Working as an SLP in a school, your caseload population and size vary between the different types of schools. Caseloads can range from 22 students in a Nonpublic Special Education setting to 80+ students in a public school system. You might even travel to multiple schools within your district. With crammed treatment schedules, IEP meetings, communication with parents, and other additional committee requirements it is difficult to think about paperwork. If you have ever found yourself wondering how you are going to complete all of your SLP paperwork, here are some helpful tips!
Organization is key
Organization is important for staying on top of all of your paperwork. Creating a separate calendar with important due dates for IEPs, progress notes, and evaluations will help you plan when to begin writing. Try to complete a rough draft of large writing pieces, such as IEPs, a week in advance. Attending program review meetings for students prior to their IEP paperwork due dates is helpful. If your school conducts program review meetings, begin to create your goals during the meeting when the student’s strengths and needs are discussed. If this is not offered at your school, plan a time on your calendar to consult with staff to learn more about the students on your caseload.
It’s all about the data
When it comes to daily notes, IEPs, and progress reports, it's all about the data. Tracking all of your data to report on a caseload can be overwhelming and time-consuming. Creating data tracking tools will help you quickly compute your data. Helpful programs to create these templates include Google Sheets and Excel, and making a template is simple:
- Column A: Rows identifying your school calendar dates and holidays
- Column B: AA (however many you need): individual columns for each goal, perhaps sectioned into categories for Receptive, Expressive, and Pragmatics
When data is required for a report or note, you can use this tool to easily compute all of your data in seconds.
A plus to Google Sheets is that it is available wherever you can access your Google Drive. The few minutes a day that it requires to put data into a tracking tool will save you hours when it comes to reporting time.
Template time savers
For paperwork that has a standard layout or frequently repeats itself, create templates that will allow you to plug in your specific details, but save you time in formatting. For example, using Word or Google Docs, create an outline of your district’s IEP format so that you are able to copy it into a new document. This will save you time formatting your report later on.
Furthermore, if you have to complete quarterly progress notes, create one document with all of your students. Format their current goals and leave an asterisk where you need to input their data. Creating templates to reduce repetitive typing will make report writing more efficient.
Begin to create a goal bank for each area you address. Having a resource that contains specific, measurable, relevant goals will help reduce your stress when creating a student’s purposed IEP objectives. There are many pre-made goal banks available online but having a personal resource that is tailored to your district’s requirements and that is relevant to your type of caseload will save you from endlessly searching online.
The pre-made goal banks online, the Common Core Standards, and previous IEPs are great reference points to start building your bank.
Text expansion tool
Daily notes can pile up quickly, especially if you have consecutive sessions and group sessions. Create a word document at the beginning of your day that outlines your daily schedule. Under each student’s name write your key documentation phrases required by your school or insurance.
Utilizing a text expansion tool for highly used phrases, which could include session length, type, and location will reduce repetitive typing throughout the day. The tool recognizes a shortcode you create and will automatically insert your frequently used phrases or sentences. For example, you could create a shortcode called “min VP” and whenever that is typed the phrase “The student required min verbal prompts to” would automatically appear.
How great will it be to not have to write out entire prompting level phrases 20 plus times in a day?
How do you manage all your paperwork?
Paperwork can be daunting at times. With busy caseloads, meetings, and session planning, many SLPs wonder when they will get all of their paperwork completed. Creating resources such as data tracking documents, templates, goal banks, and text expansion tools, may take time initially to create but will make completing paperwork more efficient.
What are some of your strategies to manage all of your paperwork? Share them in the comments below!