Caseload refers to the number of students with Individualized Education Programs (IEPs), Individualized Family Service Plans (IFSPs), and 504 Plans served by school-based SLPs and other professionals through direct and/or indirect service delivery options. In some school districts, caseloads may also include students who receive intervention and other services within general education designed to help prevent future difficulties with speech, language learning, and literacy. Caseloads can also be quantified in terms of the number of intervention sessions in a given time frame.
Workload refers to all activities required and performed by school-based SLPs and other professionals. Workload includes the time for face-to-face direct services to students, as well as time spent performing other activities necessary to support students' education programs, implement best practices for school speech-language services, and ensure compliance with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004 (IDEA, 2004) and other mandates.
Traditionally, a school SLP's workload has been conceptualized as being almost exclusively synonymous with caseload; but the reality is that caseload is only one part of the picture. When a student is added to a caseload for direct services, significant amounts of time within the school day, week, or month must be allocated for additional important and necessary workload activities.
While issues related to caseload and workload are relevant for professionals in a variety of settings, this document focuses on caseload and workload issues specific to the school SLP.
The total number of workload activities required and performed by school-based speech-language pathologists (SLPs) should be taken into account when establishing caseloads. ASHA does not recommend a maximum caseload number, but recommends taking a workload analysis approach to setting caseloads to ensure that students receive the services they need to support their educational programs.