I am a fan of Linguisystems for their excellent resources and now their free CEU programs. They also provide valuable free information throughout their catalogues on norms and development.

Recently they polled their readers as to what was the biggest challenge to them in their clinical practice. The results were not surprising but interesting to see what order the top 10 were in starting with the highest in frequency of response:

  • “Time management/caseload/paperwork
  • Autism
  • Fluency
  • Apraxia
  • Artic
  • Parent involvement
  • Nonverbal children
  • /r/
  • Behavior
  • Social Skills”

I could identify with the first response–time management/caseload/paperwork. When I was working in the schools, although I loved the work with kids and collaboration with a team of professionals and what I learned from them, the requirements to document my work, write IEP’s, and prepare for meetings kept mounting. I was there because I loved working with the kids.

Ironically, I just caught up with a favorite co-worker of mine who worked in the schools with me. She validated the above results. “Paperwork dominates so much of my time. Things have really changed in the last 10 years. It is so challenging to do therapy when you have to document every response.” As speech pathologists, we are often the case managers for the children with whom we work. That requires filling out forms, phone calls, arranging meetings, attending meetings and following up with reports, IEP’s etc. We have to work with our principals to ensure that we get the planning time built into our schedules to accommodate the new flood of responsibilities beyond doing therapy.

I started to see that coming as I left working in the schools 8 years ago to start my private practice. I do feel free to spend much more time actually working with kids now, rather than drowning in paperwork. How can we reverse this trend and return to what should be our real focus, the kids?