18. SLP Eligibility Management: Evaluation

To prevent over-identification, and disproportional representations, special education personnel must be sensitive to the processes which put children in special education, and be able to diagnose them instantaneously as the rush to place and comply happens around them.  Three questions must be asked:

1. Who makes the referrals?

2. Who evaluates?

3. Who urges placement?

As to the evaluators, it is interesting to note non-traditional specialties were put on the FAPE TEAM by the courts and congress in 1975, making them a legal part of education, under “related services.”  SLPs are on the evaluator list and are involved in misplacements.  It is also interesting that evaluators tend to take their cues from teachers, administrators, parents and IEP team members.  An evaluator who wishes to reduce the number of non-disabled minority children in special education faces pressures to place and retain.

In a prior post, we offered this about evaluators:

Related Services and Over-identification

We see there are too many children placed in special education, and often incorrectly. States allow great latitude for local school decision-making, with variable results. Who are the decision makers? What are their relative contributions to placing a child in special education? Is there much known about the process?

“Related services personnel (counselor, interpreter, medical personnel, occupational therapist, mobility specialist, physical therapist, rehabilitation counselor, school health personnel, transportation specialist, social worker) with exceptions do not make major decisions for child eligibility (IDEA 2004). They contribute evaluation data and opinion but defer to the determinations of the IEP team.

The related services having direct responsibilities for recommending special education eligibility include audiology, speech-language pathology, psychology and early intervention personnel:

Audiologist: “Identification of children with hearing loss.”

Speech-language pathologist: ” Identification of children with speech or language impairments.”

Early intervention: ” Early identification and assessment of disabilities in children means the implementation of a formal plan for identifying a disability as early as possible in a child’s life.”

Psychologists: “Administering psychological and educational tests, and other assessment procedures”

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