With more SLPs leaving primary and secondary education for positions in health care, the same question is always asked, “How high is too high when it comes to caseloads?”
This past Thursday, PresenceLearning presented their response to this question with an in-depth webinar seeking to persuade schools to try a different approach that would benefit SLPs and students alike.
With guest presenters Barbara J. Moore Ed.D., CCC-SLP and Judy Rudebusch, Ed.D., CCC-SLP leading the way, audience members including school administrators and in the field speech-language pathologists learned about the workload approach versus the current caseload approach and how different ways of delivery treatment to students can help schools become more effective in the long-run.
1. Continuing to use caseload (# of students served) as the basis for determining SLP needs is contributing to the “spiral” of SLP shortage and related negative impacts. To break this negative cycle, leaders must move to using a workload (total time needed to manage all aspects of cases) approach to calculate SLP needs.
2. The key to moving to a workload approach is flexibility – being able to use flexible scheduling and different approaches to delivering SLP services, including online SLP.
3. Even though the workload approach is a policy supported by ASHA, SPED leaders hold tight to old behavior. Why? The culture of our schools limits our thinking and blinds us to new ideas and approaches. It’s a leadership issue: SPED directors, Superintendents, and other senior administrators need take charge of change management, encouraging new approaches and taking risk.
Here is a brief breakdown of the three-parts of the webinar:
Part 1: Workload Approach Overview
Currently, a speech-language pathologist’s workday is broken down based on the number of children and adolescents they see per day – the caseload approach. But is this an accurate view of how many responsibilities and tasks a SLP must fulfill in a workday? According to ASHA, the workload appraoch considers all aspects of the SLP’s “Day in the Life.”
Is 1-1 attention from a speech-language pathologists truly better for a student? Or does group learning allow a student to develop communication and skills simultaneously? With the workload approach, schools can treat students based on their abilities more effectively.
What the workload approach promotes is the concept that no student is like so they shouldn’t be treated within a bubble. With the development of online speech therapy and more schools adopting new academic schedules, the workload approach allows schools to let speech-language pathologists breathe, allocate staff resources more effectively, and test new models of delivery that can ultimately help a student with special needs best.
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Again, thank you to all the attendees who came out and supported the webinar. To watch past SPED Ahead webinars, check our entire section devoted to them on PresenceLearning.