5 Things to Help You Get Stuff Done With Your Speech Therapy Caseload

5 Things to Help You Get Stuff Done With Your Speech Therapy Caseload

In this episode of the Real Talk SLP podcast we are chatting about 5 things you can do to get stuff done for your speech therapy caseload. We manage a LOT of students in the school-based setting, which means we don’t just do speech therapy sessions. Just to list a few of our speech therapy caseload tasks, SLPs are responsible for attending IEP meetings, taking in new speech referrals, billing Medicaid, writing therapy logs, collaborating with staff on implementing the IEP and doing progress reports for the student’s IEPs. We are juggling so many things that it can quickly get overwhelming. That’s why this episode is all about how to help you manage your day better so you can leave work knowing the important tasks got done.

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Stressed About Planning Speech Therapy Sessions?

If you are stressed with getting all the caseload management tasks done and need some help with planning for your mixed groups, join the Themed Therapy SLP Membership. We help SLPs have engaging themed activities for your preschool and elementary caseload. Take the stress out of planning and let us do the heavy lifting with speech therapy sessions.

Have engaging themed speech therapy materials using this membership for preschool and elementary.

In this episode of the Real Talk SLP podcast we talked about these 5 things you can do to get stuff done for your speech therapy caseload:

Get practical tips for managing your speech therapy caseload.
  1. Write down what you will do your entire day with strategies like writing must dos vs. may dos. You can use this free weekly Google Doc editable speech schedule to write in what you will be doing during your week outside of therapy groups.
  2. Block off time for those caseload management tasks where you do not fill that time with potential meetings or therapy groups.
  3. Look ahead at least three months. Map out all your IEPs, assessments, etc., so you know what is coming
  4. Make cheat sheets to check off the steps of big tasks. For example, write out all the steps you need to do for your progress reports so you know where you left off. With your assessments, checklists for booking a translator, calling parents, etc. 
  5. Have systems specifically for your speech referrals and other things that take time.

Checklists & Tools for Staying Organized With Your Week


Here are some tools for writing down your most important word tasks and helping you stay focused with your speech therapy caseload: 

 

 

What tools or systems do you use to help you with managing your speech therapy caseload? I would love to hear what you use or do! Email me at fe*********@th*****************.com

Use these tips to improve your speech therapy organization with caseload management tasks.

EP.109 5 Things to Help You Get Stuff Done With Your Speech Therapy Caseload

by The Dabbling Speechie

Make a Speech Therapy Theme Calendar

Make a Speech Therapy Theme Calendar

I recently talked with a graduate student about managing a large caseload while also balancing school-based responsibilities-IEP meetings, evaluations, recess duty, and more. “How do you have time to plan?” My answer? Use a speech therapy theme calendar to streamline your monthly lesson plans.

I explained that speech therapy themes use a specific topic or category to frame concepts and language. You plan books, games, crafts, and more all relating to the chosen theme. To learn more about the themed-based approach, you can read my blog post here

I could see her wheels turning as she took it all in and started thinking of the themes she could do in the future. I went on to explain that themes in speech therapy still involve some planning, but it saves time that we’re already so limited with. 

One way to streamline your planning time is by using themes each month. Avoid feeling overwhelmed with themes and make a speech therapy theme calendar. Here is my advice when it comes to making a speech therapy theme calendar.

Take the FREE Themed Therapy SLP Quiz

I wanted to let you know about a free Themed Therapy SLP quiz I created to help you get information about using a theme-based approach. Whether you are new to themes, trying to get more organized, or need fresh ideas for planning by themes, you will want to take the quiz to get an email with links to podcast episodes, blog posts, and resources to help you with your themed therapy planning.

How Many Speech Therapy Themes to Plan Per Month?

Make your SLP planner for your monthly themes.

Like I said, themed therapy still requires planning but there’s a way to minimize it to help you save time and avoid burnout in the long run. 

When you’re planning speech therapy themes, it’s important to first decide how many themes you want to use each month. At first, your immediate answer might seem like 4 by using 1 theme each week. What if I told you, you could plan less themes? Listen to my podcast episode about why you should use a theme longer than a week. 

By using a theme for at least two weeks, you can plan 1-2 themes for each month! Avoid the added stress and save time and energy in implementing therapy.

Tips for Making Speech Therapy Theme Calendar

Before you start planning themes for speech therapy, I’d recommend downloading my free-themed therapy planner. It has loads of seasonal and non-seasonal theme ideas as well as worksheets to map out your plans on. 

I have a few more pointers when making your speech therapy theme calendar…

1. Map out your calendar for the year. If you’re new to themed therapy planning, aim to do one theme a month.

2. Talk with your student’s teachers about the units they cover each month. Is there a way to align your plans with the teacher’s units and classroom themes? 

  • This is a great way to address functional words, vocabulary, and related concepts! 
  • You can even start a theme a week before their teachers introduce it in the classroom. Pre-teach vocabulary and concepts to help build your student’s background knowledge and confidence!

3. Fill out the SLP-themed planner with books, activities, printable activities, and vocabulary that you can use with the theme. Don’t forget, you can always fill the planner out as you are doing the theme, so it is fresh in your mind. These will be cheat sheets to reference the next time you do the theme.

      • Watch my Instagram reel on how to use the planner and edit it!

      Example of Themed Speech Therapy Lesson Plans

      Learn tips for how to plan speech therapy themes by month!

      4. Working with older students? Have them vote on themes they like. By having them vote, you’ll (hopefully) increase their buy-in to therapy. Students are more likely to engage in therapy if the topic is of interest and relevant to them!

      5. Need some examples of what to plan? Check out some of my themed speech therapy plans… 

      • My Back to School Theme includes books by grade level books, toys, picture scenes, digital activities, crafts and language based activities.
      •  My Camping Theme includes books, tips for structuring lessons around books, speech therapy activities, crafts and activities for older students. 
      • Get ideas for planning an ice cream theme for your preschool and elementary caseload. 

      How to Pick Themes for Your Speech Therapy Caseload

      There are so many different themes you can do… everything from food to sports to chores. It can be hard to narrow down which themes you want to do. There are a lot of factors that go into picking a theme for your caseload, and it might feel a little overwhelming. 

      There are a few things to think about… 

      • What motivates your students? 
      • What’s relevant and important to them in the classroom and in the community?
      • What motivates you as a therapist? You will be learning and talking a lot about these themes, so pick something you like!
      • What can you adapt across age and skill levels? What can you adapt for all goals?

       

      Need some more advice on picking a theme? Check out my 4 tips to help pick speech therapy themes. 

       

      Have you been feeling overwhelmed with the long SLP To Do list? Try using speech therapy themes to help limit planning time and motivate your students. It might require some additional time at first, but it will save you time in the long run! Snap a picture of your theme calendar or notes and share it with me on Facebook or Instagram!

      Tips for how to make a speech therapy calendar with a free SLP planner!
      5 Ways to Use Google Forms for Speech Therapy

      5 Ways to Use Google Forms for Speech Therapy

      Many school-based SLPs cover two or more different sites with their caseload. Managing all the paperwork, documenting progress, and communicating with the IEP team is a LOT!

      It can take a lot of papers and forms to document all the caseload duties, so why not use Google Forms to help manage your speech therapy caseload?

      Nothing is worse than going to a new site and realizing you forgot that one paper that contained all the info you needed to write an IEP or get started with progress reports.

      In this blog post, you will learn five ways that Google Forms can help streamline your speech therapy caseload paperwork!

      Use Google Forms for Speech Referrals

      Managing a couple of school sites and want all your speech referrals in ONE spot? Use Google Forms for speech therapy referrals to collect information from teachers digitally.

      We know how many speech referrals we receive throughout the school year, and managing them can quickly get out of control. I used to put a few copies in each of the teacher’s mailboxes, and often the following would happen:

      -The teacher would lose the form and ask for a new one when they had a speech referral
      -I would forget to check my mailbox to get referrals, so I was not getting back to teachers promptly

      This is why I started using a Google Form to collect speech therapy referrals. I could email teachers directly with the link by digitally storing my speech referrals. Furthermore, I could access my speech referrals no matter what site I was at. If you didn’t know, when a Google Form is filled out, you can generate a Google Sheet of your referrals. With the Google Sheet, you can add additional columns to help you manage what steps you have taken with each referral. Head to this blog post to read more about the importance of speech referrals

      Click the pink button to grab your set of Google Forms for speech therapy to help you confidently manage your caseload.

      Progress Monitor with Google Forms for Speech Therapy Goals

      If you make a progress monitoring approach to assessing your student’s speech and language progress on goals, you can use Google Forms to keep track digitally.

      Once you fill out the Google Form, you can create a spreadsheet with the inputted information. The Google Sheet will list the dates and times you took data and individual responses.

      If you want ready-to-go Google Form progress monitoring tools for articulation and phonology, check out the Digital Speech Folder Resources. You can click the pictures below to check them out.

      Instead of doing your speech and language screeners with paper forms, use a Google Form to input responses. The beauty of Google Forms is that you can create a Google Sheet with the information to track and manage your speech screening results.

      Keep track of your data collection for your speech therapy caseload using Google Forms for speech therapy progress monitoring. Y

      Administer Speech and Language Screeners Digitally with Google Forms

      Instead of doing your speech and language screeners with paper forms, use a Google Form to input responses. The beauty of Google Forms is that you can create a Google Sheet with the information to track and manage your speech screening results.

      If you need an elementary speech and language screener with printable forms and Google Forms for easy response input, check out the screeners in my TPT store.

      You can print the screening stimulus items, but have the Google Form on your laptop or iPad to take data while administering.

      With the screener bundle, you get screeners for articulation and language. The language screener is broken down by Prek-2nd and 3rd-5th grades. Click the image to check out all the details about the screener. 

      Have Google Forms for speech therapy that can help you manage your caseload with confidence.

      Use Google Forms to Get Input About IEPs and the Speech Schedule

      Automate how you collect information about student IEPs and speech schedule requests with Google Forms. As we prepare for IEP meetings, we need teacher input for the present levels page. Instead of hunting them down with a printable form, send them a Google Form for the different areas you need their input. Having the information stored digitally allows it to access IEP information from any computer.

      Make sure to download your Google Form templates to have an IEP form ready for the school year!

      Improve Parent Communication with Google Forms

      We are super busy managing the 50+ students on our caseloads, so keeping in contact with parents can be difficult.

      At the start of the school year or even at the initial or annual IEP meeting, you can have parents fill out a Google Form questionnaire to share how to be contacted (i.e., email, text, phone) and information they would like for the home environment. For example, you can find out what toys they have at home, skills they would like strategies for, or how much homework to send.

      How do You Use Google Forms for Speech Therapy?

      Digital tools can help you when traveling between sites, and Google Forms has been one of those tools! Nothing is worse than wanting to follow up on a task and leaving the form at your other site.

      If you are new to using Google Forms and have questions, drop them below. And, if you love using Google Forms for speech therapy caseload management, let me know how you use them in the comments!

      3 Tips For Using Themes Across Your Caseload

      3 Tips For Using Themes Across Your Caseload

      Remember when we were all learning how to use Facebook for the first time (then learning it again when it changed! Oh the confusion!). If you are a new themester SLP, it’s possible you’re feeling just as overwhelmed learning a new style of therapy with your caseload. What’s great about themed therapy is you can easily take a single theme and use it across a lot of different ages and goals. This will help you streamline your planning and take the overwhelming out of planning. 

       

      If you’re feeling like choosing a theme is like a buffet, there are so many choices that it makes it hard to pick just one, then this blog post will definitely help you narrow down choices.

      What to Do When You are Lacking Inspiration for Your Next Theme

      If you are struggling with what theme to do next, check out this blog post where I share 30 of my TOP fave themes for therapy. Plus, you can grab a FREE themed therapy idea guide for easy planning. It comes with an editable themed therapy planner to help you keep notes on what you did in therapy. Check it out HERE

      Three Tips For Using Themes Across Your Caseload

       If you are struggling with themed therapy planning across your elementary caseload, check out this blog post with 3 tips on how to streamline your themed therapy planning.

      The first thing you will want to think about is picking a theme that is going to be interesting for your younger and your older students. When you pick a theme that’s interesting for multiple age groups, you will cut down on a ton of your planning time. When you use this strategy, you only have to pick one theme you want to do with your upper and lower elementary students.

      For example, a camping theme and a plant life cycle theme will be relevant and interesting for your younger and older students. Check out how to adapt these themes here and here.

      Tip #2 Use One Themed Therapy Activity to Target Many Goals

      It can be easy to tell yourself that you need a different activity to specifically target each of your student’s goals. This is the #1 to increase your planning time. The beauty of themed therapy activities is you can pick one themed activity that is open-ended enough to target a ton of goals.

      To do this, you prep one activity that can be adapted for the different skills you want to target depending on the students you are working with. With less individual activity prep, you can plan engaging lessons efficiently. Check out this penguin sensory bin or this windsock craft for example of how you prep one material or activity for a wide range of goals.

       If you are struggling with themed therapy planning across your elementary caseload, check out this blog post with 3 tips on how to streamline your themed therapy planning.

      #3 Tip: Re-Use Materials Week After Week

      If you are struggling with themed therapy planning across your elementary caseload, check out this blog post with 3 tips on how to streamline your themed therapy planning.

      Reuse, reuse, reuse! Don’t be afraid to use the same materials week after week. Switching up the materials slightly will make them feel novel to your student and will be very easy prep work for you. For example, when using themed vocabulary or verb cards such as the ones in the seasonal grammar and vocabulary sets, you can use magnetic wands to make it different.

      In one session, you put different amounts of magnetic chips under the cards and the student who gets the most chips at the end wins. In the following session, add themed game cards (hint: check out the blog post for the free printables) to the task cards. Lay them out on the table and have students select. If they get a popsicle, for example, they get to keep it. But, if there is a sun behind their card, they lose a popsicle. Whoever has the most at the end wins.

      How do you adapt materials so that you can reuse them? Share your best therapy tips in the comments.

      Ready to Start Experiencing the Benefits of Themed Therapy?

      If you are spending a painful amount of time planning for your caseload at school, after school, and at home, then I have great news for you! A Themed Therapy Planning How-To Course for the Busy SLP is now available until March 17th. You can earn clinical maintenance hours for your ASHA and state license while also becoming a rockstar at efficiently planning themed therapy for your Prek-5th grade caseload. Want to learn more about joining? Check out all the details HERE

       

      4 Tips To Pick A Theme For Your Caseload

      4 Tips To Pick A Theme For Your Caseload

      When I first began as an SLP, I started with a large caseload that fluctuated between 72-83 students. There was no time in my day to plan for those individual students. So, my brain immediately went to using theme-based lessons that I could adapt for all of my grade levels. Using theme-based lessons that are easily adapted helped me reduce my planning time (and brain power) by hours! I am heading into my 15th year as an SLP, and using themes continues to be a super helpful strategy! I want to share with you 4 tips for picking a great theme for your caseload!

      Tip #1 : Pick A Theme That Is Motivating

      Check out these 4 tips to help you pick a great theme for your caseload that can be adapted across all of your grade levels. Save hours of planning time by using themed therapy materials to cover your wide range of goals!

      The #1 tip I have for selecting a theme is to make sure it’s something that is high interest and highly motivating for your students. This is a much easier task for my younger students than it is for my older elementary or middle school students. I can usually capture my younger students’ interest for any theme by simply incorporating dinosaurs, legos, or something shiny! My older students are not so easily entertained (as I’m sure many of you understand). Another SLP shared with me a little while ago that she likes to poll her older students about what they are interested in at the beginning of her school year. Her students’ answers help drive her lesson planning and theme selection. This is something that can easily be incorporated into your therapy plans for your first week back.

      Why is this my #1 tip? The more we can build our students’ interest in the lessons and themes we are using, the more buy-in we’ll see, which we know leads to more progress

      Tip #2: Keep Your Students’ Environment In Mind

      When picking a theme, think about what is going to be relevant to your student. What is something your students can relate to or experience in their day-to-day lives? I like to pick themes about the seasons, the environment around my student, on-going classroom topics, etc.

      Selecting themes that are personally relevant to my students helps build that connection between therapy and real life (can’t forget about that generalization!). A great theme for this summer would be the Summer Olympics, especially for those of you doing ESY.

      Check out these 4 tips to help you pick a great theme for your caseload that can be adapted across all of your grade levels. Save hours of planning time by using themed therapy materials to cover your wide range of goals!

      Tip #3: Pick A Theme That Inspires You Too

      Check out these 4 tips to help you pick a great theme for your caseload that can be adapted across all of your grade levels. Save hours of planning time by using themed therapy materials to cover your wide range of goals!

      The themes you pick should also be inspiring and exciting for you too! Of course, my students’ interests will always trump mine (#therapistlife). However, if you can find themes that are as interesting and motivating to you as they are to your students, then you’re going to kill that session! Your excitement will shine through and therapy will be really fun for you and your student.

      For example, I love selecting camping themes because I love going camping and hiking and it’s also a theme that my students love. This makes our camping themed therapy sessions really, genuinely, fun!

      Tip #4: Pick A Theme You Can Adapt Across Grades

      Picking a theme that you can adapt across multiple grade levels is they key to save yourself planning time. For example, an apple theme is great for younger elementary students, older elementary students, and middle schoolers. This theme can also be adapted for my older student with higher needs or benefit from a very supported classroom. I found that many of my students with this profile had language skills similar to some of my elementary student. I was able to take the same concepts and adapt them with age-appropriate photos and materials that are respectful to those students. Here are some sample activity ideas using an apples theme across different age groups:

      Check out these 4 tips to help you pick a great theme for your caseload that can be adapted across all of your grade levels. Save hours of planning time by using themed therapy materials to cover your wide range of goals!
      Check out these 4 tips to help you pick a great theme for your caseload that can be adapted across all of your grade levels. Save hours of planning time by using themed therapy materials to cover your wide range of goals!

      In A Theme Rut?

      If you’re having a hard time picking the right themes for your students, check out my free Themed Therapy Planning Guide. It has over 100 seasonal and non-seasonal therapy theme ideas for you to choose from! This planning guide also comes with an editable lesson plan template you can use to help plan your themed therapy sessions. If you’re still having a tough time finding the right theme for your students, I would also recommend collaborating with other teachers. See what themes are being incorporated in your students’ classrooms that can also be incorporated and worked on in speech therapy! 

      Check out these 4 tips to help you pick a great theme for your caseload that can be adapted across all of your grade levels. Save hours of planning time by using themed therapy materials to cover your wide range of goals!

      Join The Themed Therapy SLP Membership!

      If you’re loving themed therapy planning that can be adapted across grade level to save you hours of planning time, check out the Themed Therapy SLP Membership. With this membership you will receive new themed materials to use with your students every month! To kick-off this challenge, I will be hosting a 5-day theme organizational challenge on Facebook. Join now for a sneak peak into the membership, great organizational tips from other themester SLP’s, and fun giveaways! Click on the photos below to learn more.

      This blog post is based on my recent Facebook live called, “What Makes a Great Theme for Your Caseload“. Make sure to check it out! 

      thedabblingspeechie