Comprehensive Literacy Instruction, Interprofessional Collaborative Practice, and Students With Severe Disabilities

Am J Speech Lang Pathol. 2017 May 17;26(2):193-205. doi: 10.1044/2017_AJSLP-15-0067.


Purpose: The purpose of this clinical focus article is to briefly describe comprehensive emergent and conventional literacy instruction for students with severe disabilities. Specific attention is given to interprofessional collaborative practice and the roles of team members in planning and delivering instruction.

Method: A rationale for the delivery of comprehensive instruction that balances skill and meaning emphases is provided with reference to new college and career readiness standards, the literature on literacy acquisition for students without disabilities, and, when possible, the literature on literacy acquisition for students with severe disabilities. Specific instructional approaches are presented to demonstrate how teams can actively engage students with severe disabilities in instruction that is collaborative, participatory, and interactive.

Results/conclusions: Successful provision of comprehensive literacy instruction that allows students with severe disabilities to achieve conventional literacy takes time and the efforts of a collaborative interprofessional team. Speech-language pathologists play a critical role on these teams as they ensure that students with severe disabilities have the language and communication supports they need to be successful.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Child
  • Communication Aids for Disabled
  • Communication Disorders / psychology
  • Communication Disorders / rehabilitation
  • Comprehensive Health Care / methods*
  • Disabled Children / education*
  • Disabled Children / psychology
  • Disabled Children / rehabilitation*
  • Education, Special / methods*
  • Humans
  • Interdisciplinary Communication*
  • Intersectoral Collaboration*
  • Patient Care Team / organization & administration
  • Reading*
  • Rehabilitation, Vocational / methods
  • Speech-Language Pathology / methods
  • Young Adult