Are you surrounded by piles of THINGS in your speech room? Between doing therapy, writing assessment reports, and IEPs, having time to organize feels nonexistent. In my SLP world, there can never be too many speech therapy organization tips. I feel like a hot mess most of the time when it comes to staying organized. Anyone else out there feeling the same?
Over the years, I have just accepted the reality of organized chaos. Keeping your materials and paperwork systems organized really depends on your style. Plus, I have found that unless you are given an adequate workload, you are always going to feel unorganized.
What Is The Point Of Speech Therapy Organization?
Getting organized is to help you reduce stress, be more productive (work smarter, not harder), be on time, meet deadlines and to be able to find the resources you need to do your job. You will never be 100% organized (we are humans). The majority of SLPs out in the school setting have bigger workloads than they can complete in their contracted time. But….when you invest some time to streamline systems, you will find that you can get things done more efficiently. Which means, all the great things listed above!
Quick Speech Therapy Organization Tips That Work For Me
True story…I seriously have a junk drawer where all the piles go (can’t lose anything if it is all in one place, right?). In all honesty, you need a spot in your room where you can dump your stuff until you actually have time to organize it. That’s why drawers, bins, cabinets and anything that hide materials really helps to store the clutter until further notice.
If you are sitting here thinking, “Felice, I am ready to get my SLP space more organized. Help me.” Let me just say, I still can’t believe that I have tips for you, LOL. There are days when I feel completely unorganized.
7 Ways To Get Organized SLP
1. Organize your digital materials, so you can easily access them in a session. Create Youtube Playlists for certain types of videos that you use most often. Simon’s Cat, SciShow Kids, Wordless Short Videos, and videos for social skills (links included on my social skills page) are some of my favorites to use in therapy. Organize your no print or PDFs that you like to use digitally on your iPad by folders in your Google drive.
2. Make copies of all those IEP forms, checklists, Health and Developmental, etc. so you have a copy handy when you need to quickly put together a packet for a family. Have extra copies of homework sheets, graphic organizers you use often, or parent handouts.
3. Make a binder for something you have to reference often like your speech referrals. When everything is in one place, it is easier to put speech referrals or give forms to parents and teachers.
- Include parent consent forms, a log to list when you screened a student, developmental norms, and whatever else you might need. You can see my Facebook LIVE on my own referral process. I turned to Google docs and forms for keeping track of referrals and information that I need from teachers that you can read about on my BLOG POST (it has a link to my referral form that you can make a copy of and use!). I put helpful developmental milestones, parent permission slips and anything else I need to store a hard copy of for teachers and parents. Here are some links to organizational forms that have helped me or I stick in my binder for reference:
- Data Binder Forms that include parent permission slips for RTI intervention from The Speech Bubble SLP (My district has their own template, so if you don’t have a template, I recommend using these).
- Articulation & Language Flipbook Screeners that I tuck in the back flap of the binder by The Dabbling Speechie (ME)
- Dual Language Cheat Sheet Guide to reference when getting a speech referral/assessment for a student that has a primary language other than English by The Dabbling Speechie
- Speech Sound Development Norms shown in the picture above by Rosie Prehoda (FREE printable on TPT)
- Speech Sound Development Norms by Mommy Speech Therapy (FREE download)
- Make a binder or therapy resource box filled with all the materials you need for a certain skill. You have those students/groups where you have a plan in mind for therapy, but prepping items for them each week is time consuming. So, I have made an /r/ and /s,z/ carryover binder filled with all the resources that I need to treat that sound at the sentence, reading and conversation level. It has books, reading passages, homework sheets, conversation starters, etc. Here is a blog post with some of the items I put in this binder resource.
4. Block out time in your week that is devoted to preparing materials that will help reduce lesson planning time all year long. If you don’t dedicate and schedule in that time, it will either never get done or you will stress doing it at home after a long day. Only prep those materials you need right now, or will be grab n’ go materials for future sessions. If you are limited on time, don’t prep the WHOLE resource if you only need part of it for the week.
5. Make cheat sheets for books, sensory bins or toys that you use all the time! This will help you remember what vocabulary words you want to use or words that have your students speech words. You will have wh-questions handy and won’t have to think on the spot. Speech Time Fun has a blog post about making cheat sheets. My Ultimate Sensory Bin Guide has cheat sheets for mapping out skills for your sensory bins, which you can grab by clicking that button below.
6. Organize your materials by theme for the whole year like Crazy Speech World did. When SLPs have a place for materials, you will be able to easily access them as you change themes. I have a bin that is filled with all my sensory bin materials. Each month, I pull out all my themed resources and keep by my therapy table to grab as I need.
7. Organize your Google calendar for at least the next three months. Take time to look at upcoming assessments and IEPs you have. It is important for SLPs to schedule in when you are going to test those students on your calendar. When you have your day/week scheduled out, you will know how to plan better for the week. Schedule all your IEP meetings on the calendar, so you can start preparing those documents weeks ahead of time. You can also make a month at a glance calendar to see all the meetings/IEPs you need. That way each day, you can write down the top three items you need to do for that day or week.
What speech therapy organizational tips and tricks do you have for other SLPs? Any organizational projects you have done that really helped you this year? Comment below and share! I need all the help I can get….just sayin’.