6. SLP Dismissal / Exits

According to Speechville.Com, “School speech therapists’ caseloads have a tendency to be large. Sixty, seventy, or eighty children per one speech therapist is not uncommon, especially in states that either do not have a legislated maximum caseload limit or the maximum caseload limit provided for by the state’s legislature is very high” (Speechville).

An inventory based on 1999 data is provided for states that have or have not taken steps to limit SLP caseload size. For two states caseload information was unknown. A total of 19 states set no limits.

A total of 29 states did limit SLP caseload size. The range over all was from 40 to 80 pupils. Only three states set limits at 40 pupils per SLP. Twenty-five states maintained loads at 50 or above.

Thus school SLPs have advocated for caseload reductions but only with modest success. They have advocated for more personnel but only with modest success. Loads remain over reasonable limits and SLPs absorb the problem of management and the problem of stress.

Advocating for improved special education eligibility management is an alternative solution to begging for help. It can add status to the role of the professional speech-language pathologist in the school setting where leadership for reducing overidentification is minimal.

SIMPLY — the starting point is to make a list of all the children on the caseload who should be dismissed, and then setting out to make dismissals throughout the school year.   See Managing SLP Exits for an example.

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