5 Simple Organizational Tips for SLPs
As a busy SLP, strong organizational skills can enhance your efficiency and save you time throughout the day. From decreasing the need for prep time to increasing consistency across your data collection system, staying on top of the finer details will pave the way for you streamlining your practice. To get you in an organizational mindset, we have 5 tips to lock into your routine. Check them out!
For Paper Materials & Books:
1. Get in the habit of making binders or file folders your new best friend.
You can determine which organizer is best depending on your working space (i.e., bookshelf, rolling bin, filing cabinet, etc.). In a filing cabinet or similar container, you can easily label and color-code file folders by topic, goal, or season. If you are storing paper materials on a bookshelf, try putting large topic labels on binders and then label skill/goal subcategories with tabbed sections. The benefit of this organizational system is to limit your prep time for sessions and caregiver resources—you can just pull whatever you need!
2. Wherever you store your books, label them by goal or skill to limit prep time.
As an EI/ECSE SLP, some key skills targeted with books include prepositions, colors, first words, and following directions. With older students for whom books are an opportunity to practice fluency, decoding or comprehension, organizing the books by topic or genre can be helpful for students when selecting one that motivates them!
For Data Collection:
3. Create a simple data collection sheet at the beginning of the school year.
Use this sheet as a master copy, from which you can more easily create datasheets for each student as more get added to your caseload. Key sections to include are name, next IFSP/IEP date, goals, and teacher/parent names to help you keep track of it all.
4. Put all those personalized data sheets into a binder, with numbered tabs and a corresponding key.
You can organize the data sheets alphabetically or by grade and class so you can easily pull the correct one for each session. If you are a community or home health SLP (in which you travel between sites), maintaining separate binders for each site can be extremely helpful.
5. Keep a folder of datasheets organized by Needs to Be Done on one side and Done on the other.
Arranging data sheets like this can improve efficiency with service logs. SOAP notes and service logs seem to be a constant pile: as soon as one is done, you have another session, and therefore another log to do. Filing the completed ones in their own place allows you to quickly put them back in the binder at the end of the day, so you know exactly how many you have left to do to plan for the next day.
These tips are just a few of the methods you can use on a daily basis to keep your materials in order and focus on providing the best quality care possible for your clients. Starting with one or two is a good way to get in an organizational mindset and allows you to tweak or add new habits as you go.
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