11. SLP Dismissal / Exits

Diplomatic communication with coworkers is important to the dismissal process. Dismissal needs to come up often and positively in conversation and written communication. In special education there is a business-as-usual flavor, and the topic does not come up much. It is fair to say most educators are ignorant of it. Linda Taylor recounted this story:

“A few months ago, the superintendent of our district stopped to ask how things were going. I said that it had been a good year; that I had just released three students from special education – a 7th grader, a 9th grader, and an 11th grader – and hoped to release more in the Fall. His surprise and shock were clearly evident. Mr. S. said, “Linda, these things never happen! – well almost never! I recently asked a fellow superintendent if he ever heard of any kids getting OUT of special education, and that fellow said that it is very, very rare for that to happen. (That is an accurate assessment.)”

Notions of misidentification and least restrictive environment should be described simply and positively. Gentle reminders and explanations can be worked into routine IEP meetings.

Modeling takes place when a routine exit is proposed. Justification can include why it is necessary to exit children from special education: E.g., “With our speech kids we like to see them “graduate” as quickly as possible so they can spend all their time with their teachers.” Once colleagues understand the process, they tend to follow suit.

Directors of special education differ in their outlooks toward misidentification and some are quite protective of their authority to implement change. Dismissal is not a significant SEA compliance topic. It is something of a taboo to discuss because it implies mistakes and non-compliance. Once dismissal is accepted, directors can be allies for doing the right thing.

The process of advocating for dismissal is the same as advocating for more SLP help. However, it is more rewarding because the result is workload reduction.

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