Service delivery: Determining service time

2 X 30 mpw (1)

Working in a large school district, we read a lot of IEPs and talk with SLPs often about service delivery time and scheduling.

What do we see and hear most often? Students being served in 30-minute increments! 2×30 minutes per week (in the speech room) seems to be the most common choice. Of course, many students have more than 60 minutes per week or have an in-class session thrown in there. Many students in middle and high school may be seen once a week for the length of a period (stay tuned for our next post about an alternative service delivery model for adolescents-link).

But overwhelmingly, students who receive speech-language services for 60 minutes per week are seen in two 30-minute sessions, regardless of the type of communication disorder(s). Sometimes the justification can’t even be expressed – we’ve asked!

We’ve talked about getting out of the speech room (link) and provided some tools (link) for collaborating. But regardless of where you serve, the reason(s) for the amount of time and how it is broken down are just as important – and are determined on an individual basis. There is more than just 30 minutes!

45 minutes one time per week may be sufficient

What about 3×20 minutes/week?

90 minutes broken down into 2×45 instead of 3×30?

4 hours per month instead of 1 hour per week? Because one week may necessitate 90 minutes while another only 30!

There is a lot of talk about quick articulation drill sessions like Speedy Speech or 5 Minute Kids. These are amazing models for students with speech sound disorders.

Frequent and intensive therapy is definitely efficacious for apraxia of speech.

And students with language disorders and/or learning disabilities can absolutely benefit from extra practice with skills and strategies.


Do you have a parent who is anxious about a recommended reduction of service time? Is it the AMOUNT of time or the decrease in weekly consistency they are most worried about?

                3×30 => 2×30 can be a little frightening but…

                                3×30 => 3×20 may soften the blow

Scheduling is a beast involving so many factors but students’ needs are ultimately where it should begin!

We have found a few states with severity rating scales:

Maine, Tennessee, Arkansas, Virginia

But they don’t equate to specific service time recommendations – though there may be states or districts out there who have developed their own. However you determine service time recommendations, be sure they are individualized and incorporate team decision-making including the severity of the disorder(s), level of educational impact, and need for specialized instruction from the SLP!

How do you determine service time recommendations for your students?

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