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A FEW WORDS FROM A "WORKLOAD" SLP:
We hear it all the time, "Use curriculum in therapy". Make therapy "More educationally relevant". As real-world SLPs, that sounds great in theory, but finding the time with high caseloads and other school duties makes the task daunting. Below are a few time-saving tips and strategies I have used to make the task more manageable with a caseload of 82 students:
- Get your own access to the curriculum or syllabi - I was once at the mercy of the teachers to remember to provide me with the learning objectives, spelling lists, and lesson plans for the week. After a few polite requests, I was given access to our schools' online curriculum which contained the plan for the whole year for every grade with every worksheet and spelling/vocabulary list that would be utilized in class! This alone has saved me hours of asking for and deciphering the content that ended up in my mailbox (without the grade level/teacher marked on it!)
- Turn spelling and vocabulary lists into your drill sheets for articulation - These are the sheets that go home everyday and that parents look at most often. How often do you send speech homework home for it never to see the light of day? Students are more likely to study for spelling and vocabulary tests, so why not mark the words or definitions that have their target sound(s) and include a brief note to work on these for speech? Also, mark the teacher's copy with each student's name so she is aware of words to listen for in class. (At each annual case conference, I remind parents to look for orange markings on all papers to indicate something to focus on for speech therapy in case I don't have time to write a note)
- Make "Novel Notches" in the novels your older students are reading in class - don't simply have them bring their books with them for a reading sample, "notch" (make removable marks) them with post-its or pencil marks. Using this technique, you can mark vocabulary, grammar, or sounds that the student is working on so they become more aware of them in a variety of settings while they read the class novel.
These three strategies save me hours of searching, copying, and laminating every week. Bonus- it makes my therapy more educationally relevant and has a positive impact on my students' school success!
Christina Bradburn , MS, CCC-SLP
Shelbyville Central Schools
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