Picture yourself in a contentious IEP, where the parents are discouraged. Their child is still not talking after two years of speech–language services and classroom instruction! They want increased individual speech therapy, which you believe is not the best approach for this student.

Ruthann Jarvis, SLP, came up with a brilliant analogy to help parents and others understand how all the goals on the IEP and all the educational services -speech, academic, occupational therapy – work together to encourage effective communication and academic growth.

The visual image is that of a multi-tiered wedding cake. Often, the parent is only looking at the output, or “cherry” of verbal language, rather than considering the complexity of underlying skills that lead to effective communication. Could this word picture help you explain the student’s progress, or why additional pullout time at the expense of classroom experience might be counterproductive?

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