I recently got the pleasure of reading a new book by a fellow speech language pathologist titled:
The School Speech Language Pathologist
by Teresa Sadowski M.A. CCC-SLP
I was very interested in this book when I received it because I have been working in the schools for 6 years and find myself advocating for my job constantly. My biggest issue is the caseload vs. workload approach (surprise surprise!!). There has been a lot of talk about this on ASHA, social media, and other SLP blogs. Administrators often ask for your caseload number, not understanding that some students with more severe disabilities take more time/work than students with a few sound errors. I have also found that most administrators don't understand the time it takes to do evaluations (observations, informal testing, formal testing, teacher interviews, parent interviews, checking academic records, consulting with other professionals, ect...), screenings (some schools screen all prek and kindergarten students!!), therapy (direct, indirect, and consult), and paper work duties (IEP writing, progress notes, therapy planning, report writing, ect..). This book outlines all of these issues in an easy to read format that is aimed toward school administrators! How cool is that!! So the next time you find yourself explaining your job (again and again) grab this book and ask your boss to read it!
The book is broken down into the following chapters:
Role of the SLP in the Schools: In this section she outlines what areas (speech and language disorders that impact education) are addressed by the school SLP and the major responsibilities we have (evaluations, direct/indirect therapy, screenings, consulting, ect...).
Workload vs. Caseload: I like how she explains these two concepts! She even gives two examples (SLP1 and SLP2) who have similar caseload numbers but completely different workloads. This helps give a perspective that administrators should not only consider the number of students when making staffing decisions!
The Basics: This is where she briefly defines common speech-language terminology. She starts by explaining the difference between speech and language. (I have had teachers act shocked when I told them I help students with story comprehension and grammar skills). It is beneficial to educate administartors and teachers about the true scope of our profession
Typical SLP Responsibilities and Time Completion Factors: This chapter is great because she gives an accurate account of the time it takes to do our everyday/weekly/monthly/yearly tasks! Each task is defined and she gives an estimated time range for each (assessments, direct services, indirect services, IEP writing, progress report writing, consulting, ect...).
Strategies That Can Aid in Managment of the SLP Workload! This is a great section that provides real solutions to help the busy SLP. She explains the importance of keeping group numbers low to maximize student progress, setting aside time to get paperwork done (instead of requiring SLPs to take hours of work home), and she encourages administrators to spend time with the SLP during the day to get an idea of what they do!!
Entrance and Exit Criteria: There is a brief summary of how students qualify or get dismissed from speech therapy services. She mainly explains that there are many variables and factors when qualifying and dismissing a child that have to be considered (not just standardized testing).
What You Can Do: Here she tells administrators how they can support their speech language pathologist. She gives great suggestions (I loved the one about a teacher inservice to learn about typical speech and language development).
20 Questions To Ask Your SLPs: This is a great list of questions I would love any administrator to ask me!! They are questions relating to things we care about and deal with on the job weekly (what was your caseload growth last year?/are your evaluation materials up to date?/what type of scheduling issues do you face?/ect..)
This book is great because it is short, but still contains all of the above mentioned information. The challenge will be getting administrators to actually read it! What do you think? Would yours???
If you would like to buy this book you can get it on Amazon here (paperback or kindle version).
Disclaimer: I did not receive any compensation for this review! Teresa Sadowski provided me a copy of the book to read and review! Thanks for reading!