6 Tips for Transitioning to Hybrid SLP Services
Written by Emily Marshall, M.S., CCC-SLP
Transitioning from teletherapy to hybrid or limited in-person services can be a fulfilling opportunity to finally return face to face with the students who need you most! However, it can also be a stressful and hectic process, mostly due to the stress of scheduling and balancing your priorities during an already busy time of the school year. Here are six tools and tips to help you transition to hybrid services more smoothly, calmly, and efficiently!
1. Self-Advocate and Set Boundaries Up Front
Put a disclaimer in your email signatures, virtual calendar, and/or automatic replies to the effect of Please allow some grace as I transition to hybrid services, which means my calendar is often changing, and I am in and out of the office frequently. I will get back to you as soon as I am able! Thank you. This sets the expectation to others that you will not be available virtually all day and that your availability will fluctuate frequently.
2. Make a Versatile, Easily Cleanable School Binder
Fill a binder with paper versions of all those awesome pdfs you used virtually all school year to keep in your tote bag for use exclusively at schools! But first, put the therapy worksheets in protective sleeves so that they can be used in a variety of ways, such as with playdoh (like a smash-mat) or whiteboard markers (which can be erased and reused). After seeing each student, you can wipe down both sides of the sleeve before the next student arrives.
3. Utilize the "P" in your SOAPs
Transitioning to hybrid services likely means a decrease in your available time for session planning and prepping. You can increase your efficiency by quickly jotting down the Plan from your SOAP on your student’s physical datasheet. This will allow you to grab and go for your next session rather than having to look through prior data or logs to remind yourself.
4. Add Buffer Room to Your Schedule
Whether moving between schools or seeing multiple students in one school, try to add just a little bit of extra wiggle room between sessions, if you can. Every transition between students is now a multi-step process that may involve check-ins, check-outs, temperature checks, PPE procedures, etc., and can make you late for the next session.
5. Assign Importance/Timelines to Your To-Do List
If you have been seeing your students virtually all year, seeing some or all of your students in person will make you want to tackle a million things. Finally having in-real-life observations and interactions, plus developing a stronger rapport, will definitely spark new ideas. Understand that you cannot do it all at once! Try making a differentiated to-do list, in which you separate the topics and tasks which need your attention on a spectrum; for example, 1) ASAP, 2) this week, 3) near future, 4) later.
6. Color-Coding = Calm SLP
Some ways to color-code your schedule are to assign colors to your in-person students and virtual students, or if doing alternate scheduling, assigning certain colors to certain days. It is helpful if these colors then align with the colors of your in-school student binders and the virtual student binders. Simple strategies like keeping students’ data sheets with their respective color’s folder make the hectic hybrid life more organized and manageable.
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