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An Analysis of an Integrated Service Delivery Model in Schools

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Education
Wordcount: 4451 words Published: 8th Feb 2020

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In the 21st century, the capacity of Australia to provide a high quality of life for its

citizens will depend on the ability to compete in the global economy on education and innovation

(MCEETYA, 2009).  Due to inclusion and increasing diversity in the school system, the nature

of teaching needs to change.  Educators want to improve their students’ learning and they know

that they cannot do it alone (Scherer, 2011).  Society has placed numerous demands to achieving

academic success and this cannot be fulfilled without support.  Inclusion provides an appropriate

quality education for students with disabilities and integrates them among peers without

disabilities in the general education classroom.  Inclusion is an attempt to establish collaborative,

supportive and nurturing learning experiences for students with disabilities that gives them the

services and accommodations that they need to learn (Hammond & Ingalls, 2003).  Support is

needed in the school system because teachers believe that they do not have sufficient training for

inclusionary services (Hammond & Ingalls, 2003).  There is inadequate levels of collaboration

and support from fellow teachers when problems arise in the classroom (Hammond & Ingalls,

2003).   All educators should participate in the planning and implementation of inclusionary

programs in the school system (Hammond & Ingalls, 2003). 

 There has been a diverse range of challenges driving change in educational settings. 

Since the early 1980s, educational reforms has been driven by globalization, equity and market

competitiveness (Savage & O’Connor, 2014).  Global pressures in education were exemplified

by an increase of international comparisons through standardized testing programs such as the

Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development‘s (OECD) Program for International

Student Assessment (Savage & O’Connor, 2014).  There is an assumption that students’ test

scores reflect their future capacity to compete in the global market (Savage & O’Connor, 2014).

In the early 1990s, there was a strong drive towards collaboration between the Commonwealth

and all the States and Territories to establish a national policy for the development of Curriculum

Statements and Profiles for each of the eight subjects- English, Studies of Society and

Environment, Mathematics, Science, Technology, Art, Health and Physical Education and

Languages Other Than English (Bruniges, 2005).  There was a large gap between high-

performing and low-performing students, failure to meet national goals of schooling,

deteriorating infrastructure of school buildings and an outflux of retiring teachers (Bruniges,

2005).  Educational systems are akin to ecosystems where there are interactions between

teachers, students, parents and community members (Bruniges, 2005).  They are influenced by

social, economic, political and cultural drivers (Bruniges, 2005).  Advances in technology,

economic prosperity, equality, cultural diversity and changing student needs helped to modify

the curriculum (Bruniges, 2005).  In 2008, the development of a national curriculum called the

Melbourne Declaration on Educational Goals for Young Australians (MCEETYA) and the

Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) was established (Savage

& O’Connor, 2014).  The MCEETYA provides all students access to high-quality education that

is free from discrimination based on gender, language, sexual orientation, pregnancy, culture,

ethnicity, religion, health or disability, socioeconomic class or geographic location (MCEETYA,

2009).  In Queensland, Australia, the inclusive education reforms provides an equitable

education for all students regardless of cultural, physical, socio-emotional and behavioral

differences (Bourke, 2010).  This was enacted by the state government through the Department

of Education and Training (Bourke, 2010).  Key policies and frameworks include inclusive

education (DET, 2017a), cultural and linguistic diversity (DET, 2017b), disability policy (DET,

2017c), student mental health and wellbeing (DET, 2016a), religious diversity (DET, 2017d) and

the learning and wellbeing framework (DET, 2015). 

 Schools need to review their service delivery models so they can be responsive to

changing needs of the students and to maintain an inclusive environment.  Support service

professionals such as psychologists, speech and language therapists, occupational therapists

and physical therapists offer their support and expertise in the school system.  In the direct

service model, services are provided directly to a student by a special education teacher or other

professional (Pacer Centre, 2018).  Direct services can be provided to an individual student or

small group of students with the same needs (Pacer Centre, 2018).  In the indirect service model,

services are not provided directly to the student (Pacer Centre, 2018).  Professionals provide

services to others who are working directly with a student such as consultation (Pacer Centre,

2018).  Students benefit when therapy is provided as both direct and indirect services (Case-

Smith & Holland, 2009).  An integrated service delivery model allows schools to be flexible,

responsive to the students’ needs, promotes collaboration and supports students in achieving

their educational goals (Brown, 2016). The integrated service delivery model is the most

effective way of achieving these educational goals for students in an inclusionary environment. 

Direct and indirect services will be analyzed and an integrated service delivery model such as

collaborative consultation will be explored with an example.

 The provision of direct and indirect support services in education is complex and

involves many stakeholders including parents, teachers, support service professionals,

community and the government.  Direct services can occur in a private area of the school or a

natural, interactive classroom (CCRESA, 2004).  Direct services may include an assessment of

student performance, student observation and how it occurs in the natural setting (CCRESA,

2004).  There are “pull-out” or “push in” direct services.  Pull-out service removes a student to

another setting on a schedule (CCRESA, 2004).  Push in service are services that occur in the

student’s natural school environment such as the general education classroom or playground

(CCRESA, 2004).  A term used in direct services is collaboration.  Cook and Friend (1991)

defined collaboration as “a style for direct interaction between at least two co-equal parties

voluntarily engaged in shared decision making as they work toward a common goal” (p.25). 

Communication and collaboration among school staff is increased and students do not miss

instruction time in the classroom (CCRESA, 2014). Direct service delivery is not a stand-alone

method since it is not sufficient to meet the high demands for educational support (Case-Smith &

Holland, 2009). In indirect services, there are ongoing progress reviews, consultation, crisis

intervention, demonstration teaching, counselling of parents or teachers and curriculum

modification (CCRESA, 2014).  Consultation is a form of indirect service delivery and is a

triadic helping process (File & Kontos, 1992).  The consultant provides services to a student

indirectly through a mediator or consultee (File & Kontos, 1992).  The consultee attempts to

change the behavior of the student whereas the consultant is the professional who has the

expertise regarding the strategies to change the behavior (Cohen, Thomas, Sattler & Morsink,

1997).  Effective consultation is conceptualized as understanding the teacher’s concerns,

reframing the student’s behavior, using the teacher’s learning and teaching style, and

collaborating to determine how strategies are implemented in the classroom (Case-Smith &

Holland, 2009).  Students benefit in an integrated service delivery model consisting of both

direct and indirect services because students’ behaviour constantly changes, curricular demands

increase, the environment is dynamic and there needs to be consultation to effectively contribute

to the student’s educational program (Case-Smith &Holland, 2009).

 There are advantages and disadvantages to the direct service model and indirect service

model.  In the direct services model, push-in services happen in the general education classroom

(Morin, 2018).  The general education teacher, special education teacher and other professionals

work collaboratively and provide instruction directly to the student (Morin, 2018).  Services can

be provided through IEPs, response to interventions and informal supports (Morin, 2018).  The

advantages of push-in services are that students miss less instructional time, the student’s

schedule has less disruption and it occurs in the least restrictive environment (Morin, 2018).  The

disadvantages of push-in services are that there are differences in teaching styles and more

distractions in the general education classroom (Morin, 2018).  In the pull-out services,

specialists work with students outside of the general education classroom.  Services are provided

through IEPs, RTI and informal supports (Morin, 2018).  The advantages of pull-out services are

that students get more direct instruction suited to their needs, more emotional support and fewer

distractions.  The disadvantages of pull-out services are that there is less opportunity for

specialists and teachers to collaborate and the student misses general education classroom time

(Morin, 2018).  The advantages of the indirect service model (consultation model) are that

teachers’ attitudes and skills improve (Coben et al, 1997).  The specialists and teachers work

cooperatively and have a problem-solving relationship.  There is mutual trust, communication

and shared responsibilities when identifying problems, strategies and conducting evaluations

(Coben et al, 1997).  The disadvantages to the consultation model is that there is a lack of time to

consult and funding is a barrier (File & Kontos, 1992).  There is a lack of professional

preparation in consultation and roles need to be clarified (File & Kontos, 1992).  Strategies may

be rejected if they do not conform to the professionals’ conceptual framework (File & Kontos,

1992).  The consultant and the consultee may have difficulty maintaining a relationship based on

parity and a sense of hierarchy may arise (File & Kontos, 1992).  The consultant may have

unrealistic expectations of the consultee and this may cause resistance (File & Kontos, 1992).

 Consultation models recognize the interrelatedness between individuals and their social

environments.  The Mental Health Consultation model was developed as a preventive approach

to psychological disorders and was identified by Gerald Caplan (Brown, Pryzwansky & Schulte,

2011).  It has been accepted in the design of school-based services.  Schools use a three-tier

model paired with a response-to-intervention approach from universal instructional practices to

more individualized and intensive services (Brown et al, 2011).  Teachers are asked to

implement interventions at each tier.  In the Behavioral Consultation model, schools use 

collaborative functional behavioral analysis to treat students with disabilities (Brown et al, 2011).

This approach involves development of a behavioral definition, observations, assessments and

performance goals (Brown et al, 2011).  In the Solution-Focused model, the consultant shifts the

perspective of the consultee around skill deficiencies (Brown et al, 2011).  It is based on goal-

setting and finding potential solutions to problems (Brown et al, 2011).  It is applicable to

individual or group consultation with parents or teachers (Brown et al, 2011). The System’s

Theory Model of Consultation is based on interactions between clients and system in the

environment (Brown et al, 2011).  Collaboration aligns the school with the community to achieve

educational goals (Brown et al, 2011).  These models deliver indirect consultation services to

school settings and improves the functioning of teachers (consultees) to help their students.

 A whole school approach consists of direct and indirect services in which the school

community and the broader community feel a sense of belonging (Kids Matter, 2018).  The

whole school approach ensures that teaching is interactive and inclusive, the school community

is diverse and families are involved in the development of policies (Kids Matter, 2018).  All

members of the school community contribute to the planning and decision-making of an

initiative (Kids Matter, 2018).  For example, Schoolwide Positive Behavior Support (SWPBS) is

a whole school approach to creating a safe and supportive environment in Queensland state

schools (DET, 2016b).  These schools understand that problem behavior serves a purpose and

school members need to teach appropriate ways for students to express their needs (DET,


 Students need a flexible, integrated service delivery model that consists of both direct and

indirect services.  A collaborative consultation model enables professionals with different

expertise to produce solutions for effective programs for students (Idol, Paolucci-Whitcomb &

Nevin, 1995).  The consultant collaborates with other professionals and shares knowledge. 

There is a beneficial liaison with community agencies and parents (Idol et al, 1995). 

Collaborative consultation emphasizes a student-centred approach in which students receive

instruction for academic and social problems in the least restrictive environment (Idol et al,

1995).  Teachers and parents receive direct assistance in their natural environments (Idol et al,

1995).  Another benefit of collaborative consultation is the promotion of staff development

opportunities (Coben et al, 1995).  Professionals with different expertise share responsibility for

the design and implementation of programs for students.  However, there are limitations to the

collaborative consultation model.  Many consultants claim that they do not have enough time to

consult because both general and special education teachers have full-time teaching

responsibilities (Coben et al, 1995).  Conflict arises when educators cannot do what they want to

do because of time constraints.  There are language differences between special educators and

general educators (Coben et al, 1995).  Special educators use a certain type of jargon which

makes communication difficult.  There is lack of participation in team meetings which causes

problems in implementing a specialized program for students (Coben et al, 1995). Finally, there

is a lack of training for general and special educators which causes problems in implementing the

program for students (Coben et al, 1995).  For instance, a collaborative consultation model can

be used to improve educational services for mainstreamed students who are hearing-impaired

(Luckner, Rude & Sileo, 1989).  Teachers of students who are hearing-impaired can provide both

direct and indirect services to hearing-impaired students (Luckner et al, 1989).  Teachers of

hearing-impaired students can be consultants to general education teachers by sharing

information on auditory training systems, interpreters, tutors and notetakers (Luckner et al,

1989).  Speech language pathologists and guidance counsellors can provide direct services to

hearing-impaired students and consultative services to school staff and parents (Luckner et al,

1989).  Team teaching lessons with general education teachers, in-service workshops and

promoting schoolwide activities for hearing-impaired students are indirect services (Luckner et

al, 1989).  In Queensland, “Every student succeeding State Schools Strategy 2017-2021” is a

collaborative empowerment in which school staff work together to create inclusive environments

(DET, 2017e). Students receive the support they need in a culturally diverse environment.

 Therefore, a flexible and integrated service delivery model is fundamental to improving

students’ learning in a school setting.  An integrated approach consisting of direct and indirect

services is the most effective way to meet today’s complex environment.  These service delivery

models emphasize an inclusionary foundation in which students are accepted and accommodated

to be with their non-disabled peers.  The whole school approach allows students to have more

resources and support from their community.  To make sure that no child is left behind in school,

consulting with professionals with different expertise and collaborating with administrators,

parents, colleagues, teachers and consultants is beneficial for optimal learning of students.  An

integrated approach to service delivery in schools meets the increasing demands of today’s



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