I am so sorry for all that is being said about the change of focus from therapy to paperwork on this thread. I created a speech pathology department and swallowing center in a hospital. One of the things that I was cognizant of, was it was my job as an administrator to make sure that I understood what each individual was up against - the report writing, spending time with the family, getting family/physician support, determining the difference between in-patient therapy vs. out-patient therapy. It was my job as management to understand that my role was to serve the people I worked for - my staff. After 27 years, I retired for 3 months and then returned to the schools in a different state as a speech pathologist. It is a nightmare and when I speak with others about it, I find that they are taking shortcuts so they appear to be meeting deadlines and still providing therapy. The only ones that are getting hurt are the students and the clinicians. Part of this is our own fault I sadly have to say. By taking so much work home, meeting the deadlines repeatedly and not saying enough is enough - is something that a speech/language pathologist is not good at and it creates what I call a false economy. We allow our management to think that we can do this job and although we complain - we do not stop over achieving. Are we really so worried about losing our jobs if we say that caseloads over 20-30 is unreasonable. Why have we agreed that it is ok to "co-teach" or work as "inclusion" speech therapists unless it is a decision that you think is appropriate an individual student - not just because it is the only way we can get 30 students a day seen? Go back to your roots, you are frustrated because you are not making a difference that you know you have the skills, knowledge and ability to do. You are all bright, motivated, dedicated people that have a lot to offer - but we have allowed ourselves to get caught up in being competetive - if so and so can do it - so can I. We do this without maintaining what we know is ethically right. Case managing "speech only" students because the diagnosticians and LSSP's cannot/will not test - is a huge deservice and I believe highly unethical when looking at our scope of practice. I know that I do not have the skills or time to manage a severely behavior disordered/emotionally disturbed child from Pre-school through 2nd or 3rd grade when they finally get an additional diagnosis. We do have to work smarter in order to give everything we can - but once we have done that, we really need to say enough is enough. There are an abundance of speech pathology jobs out there and possibly that needs to be shown to your administration (know that I do understand that many of us are bound to our communities due to family and social ties), but it does not hurt to attempt to show that the districts have awesome people that they are very lucky to have!! I get e-mail requests all the time for jobs. I read them carefully and then I carefully create a response. For example - one in New Mexico read - caseload of 60 over 7 schools, 3 additional preschools going in that the person would be responsible for, IEP, screening and assessment duties, home programs and to boot - bilingual. I wished them good luck, asked if the pay was in the $200,000 range and essentially in a much nicer way, told them that what they were doing was wrong. I've been at this a long time. I can go any where and create the position I want - but so should you. Who has your training and skill? Who can make a difference in the communication abilities of these students that then allows them to develop reading skills? Who can understand better than you what type of problems auditory processing issues will create for a student's educational career? The bottom line is that no one will ever understand the scope of our positions if we do not put in writing the time it actually takes to do things and document what we were unable to do because of the many other things that are being required to be done that are not related to speech/language pathology. I know this is not a solution to your question, but I think it is a direction our thinking needs to go. Good luck.
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