7. SLP Dismissal / Exits

Dismissal patterns vary with school specialties and special education categories (Congressional Report, Nov. 2001, Figure 2).

Speech-language pathology placements are high during the early grades and then drop rapidly after the 5th grade. The drop in the total number of placements by middle school shows SLPs are active in exiting children from their caseloads and doing a nice job. Neglected dismissals tends to occur after the 4th grade. SLPs must continue to monitor their caseloads for dismissal candidates.

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Persistent articulation problems are one obstacle to dismissing pupils in the mid-grades. This is a special topic of concern.

Learning disability placements rise quickly at the 4th grade and then decline gradually over time reaching high school. There is relatively less exit activity among special education teachers. Special education teachers do not typically place children in special education and are less likely to propose exits. School psychologists maintain some distance from instruction where they might otherwise identify LD children for dismissal. Special education teachers are not “evaluators” according to IDEA 2004.

SLPs can alert colleagues about the need to dismiss LD pupils in a timely fashion. Exit decisions are team decisions.

Many LD children are also categorized as SLI children. There is a tendency for SLD placements to carry forward SLI placements in the minds of IEP teams.

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