organizational tips Archives - thedabblingspeechie
Articulation Organization Containers That Store LOTS of Items

Articulation Organization Containers That Store LOTS of Items

When it comes to treating students with speech sound disorders, I like to have all my tools in one spot. Having an on-the-go container with my articulation materials together allows me to easily grab what I need during a small group or when I am working with a student in a hallway for quick articulation.

I find with articulation organization that having everything in one spot saves me time with putting materials away, transporting materials to classrooms or schools and cuts down my lesson planning time. Today, I wanted to show you how you can make an articulation organization storage container to keep all your speech therapy materials together for the school year.

Where to Find Articulation Organization Storage Bins

When it comes to organizing a lot of random materials that need to stay together, I found that using storage bins that have latches on the tops are really helpful. You don’t want to be carrying materials and drop the container with the lid popping off. 

So, I have found that the 6.2 quart Latchmate storage boxes by Recollections from Michael’s or the 14.5 quart Latchmate storage boxes were the best.

If you need a storage box that can keep your small visuals and reinforcer materials, then the smaller box works well! For SLPs that want to be able to keep some folders, visuals, reinforcers and task card type materials, then the larger 14.5 quart box would be a good investment.

The smaller box would probably store better, but the larger container would help you have materials for multiple sounds to grab when you needed it for speech sessions.

Check out how to setup your articulation on-the-go containers to make planning therapy easier.

Articulation Organization Container Tip!

Articulation organization storage that can help you run quick articulation groups with ease!

The main reason that the Recollections storage bins are my favorite are because of the trays that fit perfectly in the container!

This allows you to keep mini items such as mini erasers, wind-up toys, and magnetic chips (Amazon Affiliate links are included) organized in their own compartment. The only drawback is that it does take up space in the bin, so you have to lay items flat on the bottom in order to fit tasks cards and tools for speech sound disorder therapy.

Favorite Items to Store for Getting High Trials

As clinicians, we know that with many speech sound disorders, students need to get high trials to help achieve mastery of the sound and carryover into conversation. Whether you are using a minimal pairs approach, cycles, traditional, etc. you want your students to practice a LOT in a session.

In order to help make that process a little more motivating and productive, having tools to use for those high trials is key to therapy success. So, I like to have a variety of materials available to switch out if the child isn’t like something that I picked for the day.

Here are some items I love to have in my storage bins for high trials in speech therapy (Amazon Affiliate Links):

Pop Sensory Fidget Toy

Dice

Digital counter

Magnetic chips

Dry erase markers to use with my Articulation Flipbooks

DIY Abacus

Check out how to setup your articulation on-the-go containers to make planning therapy easier.
Check out how to setup your articulation on-the-go containers to make planning therapy easier.

For more ideas on how to get high trials, you can check out this blog post HERE. I even have scored with getting high trials using paper plates!

Materials You Can Store in Your Articulation Storage Container

Check out how to setup your articulation on-the-go containers to make planning therapy easier.

With the larger storage box, you can store your iPad and task card type materials. Having visual sentence strips for students working at the phrase level is great to have on hand. You can use these ones in my store that come as printable and digital options.

You can store speech sound cue cards from Bjorem Speech. With the larger 14.5 quart container, you can even store a slant stand to have a mirror and dry erase board on the go. They also have these cool double-sided clips that you can show minimal pair cards or sound cues. Here are some other cool ways you can use these clips!

I found an 8-inch abacus that fits in the larger storage container and is great for getting those high trials quickly. Having tools like this pair really well with my No Print and Printable Articulation Flipbooks.

It’s also nice to be able to store some reinforcer type materials such as ball poppers or mini puppets.

Check out how to setup your articulation on-the-go containers to make planning therapy easier.

Keep Your Speech Sound Materials in the Large Bin

When you have a lot of students working on the same articulation sound or phonological process, you can make speech folders for those sounds and store them in the larger bin.

I found that this helps me with planning therapy for several sessions because I can grab the stimulus items, homework sheets, visual reminders, or self awareness rating visuals all together. You can read more about setting these up HERE.

What would you store in your articulation organization storage bin? I would love to know what tools and materials you have found helpful for your students. Let me know if you have any questions about setting up your articulation system in the comments.

Check out how to setup your articulation on-the-go containers to make planning therapy easier.
How to Organize Your Themed Therapy Materials

How to Organize Your Themed Therapy Materials

Raise your hand if you start the year off strong with organization, and by the end of September you find yourself scouring through laundry piles of resources and worksheets. I know I can’t be the only one out there! I decided to get serious about organizing my themed therapy materials using a system that would last the whole school year. Here are some ways you can organize themed therapy materials so you don’t have to constantly find your self thinking “I swear I put that articulation packet in this folder…..”

Organize Themed Therapy Materials Using a Crate

One thing I invested in is these file storage crates. They are so easy to find and such a game changer.  You can find these file storage crates at Staples, Target, Walmart, or Amazon. As you can see in the picture, I label each file folder with my themes. When I’m looking for a particular themed activity, I’ll know exactly where to look in the crate which saves me a ton of time. This is especially helpful for organizing themed therapy materials for my whole classroom or push-in activities. When I first started organizing with crates, I quickly realized the file folders were essential! Without them, my materials turned into another pile, but this time they were in a crate instead of my desk!

Use Zip Pouches to Organize Themed Therapy Materials

This blog post will tell you all the best tips for organizing your themed therapy materials, so you can quickly find the activities you need!

Along with the crates, I also love to use these zip or pocket pouches. Like the crates, they are super easy to find and a great organizational investment. These zip pouches are perfect for those themed activities that require a lot of components. For example, crafts, core word squares, books, and sentence strips. It’s super easy to keep all of the themed components in one place with these pouches. They are also very quick to grab and easy to carry from class to class.

A quick tip: if you are interested in buying these pouches, I would recommend going for more durable, plastic ones. These help keep your materials from bending or creasing, and they don’t “flop” as much for easier storage.

Organize Your Story Themed Materials in a Scrapbook Box

This blog post will tell you all the best tips for organizing your themed therapy materials, so you can quickly find the activities you need!

Scrapbook boxes are a great tool to organize themed materials and lesson plans. These boxes are wide and deep enough to store your theme related books and the companion activities. I love these scrapbook boxes because I can use them to store the books I want, the activities, any pouches I have for my loose cards and materials, craft examples I want to use, and all of my visual supports. They are so easy to label, grab, use, and reorganize at the end of my day. I’ve cut down so much time on my planning and organizing once I started using these scrapbook boxes.

Check out my video on Facebook or Instagram to see what my scrapbook box and pouch organizational systems look like using an ocean theme!

Use Bags and Bins to Keep Sensory Bins Neat

One thing I love to incorporate into my therapy are themed sensory bins. However, these sensory bins and the loose materials I put in them can get super messy and time consuming to organize. Using gallon-sized baggies and a storage bin has helped keep my sensory bin materials neat. First, I store the loose cards or small toys I’ll be using in my sensory bin in a gallon-sized zip lock baggie. Then, I store the “sensory” materials in their own zip lock baggies as well. I place all of these baggies in a storage bin. Then, when it’s time to assemble my sensory bin, I can simply pick the therapy targets/cards/toys I need, the sensory material I want to use, and place them all in my sensory bin.

More Ways to Get Organized!

This blog post will tell you all the best tips for organizing your themed therapy materials, so you can quickly find the activities you need!

Looking for more ways to get your office or your materials organized? Take a look at my 7 Tips for Organization.

If you’re an SLP that has an articulation/phonology heavy caseload, then you’ll want to take a peak at my previous blog post where I talk about setting up articulation folders to help with organization.

I love seeing how other SLP’s get organized and what works best for them. Let me know in the comments your favorite way to stay organized throughout your school year!

Setting Up Articulation Speech Folders For Students

Setting Up Articulation Speech Folders For Students

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.

Grab these FREE Articulation Syllable Practice Sheets in my TPT store. 

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:

-Therapy logs (I use the logs from The Speech Bubble SLP or SLP Toolkit)

-Specialized Articulation or Phonology Data Sheets to track progress. Here is my FREE Articulation Data Sheet template. If you need more specialized sheets, you can grab them HERE

– Visual Supports to help with articulation production or to increase self-awareness. You can add speech sound cue cards from Bjorem Speech in the envelope file pouch. 

-Data graphs or self-awareness visuals can be helpful to incorporate into a session. Grab some FREE articulation carryover visuals by clicking the button below.

– Word lists or materials to use for quick drill practice, like these free flash card lists for older developing sounds or my Articulation Flipbooks. Sometimes I will print up pages from my Any Craft Companion Pack and store in the 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

These FREE Articulation Homework Word List Strips by Simply Speech can be in your students folder. You can customize the word lists based on your students performance during the session and send home.

Other Helpful Forms to Include in Your Speech Folders

If you like to have an individual folder for each student, here are some forms that will help you keep things organized for each student:

FREE SLP Attendance Form by Natalie Synders

Communication Log (FREE) in Sublime Speech’s Starter Kit to document interactions with the child’s parent or teacher

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:

Organize your speech materials – Easy Storage Solutions

Organize your speech materials – Easy Storage Solutions

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 speech materials

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.

 

organize your speech materials so you know where your everything is in your speech room. #slpeeps #schoolslp #slp2b #organizedslp #speechtherapy

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.

organize speech therapy materials

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.

organize speech therapy materials

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.

organize your speech materials so you know where your everything is in your speech room. #slpeeps #schoolslp #slp2b #organizedslp #speechtherapy

These large clip boxes keep materials from falling out, and are easy to store in a supply closet. You can store skill-based materials, such as my Parts of Speech sentence flips, so they are all in one place.

organize your speech materials so you know where your everything is in your speech room. #slpeeps #schoolslp #slp2b #organizedslp #speechtherapy

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.

Organize your speech materials so you know where your everything is in your speech room. Easy solutions for keeping your materials organized, so you can find them when you need them! #slpeeps #schoolslp #slp2b #organizedslp #speechtherapy

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.

organize your speech materials so you know where your everything is in your speech room. #slpeeps #schoolslp #slp2b #organizedslp #speechtherapy

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

Organize your speech materials so you know where your everything is in your speech room. Easy solutions for keeping your materials organized, so you can find them when you need them! #slpeeps #schoolslp #slp2b #organizedslp #speechtherapy

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.

Organize your speech materials so you know where your everything is in your speech room. Easy solutions for keeping your materials organized, so you can find them when you need them! #slpeeps #schoolslp #slp2b #organizedslp #speechtherapy

I also use binders to keep a lot of similar resources together using page protectors.

organize your speech materials

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 feliceclark@thedabblingspeechie.com 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!

 

Office Supplies SLPs Need To Rock The Year

Office Supplies SLPs Need To Rock The Year

 

office supplies to rock the year_pinterest

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.

speech therapy office supplies to rock your school year! #slpeeps #organizedslp #speechtherapy #schoolslp

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.

speech therapy office supplies to rock your school year! #schoolslp #slpeeps #speechtherapy #organizedslp
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.

office supplies for SLPs

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.

Speech therapy office supplies that SLPs need for their caseload to stay organized and run therapy groups with ease. #slpeeps #schoolslp #speechtherapy #organizedslp

I have also been using them with my first/then charts in my AAC starter kit and keeping in a plastic file folder.

Speech Therap Office Supplies SLPs Need To Help Them In Therapy

Ultra Fine Dry Erase Markers (Amazon affiliate link) -Dry erase markers are a BIG hit in my speech room. I discovered these ultra fine dry erase markers from my grad intern last spring.

office supplies SLPs need for their caseload to stay organized and run therapy groups with ease. #slpeeps #schoolslp #speechtherapy #organizedslp

They have been a game changer when using graphic organizers and my interactive articulation flipbooks.

office supplies SLPs need to help them stay organized and run therapy groups with ease! #slpeeps #schoolslp #speechtherapy #speechpathology #organizedslp

Here is the graphic organizer I use for building sentences (it’s free).

office supplies for SLPs to rock the school year

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.

speech therapy office supplies to help you rock your year!

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

office supplies for SLPs to rock the school year

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!

office supplies for SLPs

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.

best deals on lamination supplies for the frugal SLP. Speech therapy office supplies that SLPs need for their caseload to stay organized and run therapy groups with ease. #slpeeps #schoolslp #speechtherapy #organizedslp

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.


Why I Have A Speech Referral Process

Why I Have A Speech Referral Process

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.

This blog post talks about why you need a speech referral process and tips for how SLPs can streamline their speech referral process. #slpeeps #schoolslp #speechtherapy #organizedslp

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.

speech referral process for SLPs and tips for how to make a helpful binder.

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.

articulation and language screener to help with informally assessing student's communication skills. #slpeeps #schoolslp #speechtherapy

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.

This blog post talks about why you need a speech referral process and tips for how SLPs can streamline their speech referral process. #slpeeps #schoolslp #speechtherapy #organizedslp

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.

speech referral process and tips to make it work!

  • 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:

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!

 

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