11. SLP Caseloads

“SLPs should emphasize in the eligibility report the observations and factors leading to recommendations to place or deny eligibility. The framework should combine the use of clinical and state criteria. The report outline should be a tool a for preventing needless placements. Testing should rule out non-disabled children, and make it clear why they are not eligibility. SLPs should make a clear case AGAINST placement to the eligibility group including teachers and parents. The standard to place is lower!” (10 SLP Caseloads).

A practical technique is to develop evaluation “lists” amounting to protocols for preventing needless placement and retention of at risk children in special education. Interesting research by Gawande (2009) of the Harvard Medical School has been reported (NPR). “Our great struggle in medicine these days is not just with ignorance and uncertainty,” Gawande says. “It’s also with complexity: how much you have to make sure you have in your head and think about. There are a thousand ways things can go wrong.”

Gawande sought help from an aircraft company: “I got a chance to visit Boeing and see how they make things work, and over and over again they fall back on checklists,” Gawande says. “The pilot’s checklist is a crucial component, not just for how you handle takeoff and landing in normal circumstances, but even how you handle a crisis emergency when you only have a couple of minutes to make a critical decision.”

Using checklists for standard surgical procedures reduced team errors even though surgeons believed they could reliably trust their memories.

Though IEP formats reflect the law and inviolate provisions, we still forget to evaluate factors that put non-disabled children in special education, or keep them out. Here is where checklists come in.

The evaluation report is an opportunity to build a better system of speech and language assessment sensitive to questions of misidentification.

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