Talking Points For...
Increased Salary | Other Compensation | Utilizing a Caseload/Workload Model to
Determine Caseload Size | Talking Points for Recruitment and Retention
General Talking Points for Increased Salary
- The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA 1997) has dramatically changed the roles and responsibilities of the school-based speech-language pathologist (SLP) and audiologist. Increasing numbers of children with complex disorders, such as autism, traumatic brain injury, and swallowing disorders, are being served in our schools. These children require intensive intervention that can only be provided by highly skilled, uniquely qualified SLPs and audiologists as indicated by certification from ASHA.
- Data from ASHA's ongoing nationwide study using the National Outcomes Measurement System (NOMS, indicate that treatment by ASHA-certified SLPs provides desired results:
- 75% of teachers reported that students receiving speech, language, and hearing services from ASHA-certified SLPs demonstrated improvement in reading and reading comprehension skills.
- 93% of parents whose children were receiving speech, language, or hearing services from ASHA-certified SLPs indicated that their children's communication improved. Providing a salary bonus for SLPs/audiologists with ASHA certification would ensure:
- that districts would be more likely to attract highly qualified SLPs/audiologists
- that SLP vacancies would be reduced or even eliminated
- that SLPs who meet ASHA's national certification requirements are treated equitably to teachers who hold a national certificate from the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) and receive additional compensation. Districts could choose to provide a bonus in a variety of ways including:
- Offering a bonus based on the comparability of the ASHA CCC and NBPTS certification.
- Developing a separate salary scale above the teacher's scale based on attainment of the CCC or a separate scale or lane change based on other comparable district schedules, e.g. those for school psychologists.
- Offering increased compensation based on extra time spent on required responsibilities such as Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) and Medicaid billing.
- Offering a bonus based on the unique needs of the district, e.g., providing summer school services, Saturday programs, or bilingual/bicultural services. Increased IDEA funding to states and local districts could be used to offset the cost of additional compensation as could Medicaid payments for services provided by ASHA-certified SLPs and audiologists.
Talking Points for Other Compensation
- Providing speech-language pathologists and audiologists with additional compensation will increase job satisfaction and enhance recruitment and retention of highly qualified ASHA- certified SLPs and audiologists. Reimbursement of licensure fees or professional dues is a small expense that will enhance the attractiveness of the position.
- Districts which offer paid release time or reimbursement for continuing education demonstrate a commitment to quality and ongoing improvement of skills and capabilities.
- Districts which seek to develop or incorporate computerized forms for the development of Individualized Education Programs demonstrate their willingness to work with staff to ease the ever-increasing paperwork burden.
- Providing lap top computers to SLP staff also shows the district's willingness to utilize technology to improve working conditions.
- Districts that hire additional clerical staff, or dedicate time of existing clerical staff, provide valuable assistance for SLPs to manage the paperwork burden. SLPs in districts with additional staff support report more time for service delivery and planning and increased collaboration time with teachers and parents.
- Increased IDEA funding to states and local districts could be used to offset the cost of additional compensation as could Medicaid payments for services provided by ASHA-certified SLPs and audiologists.
Talking Points for Utilizing a Caseload/Workload Model to Determine Caseload Size
To help children with speech, language and hearing disorders achieve academic success, speech-language pathologists and audiologists providing services need manageable caseloads.
Reducing caseload and associated workload requirements enable SLPs to provide quality services
- High caseloads mean that children receive less service and progress more slowly. (See text from Talking Points on Salary Increases)
- Each child added to an SLP caseload may add up to 10 meetings and 52 forms (ASHA, 2002) which results in less time for direct intervention and collaboration with teachers and families. Manageable caseloads allow SLPs time to coordinate serves with teachers and to collaborate with families.
- It is easier for districts to recruit and retain qualified SLPs and audiologists when caseloads and associated workload responsibilities are manageable.
- Increased IDEA funding to states and local districts could be used to offset the costs associated with improved caseload/workload as could Medicaid payments for services provided by ASHA-certified SLPs and audiologists.
Talking Points for Recruitment and Retention
The school district has persistent vacancies of qualified speech-language pathologists and audiologists.
- (Present data for the past 3–5 years on the number of positions available and the number unfilled)
- The reasons for the vacancies seem to be (choose those that apply):
- Salaries are lower than neighboring districts
- Workload is greater
- Location is less preferred
- Until these factors change, the school district needs to advertise openings widely and provide additional incentives to recruit and retain qualified SLPs and audiologists.
- Recommendations include (choose ones that apply):
- Advertisement of open positions, including notification of university speech, language, and hearing departments
- Payment of student loans during employment in the district
- Provision of a housing subsidy or access to a low interest home loan
- Credit of all of an applicant's previous work experience as an SLP or audiologist, irrespective of setting, toward placement on the salary scale
- Addition of a stipend for tests and materials
- Release time and payment for continued professional development
- Increased IDEA funding could be used to offset costs as could Medicaid payments for services provided by qualified SLPs and audiologists
- Recruitment and retention of qualified personnel will improve the quality of children's education in the school. Current staff will be released from additional responsibilities and nave more time to coordinate services with teachers and to collaborate with families. Improved student performance will also increase job satisfaction and contribute to the retention of qualified staff
Successful efforts to attract and retain qualified SLPs and audiologists might include:
- Offering to repay in full or part the applicant's student loan
- Providing a housing allowance or access to a low interest loan
- Agreeing to credit the applicants previous work experience on the salary scale, irrespective of the previous work setting or location
- Offering to reimburse the cost of distance education programs for employees wishing to further their education, e.g., taking distance courses to obtain a Master's degree in Speech-Language Pathology