Paperwork: The Necessary Evil
Back on March 12th, I wrote a post
where I began describing the roles and responsibilities of a preschool speech language pathologist. One of the challenges I mentioned was the dreaded but oh-so necessary PAPERWORK: the lovely little task that eats up most of my time and consistently hangs over my head like a vicious storm cloud!
Ok, so here is the set-up:
- Annual IEPs and ERs—As you all know, IEPs (Individualized Education Plan) are due once a year. With a current caseload hovering around the 40+ mark, this works out to about 2-3 a month. For some of these children an ER (Evaluation Report) is also required, which also increases the paperwork demands.
- Quarterly Progress Notes—These are written and sent home every four months (January, April, July, October) and are basically an IEP report card that lets parents know how their child is performing with regard to their speech and language goal(s). One of the challenges that exist with this system is that we receive children from two different parts of the county so the paperwork for each is different and be both confusing and cumbersome.
- Data Sheets—This is a form that my employer created in order to help us with maintaining appropriate data on every child. We must use the form to maintain appropriate documentation of absences, therapy sessions that occurred, what goal(s) was addressed and how the child performed during that session. It is this data that drives all the other paperwork that is required. If we are ever audited, the data sheets are part of the documents that are reviewed.
- Billing—As I stated above, we receive children through two different placement centers for our county so the paperwork for each is different and has unique forms and requirements for completion. This paperwork must be completed by the last day of EVERY month. Last month, I calculated that it took me roughly 20+ hours to complete. It can be quite grueling and must reflect the IEP and all the information that is written on the data sheets.
- Notes and Emails—We are expected to maintain an open and frequent line of communication with all the parents, so emails and/or therapy notes are encouraged weekly to biweekly to keep families up to date on the latest therapy plans and their child's progress.
As the weeks progress, I am finding my groove and getting a handle on all the data that is required. I have become better organized which saves time and allows me to be more productive in the classroom. I also recently learned that much of the paperwork is about to change in June and a new system will be introduced..... hopefully it will alleviate some of the demand so that we can spend more treating children and less time writing about it!