Schools today are facing a harsh reality: there is a chronic shortage of qualified speech-language pathologists (SLPs). As an SLP and clinical director who has worked with school districts across the country, I’ve watched this problem grow over the years. This, compounded with large amounts of paperwork and high caseloads, makes it difficult for SLPs to manage their workload, contributing to many students not getting the services they need.
Despite long-term efforts made by school administrators to help students and SLPs surmount service barriers, it’s clear that in-school speech-language therapy initiatives could still use a boost.
Here are three things administrators can do to improve student access to speech-language therapy.
Support ongoing SLP training
While the scope of practice for school-based SLPs is technically quite broad, SLPs may be assigned students who require highly-specialized therapeutic approaches. However, districts often don’t have the bandwidth or budget for the additional training required.