Eligible for Speech-Language Services (ESLS)

"Eligible for speech-language services” means a speech and/or language disorder as follows:

  1. A speech disorder in articulation, phonology, fluency, voice, or any combination, unrelated to dialect, cultural differences or the influence of a foreign language, which adversely affects a student’s educational performance; and/or
  2. A language disorder which meets the criteria of NJAC 6A:14-3.5(c)4 and the student requires speech-language services only.

The evaluation for a speech disorder shall be conducted according to NJAC 6A:14-3.5(g).

Documentation of the education impact of the speech problem shall be provided by the student’s teacher. The speech disorder must meet the criteria of 1, 2, and/or 3 for eligibility and instruction by a speech-language specialist:

  1. Articulation/phonology, the student exhibits one or more sound production error patterns beyond the age at which 90% of the population has achieved mastery according to current developmental norms and misarticulates sounds consistently in a speech sample;
  2. Fluency, the student demonstrates at least a mild rating on a formal fluency rating scale and in a speech sample, the student exhibits disfluency in 5% or more of the words spoken;
  3. Voice, the student performs below the normal level for voice quality, pitch, resonance, loudness or duration and the condition is evident on two separate occasions, three to four weeks apart, at different times.

Speech Language Specialists

School-Based Speech-Language Pathologists, state certified as “Speech Language Specialists,” are professionally trained to improve the communication abilities of students who have complex communication disorders, covering a wide range of disabilities and diverse educational needs, including augmentative technology. They serve many different roles in the public school system. Primarily, they are Direct Service Providers, either in or out of the classroom, for students with language, articulation, voice and fluency disorders, as defined by the New Jersey Administrative Code for Special Education (N.J.A.C. 6A:14). Speech Language Specialists also act as Consultants to classroom teachers, paraprofessionals and parents in order to facilitate generalization and carryover of targeted skills. They Evaluate students with suspected speech and/or language disabilities, providing written reports which include input from the teacher regarding the educational impact of the suspected disability in the classroom. They also serve as Child Study Team Members for all classified students receiving speech/language services and when a school age child (5-21) is referred for a suspected language impairment, including all initial planning meetings for preschool students. Speech Language Specialists act as Case Managers for all students referred for possible voice, articulation or fluency disorders and coordinate the development, monitoring and evaluation of the effectiveness of the IEP. If a student requires therapeutic intervention, the decision on level of service (frequency, group size, location and duration) is made by the Speech Language Specialist in conjunction with the IEP team. Mandatory continuing education credits are required in order for the Speech Language Pathologist in order to maintain his or her professional licensure and keep current with best practices in assessment and intervention.