4. SLP Caseloads

Strategic Eligibility Management (SEM) is an approach to school SLP caseload management which has at its foundation the laws and regulations of IDEA 2004 requiring the reduction of over-identification of at-risk children (cf. About Us).

It depends on individual action rather than group policies, and can be repeated thousands of times daily by individual American school speech-language pathologists. It requires no federal or state funding or legal justification.

It is self-empowering, educational and rewarding. An immediate reward is a smaller caseload. The larger reward is the feeling of positive action that helps children.

The approach taken to SEM is three fold:

1. Reduce the number of children enrolled in special education.

2. Support least restrictive environment.

3. Dismiss children who no longer belong in special education.

SEM requires almost no preparation. It is more of a state of mind and a personal goal honored every day on the job. It does require social grace and ability to explain a good idea to others.

The chief qualification for SEM application is the ability to say no. Most of us are afraid of saying no, especially when the peer expectation is yes.

It can start with something as simple as this: As you sit at the computer writing up an evaluation, ask yourself, “Does this child really belong in special education?

Or asking yourself, “Are there pupils on the caseload who should be dismissed?”

Of course this is a formula for all special educators and related services personnel. They can take individual action, too. But that is their personal choice.

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