudnall (

  • Office of Personnel Preparation

    • Scotty Ford (

    • Sherry Hudnall (


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