6. SLP Caseloads

SLPs under-appreciate the gravity of the initial placement decision.

Children placed in special education, even if they do have an initial disability, are at risk for all kinds of “side effects.” When the placement decision is learning disability, a pupil’s whole life is at stake, and there is no hyperbole here. The list of negative effects is long! This is what is called stigmatization, and it is well documented.

It’s a judgment call. Parents in some cases would be better off getting private reading lessons than to allow placement in a learning disability program. It is better socially to say, “No, Hanna is not in special education and never has been. She likes to read.”

Worse yet, once a child is placed it is difficult to exit him or her from special education. We can call it the 4:1 rule. It is four times more difficulty to exit a child than to put him or her into special education. For example:

1. There is exit paperwork to complete.

2. Goals have to be reached.

3. Parents and teachers have to be convinced.

4. An exit meeting must be held.

The national picture is that a good many LD children stay in special education until they drop out of school, become involved in criminal behavior and are sent to prison, or die in a few cases.

“As many as 70% of the youth involved in the juvenile justice system have disabilities. (National average from The National Center on Education, Disability and Juvenile Justice. http://www.edjj.org)

Learning disabled youth are 200% more likely to be arrested than non-disabled youth for comparable activity, are more likely to be adjudicated, and spend longer periods of time locked or on probation” (Rural Education).

Harshly, one can argue it is better existentially in some cases to have an untreated disability than it is to be an institutional outcast, where all the kids in high school know you are in special education and that sets the tone of all your experiences.

SLPS must be the keepers of the light: “Don’t needlessly place children in special education!”

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