speech and language therapy survey

Speech And Language Therapy Survey: All Pain Points

Posted on
September 29, 2023
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This report offers an analysis of data from an online survey, which was created with the aims of understanding the main pain points of Speech and Language Therapists.

Participants for the survey have been gathered through convenience sampling. An e-mail was sent to a database of 386 Speech and Language Therapists and Pathologists on three different dates: June 16, June 19, and June 21. The participants were offered a £20 Amazon voucher for their compensation. Out of 386 participants that were e-mailed, 58 replied, the data of which is included in this report.

Introduction to survey

There is a larger proportion of SLTs who work independently (41%), than those who work for NHS (17%) or private clinics (12%).

Currently, most SLTs practice in person, with more than half practicing exclusively in person (59%), or in a mix of in-person and online practice (35%). This leaves a very small percentage of SLTs practicing exclusively online (3%).

While SLTs help people of all ages, they most commonly treat children. The most common age group are children from ages 5 to 9 (30%), followed by children from ages 0 to 5 (21%). After 10 years of age, the amount of speech therapy consistently decreases with age.

On average, SLTs handle 40 cases at once. However, most SLTs feel like they do not have enough time or resources for their caseload. When asked what they would improve on if they had a magic wand, an overwhelming response was that they had wished for more time. This was followed by wishing for more staff, resources, and therapists.

  • “More time, more therapists”
  • “To be able to access evidence based information to support therapy planning quickly and easily”
  • “Less paperwork!”
  • “For teaching staff to take on my recommendations more consistently”
  • “Ability to observe clients in different situations, home, school/nursery, community etc”

Biggest Pain Point: Session prep and practice

On average, it takes SLTs around 15 to 30 minutes to prepare a session. When combined with the fact that SLTs have an average caseload of 40 cases, this means that their session preparation could take up to 20 hours.

When it comes to resources for the therapy sessions (exercises, games, etc.), SLTs most commonly craft their own (67%), use Google (52%) or Teachers Pay Teachers (36%).

The process of preparing a session:

  • “check their target, their previous session notes, look for an existing teaching resource or prepare my own.”
  • “look back at previous notes and work out whether we need to continue/repeat what we're working on or move onto the next step. Then prep any resources needed.”
  • "Examine case history in detail. Plan objectives. Plan management ,Plan follow up”
  • “Typically, after getting familiar with the goals of the patient, I find or create an activity that is appropriate. I typically try to use themes in therapy to keep it functional and relevant to the client’s world outside of therapy.”
  • “I review the previous session note to see where they left off last session. I then see what level to target next or if the student requires more practice with their current level. I then think about what materials they would like / are relevant to the curriculum, but also engaging. I create a way to target his goals through the materials I pick. I prepare several activities to target their goals to help maintain engagement.”
  • “Ensure i have everything open on my screen that I need to screenshare, plus other options easily accessible in case I need them”
  • “Review previous notes. If doing a block, preparing step up step downs depending on progress. Printing. Laminating. Adapting sessions based on pupil that day - location, time, demand”

Almost all SLTs ask their patients to practice in between sessions (91%), however, most of them (60%) are not able to track their patients' progress in between sessions. This makes sense when combined with the high caseload and the wish for more time.

How do SLTs ask their patients to practice in between session:

  • “I email the parent resources and hope that they complete them between the session”
  • “Sometimes I send them links to online support, email or post resources”, “I usually send them a link to some materials or send them over through email the materials i have used with them during the session”. “Resources that you have used during the session”
  • “I give them sheets to work on”, “They take the resources I have made for them with them, “Handouts or instruction videos from me”
  • “take notes on anything that is wrong and to go into detail and dive into in our lessons”


Teletherapy offers therapy to patients online. Majority of SLTs (57%) have not used teletherapy over the past 12 months, which makes sense when combined with the fact that more than half of SLTs have reported working exclusively in person.

Those who have been using teletherapy over the past 12 months, have been mostly using Zoom (34%) and Microsoft Teams (30%).

Several of them have pointed out some good aspects to teletherapy:

  • playing games
  • scheduling and moving clients around
  • involving caregivers

However, overall, the SLTs report not being satisfied with teletherapy (average rating 5.9/10), stating the following reasons:

  • connection issues and DNAs
  • challenging with younger students
  • takes longer to make the resources
  • difficult for practicing social skills and speech sounds
  • child attention on screen

Not the main pain points: Calendar, Invoicing, and Payment

For scheduling, most SLTs use the calendar linked to their email (52%) or a notebook (31%). SLTs report being satisfied with their current booking system (average rating: 7.3/10).

Most SLTs don't personally invoice their patients. Rather, their management team/work does it for them (46%), or they use manual invoice (43%). Overall, SLTs are somewhat satisfied with their current invoicing system (average rating: 6.7/10).

Most SLTs process the payment online (43%), or their company/clinic does it for them (35%). They report being satisfied with their current payment set up (7.7/10).

More than half of SLTs get paid by their patient after providing Speech Therapy services (57%), of which most are paid 2 weeks to a month after (23%).

Around half of SLTs pay for subscriptions to support their practice (54%).

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