2. Dismissal / Exits

Strategic Eligibility Management (cf. 4. SLP Caseloads) or SEM is a system designed to regulate special education enrollments to prevent misidentification and work overload. As a principled system, it centers around the flow of eligibility determinations from the time of identification to that of disqualification. Practitioners can develop and improve skills to manage their caseloads or instructional lists.

“The approach taken to SEM is three fold:

1. Reduce the number of children enrolled in special education.

2. Support least restrictive environment.

3. Dismiss children who no longer belong in special education.”

SEM requires the development of background and perspective on national public policy trends in special education transcending any one discipline. There must be an appreciation of the biases operating to place and retain at-risk children. Trends arising from IDEA 2004 and subsequent regulations should be understood as they apply directly to daily eligibility decision-making. Waiting for full agency support is not a good idea.

It can be argued that dismissal procedures are the most important area of practitioner skill. Once a learning disability teacher or an occupational therapist understands the difficulties of exiting children from special education, he or she will be motivated to work back into the chains of decisions leading up to dismissal determinations. It is better to avoid misidentification in the first place.

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