5. SLP Eligibility Management: Conflicts

Key to improving your independent management of caseload demands is to better understand conflicts of interest, especially centering around the IEP team’s penchant for over-placement. 

IEP Bias

Professional team members have a first interest in their careers, salary rewards, social recognition and job satisfaction. 


Administrators want meetings to go smoothly. Quick placement is efficient. They may understand the financial benefits to the district for special education numbers depending on the state of the economy and federal funding trends.  


Special education teachers and related services personnel make their livings by having disabled children to work with.  


Teachers want to be free of difficult-to-teach children. Their preference is for non-disabled compliant females. Children who make instruction difficult are referred to special education.  Teachers also remove children from their classrooms by having them suspended.  Boys and minority children are less desirable overall. Disruptive children are unacceptable.


Parents want help for their children, failing to understand potential risks of special education placement. They tend to want to go along with school recommendations. Only a few parents contest placements. They may not be well received.

Children rarely attend IEP meetings.  At-risk children typically have no one advocating for them.  




The group can be swayed by strong evidence one way or the other. SLPs can figure out techniques to sway opinions, either with good evidence, reports or sound reasoning. Informal contacts outside of IEP meetings are useful to build understandings of other choices. Special education personnel rarely if ever discuss over-identification and pupil protections. The IEP forms include assurances but participants check them off routinely.


Study the roles participants play in placing children in special education.  Watch carefully what happens when someone disagrees with placement recommendations. You will see the force of collective action in support of the placement recommendation.



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