Do you feel guilty dismissing students because it seems like everyone is against it? Do you avoid it because you’re too tired to fight it? Do you get kickback from staff or from parents? I know that’s how I felt for many years. During my 24 years in schools, it felt like the whole world wanted me to keep kids in therapy for ETERNITY. The “D word” (dismissal) often felt like a dirty word.
Late in my career, I realized that we needed to STOP 🛑 talking about dismissal at the END of the therapy process and START ⭐️ talking about it from day 1!
HOW DO YOU DO THAT?
✳️ At the initial IEP meeting, make it very clear to the entire team that dismissal is the ultimate goal! The goal is for the child to NOT need us anymore! Talk about the glorious day the child will get to “graduate” from therapy as often as you can. That way, when the time comes, the parent will be more mentally prepared, and it’ll be a party instead of a fight! You can ensure that happens by always painting dismissal as positive… which, hellooooo, it is!!!
✳️ For students in articulation, explain where the child is on the articulation hierarchy at each IEP. I use this FREE helpful visual that helps parents to see how close their child is to graduation! It also helps to use the articulation hierarchy with students in addition to parents. Seeing their own progression UP the hierarchy is super motivating!
✳️ For all children approaching dismissal, rave about progress in their progress reports! I made a habit of writing “He’s doing so well that he won’t need me much longer!” or “I’ll be contacting you to discuss dismissal her soon!”
✳️ When the time comes, go all out with a diploma, plenty of gushing about how awesome the child is, and maybe even a goody bag. You’ll make some children very happy…at least until they realize that means they can’t come to see you anymore. 😬 For parents who consent to photos, send them a photo of their child’s “speech graduation.”
Now that I work in private practice, parents are much more open to dismissal (which, I have to admit, took me aback.) After all, it saves them money!
It also helps to use the articulation hierarchy with students in addition to parents,
What do you think? Will you try talking up dismissal from day 1?