5 Steps to Easy Referrals

Referral season is an SLP’s favorite time of year, right?! It can be overwhelming to manage the seemingly never-ending stream of speech therapy referrals.

The good news is: It doesn’t have to be a painful process!

I’m now able to address referrals more efficiently. I don’t waste as much time running around trying to gather all of the pieces!

Let’s take a tour of the five-step system that helped me decrease the overwhelm!

1. Document the Steps

Before you dive in, take a minute to inventory the process. Here’s an example of what your process might look like:

  1. Teacher requests referral and fills out form (including parent permission).
  2. SLP receives form.
  3. SLP requests additional information, as needed.
  4. SLP schedules screening.
  5. SLP fills out screening results form and shares with the team.
  6. SLP shares results with the team and makes recommendations. (Is further intervention warranted?)
  7. SLP follows up as needed.

This could be a great step to tackle with a team of SLPs in your district! This is a great way to clear up any confusion, to share resources, and to streamline the process.

2. Gather Your Forms

Given the example process, we need…

  • Teacher input form
  • Parent permission form
  • Screening results form

Make a few copies of your forms. You’ll need these for Step 3!

You might also want a general tracking sheet to enter your students’ names and to keep track of due dates.

You might also consider going digital! Felice from the Dabbling Speechie has a great blog post on how she uses Google Forms!

3. Get Organized!

I love using this file box and some colorful file folders (affiliate links)!

I use washi tape to label the folders. (Thanks to Rachel from Let’s Talk Speech Therapy for the tip!)

I’ve also used a binder in the past, and that worked really well, too! I use sheet protectors to keep track of the students’ forms.

I use the three sections to keep track of where my referrals are!

1. New
2. In Process
3. Follow Up

If I don’t need to follow up with a referral, I archive it in my file cabinet.

I also set up folders for blank referral sheets and screening results and keep them in the appropriate section.

4. Share the Process

For the process to work, you need to share it with your team!

One of the most effective ways to share is to do a quick presentation at a staff meeting. You can also share a handout and/or e-mail with your teachers.

This is also a great time to share what makes a GOOD referral. Providing some education up front can prevent teachers from making inappropriate referrals.

I promise this is worth the time! It makes the process so much easier if everyone is on the same page and knows what to expect!

5. Keep Track

I try my best to keep my folder system up to date. I do run through all of the folders at least once or twice a month to make sure I process new referrals in a timely manner and follow up as needed.

Do you have any strategies that help you “work smarter” when it comes to speech therapy referrals? Be sure share you tips and suggestions in the comments!


Hi there! I'm Marisha. I am a school-based SLP who is all about working smarter, not harder. I created the SLP Now Membership and love sharing tips and tricks to help you save time so you can focus on what matters most--your students AND yourself.

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