Changing your lot in life: 4 suggestions to impact caseload size

In our first post on caseload manageability, as proposed by Katz, et al (citation below) in a recent article in Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in the Schools, we discussed the identified factors that impact one’s perceptions of her caseload size and those that contribute to job satisfaction. The authors also shared several proposals  to impose some controls on an unrelenting work situation.

Response to Intervention (RTI) – While RTI is in the early stages of implementation, it holds promise for SLPs, especially those with unreasonable caseload sizes. RTI allows special education professionals to use their knowledge and expertise working with students and teachers not only in remediation, but also with prevention in mind.

Negotiate caseload/workload issues with school administrators – Document job responsibilities and share results from the Katz, et al, study and others related to SLP job satisfaction and burnout with your most insightful administrator. Inform administrators about the significant relationship between caseload size and perceived caseload manageability. Doing so might help SLPs make a case for expanded discipline-specific service and time to complete other workload demands in lieu of unskilled responsibilities such as lunch or bus duties.

Inform administrators on the benefits and limitations of team collaboration – Mandated classroom collaboration could impact SLPs’ perceptions of caseload manageability. If an SLP is finding collaboration to be a particularly difficult endeavor in his or her school, based on substantial resistance among teachers, more reasonable and more familiar service options, such as more pullout services, could be proposed.

Alternately, SLPs could lobby for administrators to lend visible support for classroom collaboration by allotting time in SLPs’ and teachers’ schedules for planning meaningful and effective collaboration as well as supporting and encouraging SLPs’ efforts to participate in continuing education in how to create and maintain fulfilling collaborative relationships.

What could you add to the list of proactive solutions to merely succumbing to being perpetually overwhelmed? What has worked for you and your team mates in your district? We’d love to know. Please share!


Katz LA, Maag A, Fallon KA, Blenkarn K, Smith MK. (2010). What makes a caseload (un)manageable? School-based speech-language pathologists speak. Language Speech and Hearing Services in the Schools, 41(2), 139-151.

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