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From the editor.

This issue of Communication Disorders Quarterly (CDQ) focuses on appropriately identifying communicative impairments and determining the most appropriate services for individuals needing intervention or other supports. Deb Keen, Gail Woodyatt, and Jeff Sigafoos have provided an insightful discussion of the potential communication acts of children with autism. Clinicians and educators should give careful consideration to the implications of these authors' work. As noted, the tool developed for use in their investigation provides useful information for professionals who are seeking to "create opportunities for communication and respond more consistently to prelinguistic communication attempts" so they can facilitate and enhance the communicative development of children with severe communicative impairments.

The position statement of the National Joint Committee for the Communication Needs of Persons with Severe Disabilities addresses a critical policy issue that has been in the "headlines" of many professional organizations and learned societies for the past several years. As fiscal resources have become increasingly constrained, school districts have instituted practices that may deny appropriate services to children with severe disabilities. The use of discrepancy formulas and cognitive "benchmarks" as the criteria for determining eligibility for services has been examined and challenged by many professionals working with children who manifest disabilities.

The Committee notes that it has been clearly established that "(E)ligibility criteria based on a priori criteria violate recommended practice principles by precluding consideration of individual needs." Members of the organizations who collaborated on the document, as well as others who have reviewed it, have commented on the position statements. Furthermore, the governance bodies of these organizations have adopted this position statement through formal ratification procedures. As subscribers to CDQ, you are encouraged to review the document carefully and to share it with your fellow colleagues and administrators. Your comments are also welcome as contributions to this journal. Any comments you wish to share will be considered for publication in the form of Letters to the Editor and will be forwarded to the respective member organizations.

Finally, this issue provides information that is meant to promote telecommunication services for those individuals who have severe communicative impairments. The speech-to-speech relay system is available in every state and is supported through public funds. As professionals, it is incumbent upon us to help our clients access such services as one means of promoting functional communication and creating opportunities for naturally occurring communication experiences.

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Author:Coufal, Kathy L.
Publication:Communication Disorders Quarterly
Date:Mar 22, 2002
Previous Article:Making a Difference for America's Children: Speech-Language Pathologists in Public Schools.
Next Article:Verifying teacher perceptions of the potential communicative acts of children with autism.

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