Small speech room organization can seem daunting….but it is possible! I’ve definitely worked in some small spaces. I’ve been in closets and once I was in a small room without a door! Actually, the only times I ever had big spaces I had to share them.
If you have a small space, don’t get down on yourself – at least you don’t have to share it. And you can still make a small speech room cute and useful. But you might have to a little advocating with administration…
1. Therapy table required – You need space for a nice table. I’ve seen small rooms with huge round tables and I’ve had very long spaces with a long table on the side – both made therapy challenging. I personally prefer a kidney table and if you have a chance to get one of those, I think it’s the best. Anyway, make sure you get what you need to have successful therapy.
2. Locked file cabinet mandatory – Therapy files contain confidential health information and must be in a locked file cabinet so that they can’t accessed by other staff members. If you don’t have one, ask for it and make your small speech room HIPAA-compliant.
3. Consider the need for a desk – Many speech rooms have space for a teacher’s desk and for therapy table; however, it’s possible that you may not need both. With many teachers ditching their heavy wooden desks, you could just set up your laptop on the therapy table. Decide if you need to have a desk for your work laptop or can you use the therapy table as your desk putting your laptop there once the students have gone or between sessions to write a quick note.
4. Ask for a phone – You have no idea how many closets I’ve worked in that do not have phones or access to the PA system. If you have to have a small space, you still need a way to communicate with the office and other teachers. Also, if you have parents coming in for therapy and evaluations, you need to know when they have arrive. Ask to get wired for a phone if you don’t have one!
5. A small bookshelf is necessary – You need storage for therapy materials; you can’t just have everything sitting on the floor! It’s hard to find spare bookshelves not in use in the school. I found the best little red bookshelf on Craigslist that really improved my little speech room. Getting everything organized on that shelf lifted my spirits so much, you have no idea!
Your small speech room has the possibility of being an amazing place to treat and evaluate kids, but might need to make some small speech room organization adjustments to get it up to your standards. I’ve been there before and I know you can you do it!
Bio: Sarah Wu is a bilingual speech-language pathologist from Chicago, Illinois. She blogs at speechisbeautiful.com