More than half of U.S. speech–language pathologists (SLPs) currently practice in the school setting and 92.6% of SLPs who work in schools provide services focused on children's speech sound production (articulation and/or phonology). This article describes evaluation and eligibility requirements for children with speech sound disorders in the United States focusing on four sources of information: (1) federal requirements, specifically the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), (2) state and local requirements and guidance, (3) other sources of guidance (e.g., from professional associations), and (4) research. To be eligible to receive services under the IDEA, three conditions must be met: (1) the student has an impairment, (2) that impairment results in an educational impact, and (3) the student requires specially designed instruction to make progress. Civil rights and diversity (cultural, linguistic, and gender) within these contexts also are considered. Case examples are provided to highlight eligibility criteria and to guide SLP practice. The information and examples provided in this article will enable SLPs in the United States to navigate IDEA evaluation and eligibility requirements to ensure children with speech sound disorders who are eligible under the IDEA receive appropriate services.
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