Case Load, Work Load, and YOU.
Post submitted by Lauren Clabaugh, ArSHA Schools Committee
Arizona School-based SLPs: Does this situation sound familiar? You are finally getting your footing this school year and feeling comfortable with your students and many work tasks, when your SPED director decides your caseload numbers are “too low” and assigns you another school. Sure, the number of kids on our caseload might look low relative to some of the crazy caseloads out there, but you know that your kids have significantly higher needs. Maybe you have a self-contained classroom, an autism program, an affective needs cluster, and students using AAC devices. Maybe you play a significant role in Tier 2 intervention. Plus, there are all those meetings you attend: school-wide meetings, professional learning communities, SPED meetings, district SLP meetings… and don’t forget IEP meeting! Then, there are the screenings, evaluations, and re-evaluations, not to mention progress reports. And, to top it off, you are expected to bill Medicaid, and supervise an SLPA or two.
Administrators and directors in the school system have a vague idea of all the things we do, but when it comes to the day-to-day, they may not understand all of our responsibilities and the amount of time these take. You know that your “caseload” is not a good reflection of your “workload,” but how can you explain such a complex concept to the director who seems to think you have plenty of time in your schedule to pick up another school? ASHA’s workload calculator can help!
In an attempt to better quantify SLP workload, ASHA has released their workload calculator. The workload calculator is a spreadsheet that tracks minutes spent on each individual task, then provides a weekly report that outlines how much time you have spent in each area. It summarizes the data for you, showing it in hours or as a percentage of your week’s total hours, and provides charts to visualize data.
To use the calculator, you input information such as how much time you spend in direct services, IEP meetings, planning, etc. If you input your activity daily, it should take about 5-10 minutes per day. If you input data weekly, it should take 30-60 minutes. You could estimate a “typical” week, but we recommend tracking your actual time because you might even surprise yourself with the amount of time you spend on each task! You can track one week or multiple weeks and compare the data. You can use the data for your own time-management analysis and determine where you can make changes to increase efficiency. More importantly, you can send the data along to your principal or SPED director, someone who can make changes to your workload.
When you give it a try, send us an email and tell us what you think! Contact ArSHA’s School SLP Committee at: firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information on the workload calculator and its uses: · https://leader.pubs.asha.org/doi/10.1044/leader.FTR2.24082019.56
Try the calculator: · https://www.asha.org/SLP/schools/Workload-Calculator/