Let’s talk about practical techniques for reducing the SLP caseload by way of Strategic Eligibility Management – practical points.


First, believe you have children in your caseload who shouldn’t be there!

Be sure to listen to your own excuses to see if they are valid. Often they revolve around perfectionism. Some children will just have to go into life with imperfect /r/s, limited vocabulary, short sentences or mild dysfluency. Get used to the idea you can’t solve every problem.

Second, weigh stigmatization against benefits.

This is “big picture” thinking! What are the long-term needs of the children in the speech and language caseload? To have a vocation one day? To be accepted for who they are no matter what their disability?

Third, be prepared to “rock the boat.”

Not everyone will agree with your exit recommendations. Be prepared to make mistakes according to what the IEP team says. Parents often for good reasons will advocate for their children continuing on in special education. You might embarrass some co-workers.

Fourth, over-prepare to make sure your evidence is strong.

A clown on mainstreet.

Be prepared to explain your point of view and give justifications.

Somehow you have to explain the problem of “over-identification” to some colleagues who may be biased for it.

Fifth, accept limited success, especially the first year.

SLPs have a good track record of exiting mild articulation problems but they are not as strong exiting pupils with mild-to-moderate problems. Accept an exit success rate of 75%. For placements, SLPs have a record of placing too many children. Accept a placement reduction rate of 25%.

Fifth, really apply the information you memorized in graduate school.

You know about cultural and linguistic differences because you studied them! You were told about the short-comings of norm-referenced tests. Don’t just sit at IEP meetings and nod your head when you know better. SLPs are placing a lot of non-disabled minority children nationwide because they don’t understand and apply what they memorized in school.

Sixth, get used to the idea that all school personnel tend to over-identify at-risk children for special education, and this includes SLPs.

Read up on the problem and become objective!

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