2. SLP Eligibility Management: Preamble

At the beginning of our posts in 2008 we set out a preamble in About Us. “A preamble is an introductory and expressionary statement in a document that explains the document’s purpose and underlying philosophy” (Wiki): 


“Eligibility Project


The Special Education Eligibility Project evolved from the practical issues of caseload management. For at least a decade now, SLPs have been flooded with children referred for special education placement. Professional organizations have pressed SLPs to solve the numbers problem through external solutions. An external solution is one where SLPs take it upon themselves to manage caseload problems outside the structure of their job descriptions. Time-management skills should be improved, and load analyses performed to document workload excesses. Computers should be used to manage paperwork. SLPs should appeal to school districts, legislators and departments of education for load relief. Ironically, such measures increase workload without producing workload reductions systemically. SLPs seek change at the margins of educational policy.

Mr. Chang, swan-goose and friend, Lakeside, Arizona


Internal Solutions


The Eligibility Project gives weight to internal solutions, ones changing the circumstances through which at-risk children are placed in special education. SLPs recommend some 20% of the children placed in special education in American schools, and therefore have something to say about the size of their caseloads. And they have the responsibility of recommending children for dismissal from special education. Every day they interact with school personnel giving them the chance to articulate the importance of proper eligibility management. Eligibility determinations can be sharp and appropriate. SLPs can provide leadership within schools to change national, state and local policies and procedures. There is little evidence presently that the over-subscription of at-risk children is a major concern among state and local special education departments. Schools are failing to address the issue squarely, and speech-language pathology is in the picture.”


Our position has tested out well:   School SLPS should empower themselves to manage their caseload activities independently. They should not count on universities, ASHA, directors of special education and state agencies. However, one must have resolve and tough mindedness. It is not easy.   In fact, the folks who are supposed to help you will work against you.


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