The Speech and Language Therapist plays a key role in assessing the communication skills of individuals with ID, and they may be part of a team making a differential diagnosis between ID and ASD or other conditions.

The Speech and Language Therapist is involved in enhancing adaptive communication functioning, as many of the adaptive skill areas rely on communication abilities. For example, conceptual skills include receptive and expressive language, reading, and writing; social skills include interpersonal skills, following laws, and problem solving; and practical skills include following routines, using the telephone, and using social media.

The Speech and Language therapist is involved in, but not limited to, the following

  • Make decisions about the management of communication deficits in persons with ID;
  • Develop treatment plans for speech and language services, including social language goals and goals for assisting with self-regulatory and social interactive functions to enable participation in daily activities and curriculum to as great an extent as possible;
  • Educate other professionals on the needs of persons with ID and the role of the Speech and Language therapist in diagnosing and managing communication deficits of those with ID;
  • Collaborate with parents, teachers, caregivers, job coaches, peers, and others to promote communication development and use in individuals with ID;
  • Serve as an integral member of a team working with individuals with ID and their families/caregivers and, when appropriate, considering transition planning;
  • Support individuals with ID in vocational and community settings;
  • Consult and collaborate with other professionals, family members, caregivers, and others to facilitate program development and to provide supervision, evaluation, and/or expert testimony, as appropriate;

Advocate for individuals with ID and their families at the local, state, and national levels.