10 Reasons to Enhance your SLP Work Efficiency

I hope that you are having a good week at work so far. I want to help you improve your work efficiency as a pediatric SLP. In my last post, I shared tips for improving your efficiency or quality of your day as a therapist.  Today, I want to share 10 reasons to enhance your SLP work efficiency. I know that you have the passion and determination to work with special needs kids. Now, I want to ensure that your remember why you should do your job with excellence every week.  Here are 10 reasons to focus on staying motivated about enhancing your SLP work efficiency:

Increase students’ success

When you streamline your SLP work processes, you will increase students’ success. Their success depends on whether they are learning new skills based on your therapy instruction. Speech-language therapy students are successful when they make gains in their communication and language skills. It is truly rewarding to witness students’ success as a result of speech-language therapy. This is why we do our jobs each day!

Increase knowledge of evidence-based practice

There are many strategies and techniques that speech-language pathologists use with their students each week. Are you sure that you are using evidence-based practice? This entails integrating clinical expertise,  current research evidence, and client/caregiver perspectives. You can read more about ASHA’s position statement here. Are you using literature based lessons to teach vocabulary and grammar in context? Are you providing students oral language practice using narrative instruction or summarization strategy? Read more about evidence-based practice ideas here.

Increase knowledge of effective data collection

In order to measure students’ gains in therapy, you need to establish a baseline score of their present abilities on specific skills and take data periodically to measure progress in therapy. SLPs typically use different data collection systems based on the type of goals they are addressing, group vs. individual tx. session, pull-out vs. inclusion tx, etc. You may need different forms to record quantitative vs. qualitative data. Do you have criterion referenced informal assessments or progress monitoring tools to use with students on your caseload? It is best practice to readily have access to a variety of data collection forms that will work best for your caseload. Here are some suggestions.

Have practical, fun, and engaging therapy materials

Children are naturally more engaged when you are excited about a speech-language therapy lesson and activity. They will usually have more fun in therapy if they are enjoying “playing” while practicing a skill in therapy. Using 1-2 themes each month with a mixture of books, games, crafts, play-based, and ipad activities often will maintain children’s interest in therapy. Make sure that you write down a basic plan each month so that you will be more efficient as a therapist with selecting and implementing engaging activities.

Experience greater job satisfaction

When you have systems in place for data collection, therapy lessons and activities, and your students are making progress, I am positive that you will feel good about the job that you are doing. You may start to feel discouraged if you don’t have materials to address a particular speech-language learning target, you are struggling to take data during group sessions, or little Johnny doesn’t seem to be making progress. Just remember, each week is a fresh start to improve your systems in your speech room which can contribute to greater job satisfaction.

Strengthen knowledge about eligibility criteria

Pediatric SLPs in the school system have to follow the regulations by their school district for qualifying students for speech-language therapy sessions. It is critical that all SLPs are knowledgeable about this criteria. The Department of Education for each state also provides an overview of eligibility  criteria. For example, a disorder does not exist if:

“A) Environmental, cultural, or economic disadvantage cannot be ruled out as primary factors causing the impairment; or B) A child exhibits inconsistent, situational, transitory or developmentally appropriate speech language difficulties that children experience at various times and to various degrees.   C) Because children who have communication difficulties do not necessarily have speech or language impairments, the speech-language program may not be the appropriate service delivery model to adequately meet the child’s educational needs. For this reason, all children who are suspected of having communication problems shall be the subject of a Student Support Team (SST) to problem solve and implement strategies to determine and limit the adverse affect on the child’s educational performance.”

Increase confidence in providing services

Remember that you have the training to be an effective and confident pediatric speech-language pathologist. You are constantly observing students’ behavior and speech-language skills. You make adjustments to your delivery of services based on how they are performing in therapy. You provide various verbal, visual, and tactile prompts as needed to help kids demonstrate communication and language skills. Often times, pediatric SLPs just need a reminder that they have the knowledge to thoroughly assess and deliver effective services. Just keep swimming. On the other hand, it is equally important to remember that there is always something new that you can learn to enhance your work efficiency.

Confidently communicate SLP role to staff

Another critical part of an SLP’s job is communicating with colleagues about the needs and methods used to improve children’s speech-language skills. You may talk with general education teachers, special education teachers, paraprofessionals, and administrators about what you are implementing to address students’ IEP goals. This is done formally at meetings and informally as you need to speak with them about different students throughout the school year. Make sure that your message is clear so that everyone can work together as a team towards improving the communication, language, literacy, and academic skills of children.

Increase parents’ understanding of speech-language disorders

Another reason to enhance your efficiency as a speech-language pathologist is to successfully communicate with parents about speech-language disorders. Parents can help their children practice skills at home in everyday activities. When they are an active part of the team, children will further  expand their communication abilities at school, home and in the community. Read these helpful hints for parents.

Have more enthusiasm for students

When you are more knowledgeable about all the facets of your pediatric SLP job and have streamlined processes,  you can focus more on having enthusiasm during speech-language sessions.  When you are having more fun in sessions, so will your students! Yes, the volume of work will still be there. But, it is possible to enthusiastically love the life changing work you do as a pediatric SLP!

Tamara Anderson

Building Successful Lives

Speech-Language Pathologist

Education Specialist





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