October: A time for workload adjustments

October 22, 2015 BY Kira Wright, CCC-SLP

It’s October. At most school-based sites, the gears are in motion by now. Though we may never feel really settled, most of our back-to-school activities are filed away for next year. Fall screenings are complete, parents nights and introductions have been done, our schedules have been tested and tweaked, and we may (especially if we are a returning staff member) even feel like there is a comfortable routine that we have found.

Adjusting your Workload

This makes it a great time of year to take a closer look at what is working and what needs adjustment. (Progress notes are sometimes a surprising reminder of this!) If you are working with an SLPA or other paraprofessional, this kind of deeper review is especially important. I like to think of this as an “audit” for every student in three areas:

  • Therapy time – Are all of the intended goals being addressed in therapy? Do you have a plan for what comes next? If there is an SLPA or paraprofessional who also works with the student, are they clear about the therapy plan?
  • Interaction between therapy and classroom – Do other people in the school understand what the student’s speech/language goals are? If the goals are supporting student success across the school environment, chances are that those goals are important to other people, too! Talk to people about what you’re working on. You’ll be rewarded with buy-in and support!
  • Outside the therapy space – Sometimes in talking to teachers and parents and other support staff, we are reminded that the skills we are currently focused on are but a tiny piece of the student’s existence. What else is going on for this student? Have the needs or context changed?

This kind of audit on some students might be quick and fairly easy. For others, this might be the start of a process that occurs over the coming months. Pace yourself, and know that that’s what this time of year is for! Plenty of time to make and see changes this year. The gears are in motion.