It may be helpful for school-based therapists to keep track of their workload activities and present these findings to the school district. Creating a visual representation of therapy-related activities performed throughout the day gives administrators a better idea of what is involved in the treatment of each student in their caseloads. The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) has recommended breaking down the workload for speech therapists into four types of activities: direct services to students, indirect activities that support students in the least restrictive environment, indirect services that support students‘ educational programs, and activities that support compliance with various mandates. This can help illustrate the need for additional members of the therapy team and determine the capacity of the existing program.

It can be helpful to involve ancillary teachers and support staff in therapy activities. Therapists can use in-services to help other staff members incorporate therapeutic activities into the students‘ general curriculum. Gym and music teachers can aid in occupational and physical therapy tasks, while classroom aides can monitor students‘ progress and identify areas that need more work within the classroom.

Some school districts are unwilling or unable to rethink the way therapy caseloads are assigned, particularly when there are strict budget constraints. The therapy team must then work together to identify the best way to accommodate each student‘s individual education plan (IEP). Some students may be able to participate in group sessions, while others may need to work one-on-one with a therapist. When grouping students together, therapists need to make an effort to put students together who have similar needs.

There are therapy support services available, as well, which can help you with each therapist‘s caseload. If the budget allows, certain clerical tasks can be outsourced, or the school can have an outside agency review the most efficient way to distribute the caseload among all of the therapists in the department. Outside agencies can also perform the evaluations to determine a student‘s eligibility for services, freeing up more time for the schoolbased therapy team to provide those services.

If there is no feasible way to follow every student‘s IEP and the school administration does not take action to correct this, it may be time to go outside the district. After talking to the special education department director and the school superintendent, therapists can take their concerns to the local teachers‘ union, the state education agency, or special education associations. If parents share their concerns with the therapists, the parents can also be involved in advocating for the needs of their children with these organizations.

There are many different ways to manage a large caseload for schoolbased therapy. Therapists need to consider how to handle their caseload issues, whether it‘s convincing the school district to move to a workload model, involving school support staff in therapy activities, utilizing external therapy support services, or advocating for better therapy staffing.