Survey of SLP Caseloads in Washington State Schools: Implications and Strategies for Action Purpose To document statewide and regional caseloads and to examine workload management strategies by surveying speech-language pathologists (SLPs) in Washington State public schools. Method All school SLPs who were registered with the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction were mailed a detailed survey in May, 2001 and ... Research Article
Research Article  |   April 01, 2006
Survey of SLP Caseloads in Washington State Schools: Implications and Strategies for Action
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Patricia Dowden
    University of Washington, Seattle
  • Nancy Alarcon
    University of Washington, Seattle
  • Teresa Vollan
    Snohomish Health District, Snohomish, WA
  • Gary D. Cumley
    University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point
  • Carrie M. Kuehn
    University of Washington, Seattle
  • Dagmar Amtmann
    University of Washington, Seattle
  • Contact author: Patricia Dowden, PhD, CCC-Sp, Assistant Clinical Professor, Speech & Hearing Sciences, University of Washington, 1417 N.E. 42nd St. Seattle, WA 98105. Email: dowden@u.washington.edu
Article Information
School-Based Settings / Practice Management / Professional Issues & Training / Research Articles
Research Article   |   April 01, 2006
Survey of SLP Caseloads in Washington State Schools: Implications and Strategies for Action
Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, April 2006, Vol. 37, 104-117. doi:10.1044/0161-1461(2006/013)
History: Received September 17, 2004 , Revised March 25, 2005 , Accepted September 7, 2005
 
Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, April 2006, Vol. 37, 104-117. doi:10.1044/0161-1461(2006/013)
History: Received September 17, 2004; Revised March 25, 2005; Accepted September 7, 2005
Web of Science® Times Cited: 9

Purpose To document statewide and regional caseloads and to examine workload management strategies by surveying speech-language pathologists (SLPs) in Washington State public schools.

Method All school SLPs who were registered with the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction were mailed a detailed survey in May, 2001 and a brief follow-up survey 1 year later.

Results Response rates were 43% (N = 431) and 47% (N = 464), respectively. Caseload findings showed a statewide mean of 59 students, with regional variation as high as 30%.

Implications There was no systematic evidence that caseloads were managed through state, district, or local limits or by distributing clients on the basis of the severity of impairment or SLP experience or training. There was significant evidence, however, that clinicians with larger caseloads were more likely to have assistants and to conduct a higher proportion of group sessions than were clinicians with smaller caseloads. The authors discuss the implication of these findings for this and other states with no caseload limits and a shortage of SLPs. There is an appeal for more research using newly established measures of workload as well as a call to action to address the challenges that these findings represent.

Acknowledgment
This research was supported by Grant H224A3006 from the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research, U.S. Department of Education, to the University of Washington Center for Technology and Disability Studies.
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