Organized SLP

My Bag as a Traveling Speech Pathologist

If I have learned anything over the past 10 years as a home health speech pathologist, it’s that there is no perfect bag. About the time I think I have the “perfect SLP bag,” I find 10 flaws. The truth is when you are in and out of a vehicle as much as I am, you end up needing an assortment of bags.

When I started out as a traveling therapist, I had this huge canvas bag my Mom got me for Christmas from Land’s End. I loved that bag. It was huge. I joked with a little girl I saw that I could fit her in it! One day, I had a doctor’s appointment so I loaded my bag up to keep myself busy. The nurse weighed my bag that day. The bag weighed around 25 lbs. Then I got a lecture in lightening my load by my doctor. (He’s very aware of highly motivated and driven I am.) After that, I started switching bags up to best suite my load. I tried a scrapbook bag on wheels for a while in the fall. That thing got really heavy lugging it up stairs all week. Then I switched to a rolling backpack for a bit. But I broke a strap!

What bag do I use know?

I am sure that is your burning question now. I actually use a small suitcase now! I see anywhere from 10-12 kids a day. Day cares, private schools, Montessori schools and homes are the main settings I see my clients in. Typically, every 45 minutes I am in a different location. In case math is not your thing, my bag is loaded/unloaded a minimum of 20 times a day.

I found this small suitcase at Target for around $45. I don’t like to spend that much money on bags. But this one was much needed! I actually found another one that I liked but it was $80. That was a little too much for me. It was advertised as a carry-on that can fit under the airplane seat! This one has one side pocket and one front zipper pocket. That means I have to be restrictive in what goes in those easy access pockets. My crayon box, stickers and a pen are on the side. My phone can easily slip in there too. In the front zipper pocket, little things like a popper toy, a light up dice or a wind up toy can go in there.

In the main part of the bag, I have my client folders for the day, pictures books, data spiral, zipper bag (with glue, scissors, and a mini stapler) and IPad. On craft day, I can fit my craft box in there too. There are 2 zipper pockets on the inside flap. These pockets house the paint dauber for the week, a couple of markers, windup toy, and a stamp.

If I need any other toys, I have another small bag that I can use to carry them. Typically, every toy I need gets packed into that bag and loaded into the car. (There’s a later post coming on the organization of my car.) For the majority of time, I can unload my bag, pull the handle up and wheel my bag around. It is so much easier. If I need to carry it, the bag is not too heavy. I’ve downsized so I am only carrying the things I actually need! So much easier that way. By carrying less things, I have simplified my therapy too. Now I am not hunting through bins and folders to find “that” activity. It’s either right in front of me or I figured I did not need it.

What kind of bag do you use?

2 thoughts on “My Bag as a Traveling Speech Pathologist”

  1. Thanks for sharing! Could you post pictures of the organization in your different areas of the bag?
    I also have a small briefcase and I am struggling in finding ways to stay organized within the slots.

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