8. SLP CASELOAD CUTS

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

OVER-IDENTIFICATION

First, assume you are placing too many children in special education.

National statistics and trends suggest SLPs are a part of the problem, especially with respect to phonology, language and learning disability where there is a lot of judgment involved.

Second, go over No Child Left Behind procedures in your school.

This is an old act going back to the civil rights era of the 1960s designed to help “struggling students.” Some schools will have some kind of child study program and pre-intervention planning. Plan to make use of it.

Third, push back on teacher referrals.

See if you can get the pre-intervention committee to meet and organize concrete suggestions for referring teachers. Participate and suggest techniques. Stress that pupils must be showing academic difficulties to be placed in special education. Try to prevent hasty referrals to special education, which require legal response within 60 days. Here is where the placement expectation gets set up because a referral is formal.

Fourth, promote a preschool intervention program to reduce referrals and placements.

Someone’s got to do it! It is hard to see that the 100,000 American schools are making rapid progress in this area. States cut out preschool programs. Check with your state requirements for preschool placement. Obviously functional articulation cases are suspect.

Fifth, flat out be on guard about admitting minority children, especially those with limited English.

Watch out for boys from minority groups. They have double jeopardy because they are boys. Watch out for the “hard to teach.” Watch out for emotional disturbed and hyperactive children. Most schools do not know what to do with “struggling students” and they tend to stick them in special education for remedial help.

Sixth, don’t misinterpret standardized test results for minority children. School psychologists have been doing this for a long time, to the point where IDEA 2004 knocked back reliance on standardized tests, and promoted wide arrays of evidence-based assessments.

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