Being an SLP is an excellent way to help others while earning a very comfortable income. However, being an SLP has its share of challenges, in particular for those clinicians working for the public schools and early intervention services.
As a matter of fact, the rate of SLPs burning out is on the rise, unfortunately, due to many factors entirely out of their control. Despite this, many excellent, devoted therapists continue to work their magic day in and day out. Why? Because being an SLP in general is absolutely fantastic.
So for all of you devoted therapists and for those of you benefiting from their critical services, to fully appreciate these unsung heroes, it is essential to understand some of their most significant challenges and how teletherapy can provide solutions.
1. High caseloads - Teletherapy to the rescue
Unfortunately, many SLPs, especially those working in public schools are handling unbearable caseloads, way beyond what they can handle. In some cases, this can be 80-100 students. The negative impact of these high caseloads impacts SLPs, students and administrators alike.
The advent of teletherapy has done much to alleviate this chronic problem. The option of finding high-quality therapists outside the district who can service these needy students via teletherapy has been improved the lives of many students, administrators, and therapists.
2. Lack of materials
Many public schools are notorious for inadequately providing SLPs sufficient materials and resources for their students. This makes an SLPs job particularly challenging, especially in light for the heavy caseloads. No time nor budget to purchase supplemental games and exercises means slower progress for students and greater frustration for therapists.
But with teletherapy, this can change dramatically, almost instantly. The plethora of materials continues to expand by the month. Combining creativity and technology has proven to be a potent combination, and often at a reasonable cost, which encourages schools to invest.
3. Unqualified Therapists
Due to the considerable budget challenges facing many districts, schools are sometimes forced to position unqualified personnel as speech-language therapists. This is obviously to the students' deficit. And sometimes the experience is even worse than wasting time, as it can become an impediment to future therapy.
The answer, of course, is teletherapy. Similar to solving the problem of overburdening SLPs with caseloads, here again, the expanding pool of qualified therapists unconstrained by geography removes the necessity and excuse for school districts to assign therapy to anyone but qualified, licensed speech therapists.
Scheduling can be a real hassle for everyone involved. Excellent therapists only have so much time during the school day and often due to other necessities in their lives are unable to remain in the school until all hours in the evening. When the therapist and the kids live in the same place, they are constrained by the time zone.
But just imagine that a therapist who lives in California is working with a child in New York. That 3-hour difference opens up new possibilities for scheduling that never existed before. What’s more, with so many more therapists to choose from, teletherapy provides to option of using many therapists at the same time in the same school.