Starting a Private Speech Therapy Practice is complicated.
When I decided to start a private practice, I had no idea what I was getting into. I thought I'd start seeing a few clients on the side, in the evenings after my full-time school job, to help pay off my student loans a little faster and maybe eventually branch out on my own. "I'm a good SLP and have decent organizational skills, this can't be that hard!" I thought. Boy, was I in for a surprise!
I wanted to start my practice legally, so I began researching how to set up a business. I thought choosing a structure would be a quick Google search but it ended up taking over a month. I had to learn about business structures (LLC's, sole proprietorships, corporations, etc) and find out what worked best for my needs in my state. I spent hours researching taxes, CPA fees, and licenses, and many nights researching and freaking out about HIPAA compliance. What I learned is that all of the information you need to start a private practice is out there- but you have to dig for it! Nothing is in one convenient place. So I decided to change that.
Talking to parents about our jobs can be hard. I mean, speech-language pathology isn't even easy to say! IEP meetings can be difficult, especially evaluation report reviews when we have to tell a parent that their child qualifies for speech therapy. After some very challenging IEP meetings as a CF and young SLP, I knew that I needed to be prepared in order for these meetings to run smoothly. As an upside, the materials and ideas I've collected make for excellent resources for larger presentations, like talks about speech and language development at the library.
My first step was to have handouts about anything and everything speech-related. The papers give me something to do with my hands, and we all know that having a visual to refer to makes explaining difficult concepts like standard deviations and the difference between speech and language to parents easier. I also like to bring examples of games or toys that I use in speech; this gives any kids present a great way to keep busy so their parents can listen, and also helps parents understand what we do in our therapy sessions.
If you have an IEP, parent meeting, or even a talk at your local library coming up, check out my list of go-to resources to explain what it is that we SLPs do. And let me know about your favorite evidence-based resources in the comments as well!
We've all been there- between paperwork, evaluations, IEP meetings, bus/lunch/recess duty, PD that doesn't apply to our profession, fire drills, etc- sometimes there just isn't time to plan the therapy we envision. More than once, I've decided on a therapy activity while walking the students down the hall for their session. In general, those sessions have worked- a hallmark of being an SLP is being able to think on our feet and modify sessions as needed- but having an overall goal and theme for sessions is a useful practice. Thankfully, many talented SLP's have created membership-based sites that do much of the planning for you, so I've compiled a list of those sites below to help you work smarter, not harder!
Titles are linked for your convenience!
Pop Quiz: At which of these locations do Speech-Language Pathologists provide therapy?
B) Outpatient Rehab Centers
E) All of the above
The answer is E, although I know many SLP's who have a preference for a particular location- and it usually isn't daycares. I've provided therapy in daycares for many years, and I used to dread those days too. Generally, daycares are more crowded and have more teachers who rotate throughout the day and the week. The day is not as structured as a school day, and children are often there for longer- or, just there for the most challenging parts of the day: early morning and after school. I often felt like I was just throwing paper away when I would leave notes at daycares because none of my suggestions seemed to have any effect. But fear not! With a little preparation, you no longer have to dread Daycare Days! Here are my tips for creating successful, cooperative visits to the daycares on your caseload.
I know what you're thinking: "How does making some resources for TeachersPayTeachers make someone a better speech therapist?" It does sound a little grandiose, but I can honestly say that it really has made my professional life better in many ways that I never expected when I jumped in to it at 38 weeks pregnant (timing has never been my strong suit! ). Here are 5 that were the most surprising to me:
1. It's given me the ability to make my own products for therapy- and like them! Before I started creating products for my TPT store, I made the occasional therapy resource for my own personal use. These resources were usually made in Microsoft Word, with mismatched clip art and no design knowledge (see below). They filled a need, but they weren't pretty to look at. I was almost a little ashamed to pull them out in therapy, they were so, um, "aesthetically challenged." Now, I'm proud to use my own products in therapy, and get excited to design fun and exciting covers and content!
Do you love file folder activities? I do- I love their portability, effectiveness, and re-useability! However, I made the mistake of buying a 9-inch laminator instead of a 13-inch laminator, so until this one breaks, I can't laminate my file folder activities. And an un-laminated file-folder activity is basically just some disorganized worksheets.
But wait! I recently discovered a hack to get use out of my file folder activities without having to laminate the folders themselves!
(This post contains affiliate links. I earn from sales made via those links. More info here.)
It's almost that wonderful time of year again- Back to School time, when the new school supplies are wafting their irresistible scent from the Target aisles and school employees everywhere are doing our best to enjoy these last few days of summer. It's also almost time to start seeing Speech Room Style pics all over social media, with amazing rooms/closets/offices decorated by creative SLP's from around the world. I love to see their creativity in action, but as an itinerant SLP, I can never really join in. For most of my career, my car trunk has been my office, and I didn't even have a permanent desk spot until last year. I know I'm not the only one, so I wanted to give some tips that have helped me stay organized on the road. Amazon and TPT links included for your convenience.
I'm Jill! I love to create and blog about fun, evidence-based resources that make the lives of parents and busy SLPs easier.