Recently, I polled the SLPs that follow me on Instagram to see how many of us make individual student folders for our caseloads. It was a pretty even 50/50 split of speech pathologists that do make individual folders and those that don’t.
I personally do not make individual speech folders for each child on my caseload. I use a giant therapy binder that has tabs for each child on my caseload. If I cover two schools, then I store a therapy binder at each school.
Setting Up Articulation Speech Folders
For each student, I store their therapy logs, a communication log, their IEP-at-a-glance, and specialized data sheets as needed. Typically, I just flip back and forth between students to keep everything documented.
However, I always have certain students that I service in a quick artic model, or I want to have some specialized visuals organized for my artic students to use when running mixed groups. In these circumstances, I will make an articulation speech folder for the individual student or the particular sound/phonological process. Today, I am going to share how you can set up your own articulation speech folders to help you streamline your therapy planning process.
Why I Make Articulation Speech Folders
Let’s face it. We have limited time for planning therapy. And sometimes we are doing our quick artic in the hallways or targeting articulation goals with mixed groups. It is hard for me to keep visuals, homework sheets, flash cards, etc. organized for my articulation students. Having all of the tools I may need in one speech folder helps me to be prepared for therapy. Planning therapy is less stressful because I can grab the folder knowing that everything I need is ready to use.
Or, if I have 3-4 students working on a certain phonological process, I can make one folder for that process and have all the speech materials I need to remediate that process. The only other thing I may need to grab is a toy, a game, or a manipulative to use with all the tools in the speech folder.
Materials to Make Articulation Speech Folders
To make your speech folder, you do need some organizational materials to make it work. I am going to show you what I do, but feel free to adapt for your caseload. Amazon affiliate links are included for your convenience.
What other office supplies have you found helpful to include in your student’s speech folders? Share in the comments!
What to Include in Your Articulation Speech Folder
When setting up your articulation speech folder, you want to have an idea of where the child is performing with learning his/her sound. If the child is at the syllable level, then you can include materials and visuals for that level, as well as add in materials for the word and phrase level.
This allows you to have extra materials ready in the event that the student progresses quicker than you expected. You will be ready to adapt the therapy session easily without racking your brain on what to do next.
Here are some helpful things to include in your speech folder:
Homework forms that help track if the student is practicing at home. I use these ones from Kiwi Speech (FREE printable). For your students that you are creating home programs, you can have homework sheets in this folder ahead of time, so you can easily plan and track homework assignments. This is a free homework sheet once students get to the carryover level in my STORE.
Please share any other forms, visuals, or tools you would add to your articulation speech folders in the comments! You can also tag me on instagram @thedabblingspeechie with your articulation speech folder setup.
Blog Posts To Help You Plan Articulation Therapy
As busy SLPs, it is easy to struggle with ideas on how to increase repetitions or keep your students motivated with articulation practice. Here are some blog posts with ideas to make your articulation therapy productive and fun:
Half the battle of lesson planning for therapy is actually knowing where your materials are located–right? I know when I have a specific home for my materials, it is easier to remember what my options are for therapy. Do you have a “put it in a pile” place in your speech room? Guilty as charged.
I do have a designated area for my “pile” so that when I don’t have time to organize, I can keep the chaos contained to one spot. Above is a picture of my “needs to be shredded pile”. However, I can only live in organized chaos for a short period of time. When my materials are organized, it reduces extra brain energy spent worrying about future lesson planning. If a lesson isn’t going as planned, I can easily grab different materials because I know where they are in my room. Today, I wanted to share some tips and supplies for organizing your speech materials. (Amazon Affiliate links are included in this blog post.)
Organize Your Speech Materials In Batched Chunks
In the real SLP world, you don’t have extra hours in the day just to organize. And, when you have a multitude of disorganized spaces, it is hard to know which one to tackle first. I have found some success with picking one thing I want to organize. Then, I work on that one task until it is finished. Best solution for getting it done? Blocking out time on my schedule for organizational tasks. My next best solution, stop trying to do 3 projects at once.
For example, I wanted to organize my craft materials so, I made a “to do” list and blocked out when I was going to tackle each task. First task: get the file bin (order on Amazon or schedule the day you are going to go to Target or Walmart to get the bin). Plan out when you are going to get any other supplies needed like page protectors, hanging file folders, etc. Then, I made a list of what I would want to keep in the bin. I wanted to store the craft template, have some card stock stored in there, and pre-prepped artic and language stimulus cards (I use my any craft companion printables), so I could have some things prepped if I want to do a last-minute craft.
Do One Organizational Project At A Time
The rest of the week, I schedule any small open chunks of time to devote to my organizing project. If you schedule something in all your open time spots, you will remember to do them. So, I schedule my day with everything I do, such when I have to attend an IEP meeting, progress monitor a student, call a parent, write therapy logs, do medicaid billing, make copies of data sheets, organize visual supports, etc.
Tips For Organizing Themed or Skill-Based Materials
For themed therapy, a lot of SLPs plan their lessons around a book or theme. I found that storing the materials all together helped me prevent losing them, and I knew exactly where I could access the resources. If you have lessons that target skill-based materials, you can keep them all together as well. I highly recommend labeling what is inside your bins/containers/folders. Your brain will thank you later!
Storage Solutions For Themed & Skilled Based Materials In One Place
Expanding file folders are perfect for the traveling SLP or the SLP that goes into the classroom a lot. Similar materials that you may need for a mixed group won’t get lost in a file folder. You can stick most books inside, along with all the extension activities you planned. My seasonal grammar and vocabulary activities easily fit in these file folders. I can fit most of my seasonal grammar and vocabulary activities in one folder, and store on my shelf. You will not lose all the task cards, lesson plan cheat sheets or visual supports that go with the lesson.
I also found plastic poly files on Amazon and some at the Dollar Tree that clip shut. If you have book companion materials or several speech or language activities that you transport for push-in language support, these folders help keep all the pieces together.
Some books even fit inside these folders. I put all my themed language lessons that I use for push-in and pull-out groups. When planning push-in lessons, I usually pick a book or theme. Then, I plan many different speech and language activities around the book or theme. So, in order to keep all the little parts together, I can put them in one folder.
If you have small task cards, jewelry boxes or scrapbook boxes can be great for storing materials. Small task cards or PECS icons work really well with these containers.
An Easy Organization Solution For The Busy SLP
If you have NO time to maintain an elaborate organizational system, or–let’s be real–no money right now to invest in organizational supplies, using a file crate to keep the month’s lessons organized is great solution.
I grab all the books I may want to use for the month and put them inside. Then, I out the materials I will be using to target goals for students during the month. Having this crate with file folders helps you to clean up your materials quickly at the end of the day. This method eliminates keeping things in piles or shoving it back in your therapy closet. After I am finished with the materials for the month, I put them back in my giant storage bins or in my therapy closet.
Put All Similar Themes Or Skills In The Same Bin
This large bin stores all of my sensory bin materials. I put everything in plastic bags or tiny containers. To make things easy, I keep my bin fillers, toy materials and companion materials in this bin. If you are looking for more sensory bin ideas, check out this page for sensory bin inspiration.
I have also used large bins for storing language, social skill and articulation materials. When I need some new materials, I take out what I need from my bin. This organization method will help you if you have a small space. It is also helpful for SLPs that need to see what materials they have available.
Organize Your Speech Materials With Binders
Binders are an easy way to store materials. You can keep similar resources in one binder, have fun tabs on the outside so you can easily find the binder you need, and they fit nicely on bookshelves.
I also use binders to keep a lot of similar resources together using page protectors.
For resources that have stimulus items, lesson plan cheat sheets and visual supports, I will organize them by keeping them in binders. My Seasonal Sensory Bin Companions store well in binders. I can keep the lesson plan sheets, data collection sheets, and stimulus items for all the different goals in one place. I use tabs to separate the different seasons, so I can quickly flip to the season I need.
Organize Your Speech Materials In the Way That Works Best For You
The best place to get more organized is to identify the place in your office that always feels disorganized. The second thing you need to do is figure out what will work best for you. If you are a traveling SLP, expanding folders may be great for keeping multiple materials in one place. The expanding folders have a zipper, so materials can’t fly out. Or if you have great bookshelves in your room, using binders to keep your materials organized will help you. The crate is a great organization option for you if you just don’t have the time or energy to invest in re-vamping your material storage.
How Do You Organize Your Speech Materials?
Where are all of my SLP organizational ladies and gents? I would love to know your genius organizational hacks! Share an organizational tip in the comment. Or, send me a picture of your organizational system at firstname.lastname@example.org Of course, you can always share your organized speech room on instagram and tag me @thedabblingspeechie. I would love to see the amazing solutions you use to keep your speech room pile-free.
Want more ways to stay organized in your speech room? Check out more tips in this blog post HERE. Also, if those first few months back to school have you super overwhelmed, I have a FREE checklist and IEP monthly calendar to help keep you organized that you can access HERE. Check them out!
There are certain office supplies SLPs need to rock the school year. I like office supplies that help me do my job better or reduce stress. Today, I am going to share office supplies that SLPs will use to feel prepared for therapy because you will be more organized. In turn, when you are more organized, you will use less energy stressing and more positive energy focused on your students. Amazon affiliate links are provided for your convenience.
Here is my ultimate speech therapy office supplies must-have list.
Office Supplies SLPs Need To Keep Them Organized
10 Drawer Organizer Cart (Amazon affiliate link) – For this type B+ SLP, I like office supplies that let me shove, I mean–place, my stuff, so my room looks more organized.
You can get a 10 Drawer Organizer Cart from Amazon, Michael’s or Walmart. Sometimes Michael’s has a really good deal on them. I like these rolling carts because it is light weight (which means it is easy to transport when your room gets moved). There are 10 trays which allow you to organize by group, treatment area, or types of “to do”s. For example, you could have a tray for “needs to laminate”, “need to cut out”, etc.
Binder Rings (Amazon affiliate link) – These binder rings help me stay organized with visuals. I have a binder ring filled with visuals that I keep on my lanyard, so I have access to those visuals wherever I go on campus. I also like having binder rings to keep similar task cards, visuals or activities all in one place.
You can keep all your visuals and resources on binder rings. Then, you can hang them near your therapy desk on the wall with push pins or hooks, so you can easily grab them. I noticed that when I had my materials near me in sight, I remembered to grab them when needed.
My Visual Sentence Starter Strips hang on the side of my cabinet with these amazing magnetic hooks. These hooks help organize my most used materials. You can easily grab them on the spot or put them away quickly. If you have metal cabinets in your room, then I highly recommend them.
Page Protectors (Amazon affiliate link) -These have saved me a ton of time for prepping lessons. I don’t have to go to the copier as often because I place worksheets inside and use with a dry erase marker.
Thinking Bubble Post Its (Amazon affiliate link) – These are great when I want to work on social inferencing and perspective taking. Use these with photos or put them in books as a visual cue that the person is having a thought. If you want to work on conversation skills or what the person may say next, the talking bubble post its are awesome too.
Electronic Digital Tally Counters (Amazon affiliate link) – These are amazing for getting kids to do more repetitions for articulation. You can also use them for collecting data during instruction. I originally learned about this tool from SLP Talk With Desiree and found that I love them! You can also use them to track dysfluencies, correct vs incorrect responses (see Desiree’s post for her tips), counting artic reps and for tracking on task/off task behaviors.
An Office Supply That Will Save You Time When Prepping Materials & Communication Books
Velcro dots (Amazon affiliate link) – Velcro dots have saved me hours! I no longer have to cut the velcro strips into tiny pieces. It has also saved my scissors from getting that sticky goop build up. You know what I’m talking about!
Any time I want to turn something into a sorting activity, I can use the velcro dots to make the activity reusable. Communication books, interactive books and file folder activities need velcro, so these dots are worth the investment for the time you save.
Speech Therapy Office Supplies To Preserve Your Materials
Laminator and laminating sheets – I have been moving away from laminating EVERYTHING in my speech room. It just takes too much time. I tend to laminate items that I know I will use over and over again and want to preserve them.
The rest, I just use without that plastic protective layer. Check out my blog post HERE for laminating deals that I have found.
What Office Supplies Help You Rock The School Year?
If you need more functional ways to organize your materials, you can read my blog post HERE. What office supplies do you think SLPs need to rock the school year? Share in the comments. I would love to add more resources that help me stay organized and do a good job. When I feel organized, I know my positive energy will be focused on my students.
The speech referral process influences our caseload size and impacts how teachers and parents view the role of SLPs. Working in the school setting, you will get speech referrals from teachers, parents and the RTI general education process. Today, I want to share why I have a speech referral process.
Why I have A Speech Referral Process
Having a speech referral process helps you make better clinical decisions when deciding if you should test a student. Many SLPs work with a large number of students who speak English as a second language. So, although, the student may not be meeting common core standards in the classroom, it may not be related to a language disorder. A student could be struggling because he or she is learning a second language. Furthermore, environmental factors may impact a student’s communication development. For example, a student starting Kindergarten without attending preschool may not be exhibiting language skills equivalent to his or her peers. The student’s language abilities may be due to lack of exposure to the school environment. RTI can help the SST team determine if it is a language disorder or lack of exposure to school.
More Considerations For Why Having A Speech Referral Process Is Important
In a school setting, it is important confirm that general education interventions were performed for any students with language and social pragmatic concerns. This should be done before moving toward a speech assessment. This is in alignment with IDEA whereby we ensure that we are providing a free and appropriate education in the least restrictive environment. When the least restrictive environment isn’t being successful with general education interventions, that is when a discussion about a special education assessment is warranted.
One reason to conduct general education interventions is that we do not want to inaccurately identify a child with a speech and/or language disorder. Additionally, if general education interventions are working for the student, completing an assessment may not be recommended at that time.
It is highly recommended that you discuss your referral guidelines with your administration and speech department. Every state has different education codes for special education and being well-versed on your state’s education laws is paramount.
Here Is What The Speech Referral Process Looks Like In My World
All articulation, speech fluency and voice concerns come directly to me via a google form I created. You can read more about how to electronically gather speech referrals with google forms/docs HERE.
I follow up with the teacher to review concerns and determine if errors are developmental or a dialectal difference. This is when you can ask the teacher questions about speech intelligibility, and frequency/duration of dysfluencies. Then, follow up with how the speech concern is adversely impacting the student (this is key).
Then, you can conduct a classroom observation. If you need parent permission to informally talk to a student, then this would be the time to get a parent permission slip signed. If you notice red flags that this student may possibly need a speech assessment, you can do RTI for 6-8 weeks or initiate an initial assessment. SLPs needing an articulation & language screener for elementary, can use this one that I created HERE.
What To Do If The Student Is Stimuable For Their Sound Or Strategy
If the student is stimuable for the speech sound in some contexts and intelligibility is not significantly impacted, you may address the need through RTI speech improvement class. You typically would need to get parent permission. Discuss with your speech department how RTI speech improvement will look for SLPs. , I do RTI speech improvement for 6-8 weeks for my students that have only 1-2 sounds in error, or not demonstrating a year delay with sounds. If I observe multiple sound errors, decreased speech intelligibility and it is adversely impacting them in the classroom, I typically initiate a speech assessment. Sometimes, I will do RTI intervention and then make a decision to test after that 6-8 week intervention.
This is the process that was approved in my current district. I have worked in other districts that did not want me working with students that did not have an IEP.
How I Handle Language & Social Pragmatic Concerns
Any language and/or social pragmatic concerns I refer the teacher back to the Student Study Team (SST) general education process (your district may call it something else). In my district we have a pre-referral Student Assistant Program (SAP) in which a school team documents and discusses tier I and tier II interventions. I have let my schools and teachers know that if there are concerns with language and/or social pragmatics to include me in those meetings. Looking for information from ASHA regarding RTI? Check out their RTI page and ASHA’s position about Early Intervention.
Why Attending RTI or SST Meetings Is Worth Your Time
I go to any SST meetings that have language and/or social skill concerns for the following reasons:
Staff and parents can see my professional expertise in the areas of speech and language when I am present at the meeting.
SLPs can ask questions to the parents and collect background information on the spot. The background information is documented if a speech and language assessment is recommended or a full team assessment. Then, you don’t have to call the parent again for background information. You can also have parents fill out forms before or after the SST meeting.
This prevents professionals writing in recommendations for speech and language assessments to be completed without getting your professional insights. I know you may be think, “But, I don’t have time for more meetings.” I hear you. None of us have time for more meetings. But, when you think about how much time a full assessment can take to complete, you may re-consider. Testing the child, writing the report, IEP and holding the IEP meeting can take 8-15 hours of work. Attend 1 hour meeting or do a 15 hour assessment? If your team is signing you up for assessments that you know will not meet special education eligibility, you are opening yourself to work that could be spent more effectively. For example, if you aren’t doing that 15 hour assessment, you could be providing RTI intervention. Or you could be providing visual supports for teachers with that time.
Being at the meeting allows me to identify any red flags for a possible speech/language disorder
When a teacher has language and social pragmatic concerns, I may consult with them for strategies to implement in the classroom during the meeting or right after the meeting.
What To Do If You Can’t Attend The SST Meeting
If I can’t attend the meeting, I pre-staff the meeting with the psychologist or head person running the SST. I give examples of red flags that may warrant a language assessment or provide questions to ask the parent and team. Furthermore, if the team is feeling that language is a big concern, I ask them to document “consult with the speech pathologist” under actions. This allows me to see the SST notes, and consult teacher/parent before giving recommendations. If I see that RTI interventions haven’t been done or the student is an ELL learner, I want to make sure those things have been put in place before moving forward.
How To Stay Organized With Your Referral Process
If you are more of a visual learner, you can check out my Facebook LIVE video about how to streamline your speech referral process HERE.
One way that I stay organized with incoming referrals is by making a binder. That way, when you have educators handing you forms, you can shove it all into one place! You can support teachers by having an electronic version of your speech referral process. Send this process through email when a teacher has a question. You can get my referral process HERE and add/change what you need.
Helpful Forms and Resources For Your Speech Referral Binder
You can include helpful developmental milestones, and parent permission slips. Put your screener forms, or cheat sheet guides in your binder too. Here are some links to organizational forms that you can include in your speech binder:
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).
What forms or important information do you include in your speech referral binder?
Share Your Experience With The Speech Referral Process
All in all, a speech referral process is a guide. The speech referral process is there to help SLPs make more informed clinical decisions. Do you have a speech referral process? Why or why not? What roadblocks have you faced with trying to implement your speech referral process? Did you find any solutions that you can share with other SLPs? I would love to know your thoughts around this topic in the comments!
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.
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).
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’.
This year, I am trying to streamline some caseload management processes into a digital format. What I love about using Google Docs for speech referrals is that you can view and share information digitally. This means fewer piles of paper to organize, and that I can store the info digitally and then can print out the referral information if needed.
Why I love using google docs for speech referrals
There are some tasks for which I prefer to use pen and paper, but sing Google Docs for speech referrals is one tool I am very glad to have in my belt. Here are a few reasons why I love using Google Docs:
Once you’ve created your Google Doc with your speech referral process, you can email it to your entire staff with one quick click!
Sometimes my staff need a reminder about my process. Instead of writing out new emails with the same answers, I have been able to automate this process. I can just re-send the referral process to teachers.
I have fewer piles of paper. I can store information digitally and print referrals only when I need to (or not at all)!
I can access the information at no matter where I am. If I need to access the information to help me plan for the week, I always can.
Teachers can send me their referrals for students using Google Forms. They can easily check off sound errors and answer questions about their student’s communication.
I have a paper trail for when someone sent me a referral. I don’t have to worry about losing the referral form because it is all digitally stored.
How to access and use my Google Docs for speech referrals
One of the great features of google docs and forms is that you can share them with people! So, you can access the google docs and forms that I have already created.
This will show in view only, so you’ll need to save it to your drive first. To do this, go to File –> Make a Copy –> then save it to your drive! This will allow you to edit the file as you need for your own caseload.
If you hit request access, it will send me an email and I will not be able to respond to requests. If you follow the method above, you will get access and be able to edit for your own use.
Have you made any speech therapy Google Doc forms? I would love to add some digital forms and docs to my stash. It’s saved me so much time and helps me communicate effectively while completing all my necessary tasks.