3. SLP Dismissal / Exits

From 1980 forward (cf. History of Misidentification) pressures grew from many separate forces (e. g. IDEA, parents, attorneys, advocacy groups, financial incentives, general education) to put children in special education and to keep them there indefinitely. This pattern had been well rehearsed in the long practiced misidentification of mentally retarded children.

The growth of federal, state and local regulations and practices added layers of complexity to dismissing or exiting children from special education: “…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.”

To illustrate exit complexity, the Sutter County Schools in California provides in its Special Education Procedural Handbook exit criteria ( sutter.k12.ca.us) for dismissing special education pupils. The criteria applied by the IEP team include:

1. Pupil can function within general education programs and instruction.

2. Pupil should be assessed to see if a disability still exits.

3. Pupil should meet the goals and objectives set out for him or her.

4. Pupil can succeed in the general curriculum program without services.

5. Pupil’s disability has been lessened for success in the general education.

6. Pupil is no longer making progress over a two-year period or consistent with ability.

7. Pupil placement is better in general education to meet needs.

8. Pupil absences apart from disability affect progress.

9. Pupil achieves high school diploma or exit age.

10. Pupil unwilling to participate in special education.

11. Pupil’s parents disagree with special education placement.

Several other exit considerations come into play, such as documentation of performance, IEP exit criteria, kinds of data used, different data from placement, IEP team recommendations, generalization of learning, compensatory strategies, criteria for specific problems (voice, articulation, language), classroom monitoring and state standards.

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