Components of the Specialty Recognition Program
Who is Eligible for Specialty Recognition in Child Language?
An individual may apply to the Specialty Board on Child Language to become a Board
Recognized Specialist in Child Language by meeting four standards:
1. Hold a current Certificate of Clinical Competence (CCC) in Speech-Language Pathology;
2. Verify an equivalent of 5 years of clinical experience with an emphasis on Child
Language after obtaining the CCC;
3. Document advanced educational experiences related to typical and atypical language
learners, beyond the requirements for the CCC, including typical language learning,
children at-risk for language disorders, language differences, and disordered oral and
written language, including discourse; and
4. Demonstrate advanced knowledge, skills, and experience in Child Language.
Must an Applicant Hold ASHA Certification?
Yes. In keeping with the guidelines developed by the ASHA, the Ad Hoc Committee on
Specialty Recognition (ASHA Ad Hoc Committee, 1994, p. 12) and the Council on Clinical Specialty
Recognition, applicants must currently hold and maintain the ASHA Certificate of Clinical Competence
(CCC) in Speech-Language Pathology. Maintaining the ASHA CCC must be in compliance with the most
current ASHA Membership and Certification Handbook: Speech-Language Pathology.
What Are the Experience and Advanced Knowledge Requirements for Specialty Recognition?
A. Within the 10 years prior to submitting an application for Specialty Recognition in Child
Language, an individual must have been employed as an ASHA certified Speech-Language Pathologist on
either (1) a full-time basis for 5 years, or (2) part-time basis for the equivalent of 5 years. The formula to
be used to determine the 5-year equivalency for an applicant who was employed on a part-time basis will
be the same as the formula used by ASHA for individuals who are part-time employees while pursuing the
ASHA CCC (see the most current edition of the Membership and Certification Handbook: Speech-
Language Pathology). Clinical experience is defined to include assessment, diagnosis, evaluation, or
intervention/treatment with clients and their families and in consultation with other professionals also
serving the needs of the client(s).
B. To qualify for Specialty Recognition in Child Language, the individual must demonstrate an
emphasis in Child Language by providing the following:
1. A description of the employment setting.
2. Identification of percentage of time employed.
3. Definition of employment responsibilities.
4. Identification and description of his/her clinical responsibilities, including,
where appropriate, the caseload composition.
C. The areas of emphasis for which applicants may demonstrate expertise in Child Language
include those services for children ages birth to 21 years and their families, across the wide range of
consumer needs. Those services are broadly defined within the Scope of Practice in Speech-Language
Pathology (ASHA, 2001). Applicants should also review the Preferred Practice Patterns (ASHA, 1997)
statements, as well as the Position Statement on the Roles and Responsibilities of Speech-Language
Pathologists with Respect to Reading and Writing in Children and Adolescents (ASHA, 2001). These
sources define the range of services that speech-language pathologists can offer, including clinical practices
and processes and their expected outcomes.
D. Specialists in Child Language will demonstrate advanced knowledge and skills by
1. Clinical practice beyond the requirements for the CCC that provides services unique to
consumers in the area of Child Language.
2. Specific examples of the application of those Preferred Practice Patterns specific to Child
3. Entry-level requirements for speech-language pathologists have been exceeded due to the
specific nature of the clients served, the complexity of the clients’ communication needs,
innovative clinical practices applied.
What Are the Advanced Continuing Professional Education Requirements?
The applicant must have completed 100 clock hours of advanced educational activities in topics
related to Child Language over the preceding 5 years. Advanced educational activities must reflect
satisfactory completion of (a) coursework that exceeds requirements for a master’s degree and CCC in
Speech-Language Pathology or (b) continuing education units at the intermediate or advanced levels of
professional development. These educational activities must comply with the most current ASHA
Continuing Education Program. Topics might include such diverse areas of study as neurolinguistics, the
relationship between oral language and literacy, linguistic differences, discourse and narrative analysis, or
multicultural variations in language use, to name a few.
How Will Advanced Knowledge Be Assessed?
A. The applicant must submit a clinical portfolio that documents the application of advanced
knowledge and skills in Child Language that are consistent with those Preferred Practice Patterns unique to
this area of practice for assessment of and intervention/treatment with infants, toddlers, children and/or
adolescents (ASHA, 1997). The clinical portfolio must include:
1. A statement of the applicant’s philosophy of typical and atypical language development
2. Clinical case studies to document specific application of advanced knowledge and skills
in language assessment and intervention/treatment.
B. In addition to an applicant’s demonstration of advanced experience in Child Language, the
successful applicant must demonstrate advanced problem-solving skills and applied theoretical constructs
in his/her portfolio. Integration of advanced knowledge, gained through appropriate post-master’s
coursework and continuing education and experience must be reflected by specifically linking professional
literature and presentations (i.e., symposia, workshops, conferences) to the applicant’s philosophy
statement and clinical case studies. References to (a) specific practices, (b) position statements, and (c)
practice guidelines must be evidenced in the portfolio.
What is the Application Process for Specialty Recognition in Child Language?
All applications for Specialty Recognition in Child Language shall contain the following five
1. Designation of Primary Adviser (see p. 5 for further information)
2. Application Portfolio
3. Statement of Philosophy
4. Three Clinical Case Studies
5. One letter of recommendation submitted by the Primary Adviser (as described
in section III.B.2.(c))
B. Application Portfolio
The applicant’s Application Portfolio shall contain the following components:
1. Statement of Philosophy
2. Three Clinical Case Studies
What Is the Statement of Philosophy?
The Statement of Philosophy is the applicant’s theoretical grounding that guides his/her
clinical practice. This statement should address three questions:
1. What is the applicant’s theoretical grounding that guides his/her clinical practice?
2. When, where, and how has the applicant demonstrated his/her philosophy and guiding
principles in clinical practice?
3. How does the applicant validate his/her clinical practice, based on the professional
What Are the Requirements for the Three Clinical Case Studies?
A. The applicant’s Application Portfolio must include materials related to three clinical case
studies that document application of advanced knowledge and skills consistent with the applicant’s
statement of philosophy. These case studies document knowledge and experience in assessment and
intervention. It is through the case studies that the applicant will address the questions of When, where, and
how has the applicant demonstrated his/her philosophy and guiding principles in practice? The clinical
case studies must be presented according to one of the following options:
1. At least one of the three clinical case studies must primarily focus on assessment
with the remaining clinical case(s) primarily focusing on intervention/treatment.
2. Three clinical case studies focusing on assessment for an applicant whose primary
responsibilities are assessment processes.
B. The contents of case studies are to include each of the following areas:
1. DEMOGRAPHICS: Inclusion of date of birth, age at the time of review, description of
setting in which the case was managed (i.e. home-based, elementary school, clinic,
practice office, etc.), omission of all personal identification
2. CASE HISTORY: Include relevant sources, such as: (a) records from medical,
educational, developmental sources and (b) interviews with parents, teachers, other
relevant individuals. These documents must reflect pertinent data regarding client
variables (i.e. history of otitis media, presence of other disabilities, such as
developmental delay, learning disabilities, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder,
general health-related factors, etc.), as well as the contextual variables (e.g., language
spoken in the home, discourse and linguistic demands in the classroom, literacy
demands of the curriculum, etc.).
3. ASSESSMENT TOOLS AND FINDINGS: Both quantitative and qualitative measures must
be documented, including (a) the relevant data describing the client’s communicative
performance across the linguistic parameters of form, content, and use of language
and (b) describing both the client and the contexts in which the client communicates.
All protocols must be adequately described and be linked to valid professional
literature through citations supporting the assessment procedures and cross
referenced to relevant practices contained in the Preferred Practices (ASHA, 1997).
4. INTERVENTION: The protocols used must: (a) provide sufficient description to make
evident the goals and the course of intervention, (b) be linked to valid professional
literature through citations supporting the intervention procedures and cross
referenced to relevant practices contained in the Preferred Practices (ASHA, 1997),
and (c) clearly describe the outcomes of the intervention in both quantitative and
qualitative measures of communicative performance in multiple contexts, varied
tasks, and with various communication partners.
5. EVALUATION: The applicant must provide evidence of evaluation of the assessment
process or intervention process (whichever are selected), documenting (a)
assessment/intervention outcomes, (b) consumer evaluation of the
assessment/intervention outcomes, and (c) collateral data documenting client change
(i.e., classroom performance, socialization skills, communication in pre-
vocational/vocational training settings, communication with family members,
communication during individual or group treatment settings).
Who Is the Primary Adviser?
The Primary Adviser has five major responsibilities.
1. The Primary Adviser works closely with the prospective applicant for Specialty
Recognition in Child Language to guide the applicant in the development of the
2. The Primary Adviser serves as the initial reviewer of the application.
3. The Primary Adviser serves as liaison to the Specialty Board on Child Language.
4. The Primary Adviser insures the applicant’s compliance with the Family Rights and
Privacy Act in the development of the contents of the applicant’s application
5. The Primary Adviser provides a letter reviewing the application at the time the
portfolio is submitted to the Specialty Board. At this time the Primary Adviser is
responsible for discussing the qualifications of the applicant and making an
independent recommendation about the granting of Specialty Recognition. The letter
may contain recommendations for further editing, if the Primary Adviser believes
that this is necessary but has been unsuccessful in facilitating adequate editing in his
or her preliminary work with the applicant.
a) If the Board, upon review of the application, decides that further revisions
are indicated, these recommendations are then conveyed to the Primary
Adviser and the applicant. At this time, the Primary Adviser guides the
applicant in making any modifications. It is the responsibility of the
Primary Adviser to determine an appropriate course of action, work with
the applicant to achieve the recommended modifications, and agree to the
readiness of the application for resubmission to the Board.
b) If no revisions are needed, the Board will consider the completed
application and render its decision.
What are the Steps Involved in the Application Process?
There are 10 steps in the application process:
Step 1. Applicant registers intent to apply for Specialty Recognition in Child Language with the
Specialty Board on Child Language (SBCL) using Form 2001-01: Intent to Apply for Specialty
Recognition in Child Language (see Appendix D). Applicant submits $50 nonrefundable registration
fee (made payable to SBCL) with Form 2001-01.
Step 2. The Specialty Board in Child Language acknowledges receipt of the registration form and fee
and mails Manual, Handbook, and current Adviser Registry to applicant.
Step 3. Applicant submits Form 2001-01.1."Request for Primary Adviser Assignment" upon receipt of
the Handbook. Board confirms the assignment of a Primary Adviser with the applicant. The
Handbook is also forwarded to the Primary Adviser.
Step 4. Applicant prepares Application for Specialty Recognition in Child Language using Form
2001-02: Application for Specialty Board Recognition in Child Language (see Appendix H) in
collaboration with the applicant’s Primary Adviser.
Step 5. Applicant assembles all application documents (i.e., Statement of Philosophy and Clinical
Case Studies) and requests the Primary Adviser send the letter of recommendation to the Board. The
letter of recommendation from the Primary Adviser shall address whether the applicant demonstrates
the necessary qualifications for Specialty Recognition in Child Language in the following five areas:
the applicant’s clinical experience and activities related to Child Language;
the applicant’s knowledge of the nature of typical language learning, language
differences, and atypical language development;
the applicant’s ongoing participation in advanced educational experiences and efforts to
remain current in knowledge and skills in Child Language;
the applicant’s skills in Child Language assessment and intervention/treatment; and
the Adviser’s recommendation regarding the applicant’s eligibility for Specialty
Step 6. Applicant sends entire Application for Specialty Recognition in Child Language in the form of
one (1) original and five (5) blind copies to the Specialty Board on Child Language along with the
balance due of $250 (nonrefundable unless denied; $100 to be retained for processing fees for denied
applications) made payable to SBCL.
Step 7. Board insures completeness of the Application and communicates same to the applicant. The
Board will verify the applicant’s active clinical certification status (CCC-SLP) with ASHA. In cases
where components of the application are missing, the Board will communicate same to the applicant
who, in turn, will have 30 days to insure completeness of the application. If the letter of
recommendation from the Primary Adviser is not received within 3 working days of the receipt of the
application, the Board will contact the Primary Adviser to solicit immediate submission of the letter.
Step 8. The five (5) blind copies of the complete application are then forwarded to the Board for
Step 9. The Board provides feedback (if any) to the applicant and the Primary Adviser. In cases
where revision is necessary, the Applicant collaborates with the Primary Adviser and prepares a final
draft (if modifications are needed) of the application using the feedback provided by the Board and
resubmits (if necessary) same to the Specialty Board on Child Language.
Step 10. The Board evaluates the final application in accord with the Application Portfolio Evaluation
Criteria and renders its decision regarding the granting or denial of Specialty Recognition in Child
Application Portfolio – Consists of a statement of philosophy, three clinical case studies, and one
letter of recommendation from the Primary Adviser.
Application Portfolio Evaluation Criteria - Evaluation criteria based on a rubric by which the
Specialty Board on Child Language assesses each section of the application portfolio according to
a 5-point scale.
Board Recognized Specialist – Conferred by the Specialty Board on Child Language to
individual practitioners when standards specified in the Stage II Application and the Specialty
Board Manual are met. Requires evidence of advanced knowledge, skills, and experience in Child
Language beyond the entry level requirements for the Certificate of Clinical Competence in
Speech-Language Pathology (CCC-SLP).
Council on Clinical Specialty Recognition (CCSR) – The Council charged by ASHA to
administer a high quality and efficient Specialty Recognition Program for a specialized area of
clinical practice in speech-language pathology or audiology. Recognizes Specialty Boards upon
ruling that the application of a Petitioning Group has met the Standards for Specialty Recognition.
Monitors each Specialty Board to ensure that it administers the specific Specialist Standards
efficiently and fairly and imposes equitable documentation requirements on all applicants.
Primary Adviser – An individual registered with the Specialty Board on Child Language as a
Registered Advisor who is also a Board Recognized Specialist in Child Language. Collaborates
with a prospective applicant in the development of the application portfolio, serves as an initial
reviewer of the application portfolio, and provides a letter of recommendation at the time the
application portfolio is submitted to the Specialty Board on Child Language.
Specialty Board on Child Language (SBCL) – The Board charged by the CCSR with
administering, in an efficient manner, a high quality program of recognition for board recognized
specialists in child language. Establishes and monitors standards pertaining to the recognition of
recognized specialists in Child Language. Adopts and implements Child Language specialist
standards. Applies procedures for processing application portfolios for Specialty Recognition in
Child Language in a timely fashion. Revises the specifics of the Standards for Recognition as a
Child Language Specialist as necessary.
Specialty Recognition Program – A voluntary program of specialty recognition (i.e., recognition
as a specialty area and recognition as a specialist) for clinical practitioners in speech-language
pathology or audiology. Based on the concept of nonexclusionary specialty recognition and the
assumption that a majority of practitioners will continue to provide broad-based clinical services.
Dependent on compliance with the Specialty Recognition Standards.
Specialty Recognition Standards – Standards adopted and implemented by the CCSR for
compliance with the Specialty Recognition Program. Includes both Standards for Recognition as a
Specialty Area and Standards for Recognition as a Specialist. Requires compliance by a Specialty
Board in order to be recognized by the CCSR and for a Board to confer recognition as a Specialist.
American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (1994). Report of the Ad Hoc Committee on Specialty
Recognition. ASHA: Rockville, MD.
American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (1997). Preferred Practice Patterns for the profession of
Speech-Language Pathology. ASHA: Rockville, MD.
American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (1998). Application Packet for Petitioning Groups
Seeking Recognition of a Specialty Area. ASHA: Rockville, MD.
American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) (2001a). Position statement on the roles and
responsibilities of speech-language pathologists with respect to reading and writing in children and
adolescents (position statement, executive summary of guidelines, technical report). ASHA Supplement 21,
17-27. Rockville, MD: Author.
American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (2001b). Scope of practice in Speech-Language
Pathology. Asha, 38 (Suppl. 16), 16-20.
Form 2001-01: Intent to Apply for Specialty Board Recognition in Child Language
The Specialty Board on Child Language (SBCL), with the approval of the American Speech-Language-
Hearing Association’s Council on Clinical Specialty Recognition, was established in 1999 to develop and
administer a voluntary specialist recognition program in Child Language consistent with the guidelines
developed by the Council on Clinical Specialty Recognition. The Specialty Board on Child Language is
now prepared to begin accepting applications. To register your intent to apply for Specialty Recognition in
Child Language, complete and return this form to the Specialty Board on Child Language.
Accompanying this form should be a check/money order in the amount of $50.00, which is a nonrefundable
registration fee to cover processing and administrative costs. Checks/money orders should be made
payable to SBCL and mailed to the address listed below.
Once payment is received you will be mailed the SBCL Manual, the Applicant Handbook, and a roster of
Registered Advisers. The process involves working with a Primary Adviser who will facilitate your
completion of the application. The roster will assist you to identify a Primary Adviser. You will have 18
months to complete the application process, as described in the Applicant Handbook for Specialty
Recognition in Child Language.
ADDRESS: WORK PHONE: ( )
HOME PHONE: ( )
FAX: ( )
S.S.# or E.I.N.:
American Speech-Language-Hearing Association Membership #:
Mail form and check or money order to:
Specialty Board on Child Language
c/o Jan Leuenberger
3315 South 95th Circle
Omaha, NE 68124