Ethically Reduce Your Caseload


Course Type: Video – 1 hour

ASHA Course Code: Ethics and Ethical Decision Making – 7070

In recent surveys, speech language pathologists cited large caseloads as being one of their greatest concerns.  Yet, most of the resources and continuing education that is available considers how to get students onto our caseload (Response to Intervention) or diagnose and treat students, rather than focusing on how to get them off our caseload.  This course presents research and methods for reducing caseloads both ethically and effectively.

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Additional Information


School Age


Ethics, SLP Professional


1 hour


.1 Continuing Education Unit



Financial Disclosure: Scott Prath, M.A., CCC-SLP is a salaried employee of Bilinguistics. Bilinguistics receives royalty payments for online courses.

Non-Financial Disclosure: Scott Prath does not have any non-financial relationships to disclose.

This course presented results from a 3-year study of a large suburban district examining disproportionate and large caseloads resulting in over-identification, budget constraints, and staff shortages. A framework was developed for assessing individual students and caseloads and implementing acceptable strategies for dismissing students who no longer need services.

So much of the information that we receive from conferences, new products, and continuing education has to do with successfully getting kids onto our caseload, diagnosing them, and providing therapy. Makes complete sense right?

Well, when we talk to clinic and district directors about their greatest concerns, they cite difficulties seeing all the clients or students they need to and budget restrictions.
And what about the speech team leads? Not enough personnel or not the right personal to match skill sets with disabilities or home languages.

And what about us? What are SLPs concerned about? Caseload size and paperwork.
Soooo…. Why are we focused on getting kids on the caseloads and serving them?
If we can reduce the number of students we work with then:
We need less budget.
We need less staff.
We have space on our caseload for the new referrals.
We have time to co-treat with professionals who might know more about a particular disability or language.
We have less paperwork.
We have suitable caseloads.

That is what this course is about. It is just too easy to say: “Hey, just kick them off!” We need a way to confidently and ethically reduce our caseloads.

Many districts face over-representation of minority students in special education. One reason for this is the over-identification of bilingual students as speech-language impaired. Bilingual language development is complex. Without a framework for understanding it, bilingual students will continue to be over-identified with special needs. We will share the results of a 3-year study we conducted in a large suburban district. We examined disproportionality at the campus level to identify specific needs of each campus. District-level and campus level trainings were implemented and the levels of disproportionality were reduced. We present an overview of our framework for assessing a caseload and identifying students that may not need to be added to a caseload and students that may need to move off. This solution was designed by and for professionals working in the schools making it possible to be successful within the context of high workloads.

Participants will:

List 5 reasons why students can remain on a caseload when they no longer qualify
Summarize the relationship between special education caseload proportionality
and the general education population
Modify speech therapy scheduling to create windows of time to move students
through the dismissal process
Time-Ordered Agenda:

02 minutes–Introductions and disclosures
15 minutes– Caseload management
25 minutes- Proportionality pilot study research and findings
15 minutes-Adapting study findings to a caseload to increase dismissals
03 minutes- Closing

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