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16 Essential Items that Every SLP Should Have

by Liliana Diaz August 20, 2019

16 Essential Items that Every SLP Should Have

It’s back to school season and if you are starting a brand new job in the school setting, it can be pretty over-whelming trying to figure out exactly what speech therapy-related materials you will need. Here’s a rule of thumb and a tip that I always tell my CF-SLPs and grad student interns- DO NOT BUY ANYTHING until you are absolutely certain about what student population you will be working with. That being said, you definitely do not want to buy puzzles and Play-Doh and later find out that you will be primarily working with high school students (I hope you saved that receipt!). However, there are some essential SLP items that are pretty necessary to have no matter what population you work with. The following items are materials that I always have on hand no matter what population I am working with. Furthermore, I cannot imagine working without the following items:

SLPs are often on the go! You will need a big enough bag to fit your lunch, clipboard, computer and all sorts of materials. I highly recommend getting a large tote bag that is big enough to fit all of these items.  My favorite bag is from the Vera Bradley Outlet. The outlet is a great place to find some bargain deals on name brand items. At a Vera Bradley Outlet, you can often find tote bags marked down anywhere from 50% to 80% off!
Sometimes therapy room space can limited in the school setting. You might want to consider buying a rolling crate in order to transport materials from your car to your school or from classroom to classroom. I bought my rolling crate at Staples and I often use it when taking materials from my therapy room to my second school.
Let’s face it, everything is better in color! In addition, color printing is essential when printing picture communication boards. I highly recommend buying a printer during the back-to-school season because often stores will have sales. In addition, often during the month of November you will see items like printers marked down for special events like Black Friday when electronics are marked up to 50% off.
There are a variety of laminators out there, from super expensive to really affordable. Usually laminators only differ in the rate of speed it can laminate a certain number of pages. I bought my laminator from Target when I initially started grad school and it is still going strong! You don’t have to buy a super expensive laminator as long as it does the job. I highly recommend laminating any visual or adaptive book that you print because then you can keep it and use it for many years to come.
If you buy a laminator then you will definitely need laminating paper and A LOT OF IT! I go through so many packets of laminating paper during the school year which is why I now buy in bulk. The best place to buy laminating paper in bulk is Amazon. Any other store retailer such as Target is simply way too expensive for a smaller quantity.
Velcro dots are perfect when making visuals or other materials because it involves no cutting or messing up a perfectly good pair of scissors! You can also buy Velcro dots on Amazon or your local Dollar Tree.
Dry erase pockets are perfect when you do not have time to laminate your materials. Simply slip your worksheet in the pocket and it’s ready to go!
I don’t know how many times I’ve written on the table with a dry erase marker simply because I could not locate my visuals. The best part of dry erase markers is that it’s ERASABLE!
One thing that you are for sure going to encounter in the school setting is GERMS! It is important to keep your workspace clean in order to avoid getting sick.
Mirrors are great tools to use when completing an oral mech exam or when working on articulation placement. I always keep a portable mirror in my bag just in case!
This is the ultimate handy tool! It’s the perfect tool to use when taking data in the classroom, taking notes on the go, or taking notes during a professional development meeting. I personally like clipboards with storage space because I can store stickers, posted notes, extra pens, etc. in the compartment space.
Oral mech exams are a super important part of any evaluation. You want to make sure you are super prepared and have these tools ready to use.
Organization is key when taking data during a session. Data sheets are the perfect tool to keep your data or notes organized. It also makes it easier to reference your data when entering billing notes or writing a progress note after your session has been completed. You can obtain some editable data sheets in my TpT store!
Working in the school setting means that you will have plenty of IEP meetings, re-evaluation dates, report card pick up meetings, etc. You will definitely need a calendar to help you stay organized!
This is a luxury item to have however, iPads can also be a great tool to have for a variety of reasons. On my iPad I am able to give a bilingual articulation assessment (BAPA) or I can target a variety of language goals with several educational apps. I also frequently use my iPad when working on articulation because I am able to use several articulation stimuli apps and apps specifically for articulation placement. Don’t forget that teachers often receive a school discount at the Apple store!
TeachersPayTeachers is a great website to be a member of simply because you have access to thousands of resources! Be sure to check out my store for the latest bilingual resources and activities!


Liliana Diaz
Liliana Diaz

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