Whether you’re a recent grad or simply switching practice settings, beginning a career as a school-based Speech Language Pathologist (SLP) is an exciting time. Supporting children in the development of their communication and social skills can be hugely rewarding. So here are a few tips to make sure you and your students are set for success.
Develop a System for Paperwork
Create a system to manage your caseload. When you have quick and systematic access to each student’s file, IEP, and progress notes, you can save precious therapy time by eliminating the chance for confusion. You’ll also give a professional appearance when you’re able to access student paperwork with ease during scheduled (and impromptu) meetings with teachers and parents.
Also, decide whether you prefer managing your cases with either a binder or files, then prepare what documents you’ll need for each student, including last year’s paperwork. Organization can help limit documentation mistakes and oversights when beginning therapy with your students–––and, be prepared to document everything.
Develop a Relationship
Reviewing your caseload and introducing yourself to teachers is a great way to begin developing relationships on campus. As a member of your school’s team, it’ll be helpful to familiarize yourself with class schedules and get an idea of the best time to meet with students.
Include teachers when strategizing various ways to support your students and equip teachers with the necessary resources to make it happen. And don’t forget that there are ways to be an advocate for your students outside of therapy sessions. Connecting with your school’s community and participating in events are great ways to show your commitment.
Parents are also a big part of your students’ progress. Be sure to keep them informed on their child’s ongoing needs and progress. Additionally, make sure they sense your commitment and understand your goals for their student, so they’ll be equally as eager and able to help.
Stock Lessons Aids and Materials
If your therapy area is already well-stocked, consider yourself lucky. However, if not, you’ll want to begin stocking your own stash of supplies. Make a list of what items you’ll need and if your budget is limited you can plan out your purchases little by little.
And try to reserve some of your budget for unexpected needs so can limit out-of-pocket expenses. As well, you can check garage sales and thrift shops for gently used items. And don’t overlook online resources, which are plentiful and often free.
And lastly, remember that, as a school SLP, your effort, organization, and commitment will impact your students’ lives not only this school year but forever.
Ready to explore your career options as a Speech Language Pathologist? Let Pioneer Healthcare Services help you find the SLP position that’s right for you!