Monitoring Misidentification for SLPs

SLPs want to manage special education eligibility correctly and in this way ethically keep caseload size and workload under control. IDEA 2004 regulations provides the legal basis to reduce overidentification and disproportionality in all private and public U. S. schools.

idea.ed.gov (Legacy 2007) provides a summary of what state and local school districts “must” do to monitor incorrect placements in special education. Here is the basic requirement:

“The State must have in effect, consistent with the purposes of 34 CFR Part 300 and with section 618(d) of the Act, policies and procedures designed to prevent the inappropriate overidentification or disproportionate representation by race and ethnicity of children as children with disabilities, including children with disabilities with a particular impairment described in 34 CFR 300.8 of the IDEA regulations.[34 CFR 300.173] [20 U.S.C. 1412(a)(24)]”

PREVENT is the operative word. When an SLP avoids an inappropriate placement, a measure of prevention is taken and caseload is reduced by one.

Moreover, the state must monitor local school districts to see they are doing their jobs to reduce overidentification and disproportionality:

“…in accordance with §300.646(a) of the IDEA regulations, the State or the Secretary of the Interior must…require the LEA to publicly report on the revision of policies, practices, and procedures described under §300.646(b)(1) of the IDEA regulations.”

These prevention measures assume background knowledge of the fact that too many American school children are placed in special education via misdiagnosis, and many of these children are from minority groups.

SLPs in their schools should feel free to explore this topic with administrators. They are in the same lifeboat.

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