It can be difficult to get a lot of bang for your buck when providing speech therapy services for as little as 15-30 minute sessions in the school setting. Sometime students show up late or lack motivation to get started. Sometimes they are excited to be out the class and act silly or get off topic. Here are 4 tips to make the most of speech therapy time.
Tip #1: Make The Walk to Speech a Part of Speech Therapy Time
A great way to make the most of speech therapy time is to pick up your students from class or walk them back to class. This is a great opportunity to work on social communication, expressive and receptive language, and even articulation as you engage your students in casual conversation. To target articulation make a game out of finding everything on the way to speech that has a target speech sound in it. For example, say “Let’s see who can find the most things that have an “r” in it on the way to class! I see the restroom. What do you see?” Model good social communication skills by greeting the students and engaging in back-in-forth conversation. While doing this you are also targeting receptive and expressive language skills.
Tip #2: Hold the Students Accountable for Knowing Their Speech Goals
I start every speech therapy session by asking each student “What are you working on in speech?” When the students know their goals and why they are at speech therapy it reduces the amount of questions and explanations throughout the session. When they know their goals speech therapy time is better utilized and the session can get started quicker. This is also a benefit because it gives the students a sense of responsibility in meeting their speech therapy goals.
Tip #3: Buddy Up!
Speech therapy groups can get pretty big, especially in the public school setting. Have the students pair up and work on their goals with each other while you work one-on-one with whoever’s turn it is. Students enjoy quizzing each other with articulation cards or WH-questions. Having students sit quietly while they wait for their turn is a waste of precious speech therapy time. The SLPs job is to get them to talk not to be silent after all! No partner? No Problem! In your smaller two person groups have the student whose turn it isn’t work independently on a hand-out that targets his/her goal.
Click here for a fun activity that students can work on together and it can be used to target a variety of goals.
Tip #4: Have A Plan to Make the Most of Speech Therapy Time
A lot of SLPs are so busy that we tend to fly by the seat of our pants. This approach often wastes a lot of speech therapy time. Always have a plan! A plan does not need to be anything elaborate. It doesn’t even need to be written out if that’s not your style, but know what activities you are going to do with your speech groups that day. Picking one or two games, printouts, activities, or books to use for the day (or week) can really help to utilize the entire speech therapy time. When a plan is in place you aren’t rummaging through the file cabinet or game cupboard. Have everything out and ready to go at the beginning of the day. For the days that you are behind or something comes up, have a grab and go file set up with printouts of easy speech therapy tasks.
Click here to check out some winter craft ideas from Michelle. These could easily be incorporated into speech therapy time.