Prepping for a Sub: A Therapist's Point of View

Subbing is my favorite. I’ve subbed more times than I can count, filling in short term assignments of every variety and length across my state and across diverse settings. I made my living covering 60+ hours a week in up to 5 buildings a day for about three years.  I even subbed for an SLP who was covering for another SLP on her maternity leave, when the sub had her baby on MY due date! It was nuts in the best way. 

But when we started our family, I started needing a sub myself and I learned just how hard it can be to put together what someone helping out might really need. Pulling from my experience of being the sub and how it taught me what I needed to efficiently get in and hit the ground running, I have compiled a list of must haves(and things you can pass on) to get you started planning for your next sub.

Bare-bones essentials: for when you didn’t know you needed a sub until… you needed a sub.

  1. Way to get in the building and workspace/files
  2. Who to contact for computer, email, IEP/Billing access and BIG immediate issues
  3. Accurate caseload
  4. Way to take attendance/data 
  5. School/Class Schedules
  6. Emergency plans (fire, tornado, earthquake… you know the drill, but they don’t!)

Next level extras:

  1. Any current attendance/session data
  2. Current ratios for support staff, if they are a factor (e.g. SLP-A has seen “Emilie” 2/6 sessions this quarter).
  3. Who does what and how to contact them staff list
  4. List of treatment minutes completed (unless it’s already in your attendance data/Billing)
  5. Treatment and meeting schedule with room numbers and teacher names
  6. List of current evaluations, meetings, move ins, drama that is in progress or imminent. 


  1. Completing paperwork/IEP meetings in advance.
  2. Notes on each student’s preferences.
  3. No brainer activities and other recognizably “quick grab” supplies at the ready.
  4. Get a chat in with your sub to know their personal style/needs. Will they feel supported or micromanaged with individual lesson plans?

That is it. No Pinterest worthy binder, though, those are CUTE and can get you started.



Author: Amanda Owens, MA, CCC-SLP

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Disclaimer: The information provided in this blog is for general informational purposes only and should not be considered as professional advice. The content is based on the author's personal experiences, research, and opinions. It is always recommended to consult with a qualified professional or expert before making any decisions or taking action based on the information provided in this blog.

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