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2012 Master's Level Graduate Research Conference

Session I - Session II - Session III - Session IV

Speech-Language Pathologists in the Schools: Whatís Working and What Isnít

Despite an increasing shortage of speech-language pathologists (SLPs) in educational settings, coupled with rising numbers of children receiving special education services, few studies have examined retention factors such as caseload or expanding job responsibilities. This project reviews multiple surveys conducted over the past decade with school SLPs regarding the greatest challenges and overall job satisfaction. First, findings from a survey conducted by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (2006) reported that challenges included excessive paperwork and a lack of time for other responsibilities. As well, a third of participants stated they needed more time for direct services and planning. Perhaps related, Hutchins, Howard, Prelock, and Belin (2010) alarmingly reported that nearly three-fourths of the 75 SLPs surveyed planned on leaving the school setting within 10 years or less, with a third of participants having caseloads higher than the ASHA-recommended maximum of 40 clients. Lastly, Blood, Ridenour, and Thomas (2002) found that despite the above challenges, the majority of SLPs are generally-to-highly satisfied with their jobs. Particularly SLPs of older ages with more experience reported greater job satisfaction. Results showed that setting (urban, rural, or suburban) had no effect on satisfaction. Taken together, the findings suggest that although school SLPs are generally satisfied with their positions, they are significantly dissatisfied with their workload, which could possibly worsen existing shortages over time. Specifically, high caseloads can result in a lack of time to fulfill job responsibilities and therefore may contribute to lower retention rates due to stress levels.

Presenter: Patricia Buckley (Ithaca College) --
Topic: Social Work - Poster Session
Location: Edwards Hall Lobby
Time: 10:30 am (Session II)