It took me ten years of scheduling speech therapy to finally land on a system that works great for me. It is a really complex process. Making a speech therapy schedule is tough, especially if you have a large caseload. However, there are a few things you can do to make the process easier and more efficient.
1. Gather all of your necessary information
This includes your students’ names, their IEP goals, and requires IEP minutes. Put it all in a spreadsheet. Email teachers and ask for two slots that are available for speech therapy.
2. Decide on your scheduling method
There are a few different ways to schedule speech therapy sessions. One common method is to group students by their IEP goals. This can help you to save time and be more efficient when preparing for sessions. But the best option is to group students by their class and grade level. You don’t want to interrupt a class too frequently.
Consider asking administration for a master schedule of “specials” or the times certain grade levels go to library, physical education, art, etc. You do not want to pull them out of those classes
3. Create a master schedule
This will give you a visual overview of all of your scheduled sessions. You can create a master schedule using a paper calendar, a whiteboard, or a digital scheduling tool.
4. Start scheduling sessions
When scheduling sessions, be sure to consider the following factors:
- Student availability: Make sure to schedule sessions at times that work for your students and their teachers.
- IEP goals: Group students together based on their IEP goals. This will help you to save time and be more efficient when preparing for sessions.
- Session length: Consider the length of each session when scheduling. Some students may need longer sessions, while others may need shorter sessions.
- Breaks: Be sure to schedule breaks throughout the day. This will help you to avoid burnout and ensure that you are providing effective therapy to your students.
5. Be flexible
Things don’t always go according to plan, so it’s important to be flexible with your schedule. If teacher request schedule change, learn to roll with it. Things change frequently.
6. Use technology
There are a number of technological tools that can help you to create and manage your speech therapy schedule. For example, you can use a digital scheduling tool to create a master schedule, send appointment reminders to your students and teachers, and track your progress.
I use Google Docs to create a master spreadsheet that is accessible to all and is easy to locate if the paper copy gets ripped or written on.
Here are some additional tips for creating an efficient speech therapy schedule:
- Schedule your most challenging sessions first. This will give you the most time and energy to focus on these students. Plus lots of kids are better first thing in the morning too.
- Schedule your least demanding sessions at the end of the day. This will give you time to wrap up your day and prepare for the next day. It’s nice to end the day with easier sessions.
- Take breaks throughout the day. Get up and move around, or step outside for some fresh air.
By following these tips, you can create a speech therapy schedule that will help you to provide effective therapy to your students. It’s hard to please everyone at school, but keep in mind you are there for the kids and not the adults!