Back-to-school quick tips for planning for speech therapy
When I pack up my stuff each May I write notes to myself in the third person telling myself what to do in the fall. It has become a routine that makes me laugh hysterically because May is typically so crazy that I don’t remember writing it. “This is your password.” “Planning for speech therapy? Your therapy planning binder is in your desk.” Basically, I have become my mother.
How to make planning for speech therapy easy.
We routinely have speech pathology grad students and CFs who work with us and need to know what to be planning for speech therapy before the kids arrive. What grad school didn’t tell them is that the first few weeks of school are pretty crazy and you have to find your students pretty quickly and get them up and running. Here are four quick steps to rapidly plan some therapy so that you can get to know your kids while still focusing on the curriculum and addressing their goals.
Find out the weekly classroom themes
Aligning intervention themes with classroom topics increases exposure and use of vocabulary. It also provides a framework in which students can practice their new language skills. Identifying the current academic topic (e.g. oceans) dramatically reduces speech therapy planning because the teachers tend to have materials and books ready for us to copy from and use.
Go to the library and check out books on the topic
Using books to highlight a topic can empower students by giving them experience with the topic prior to practicing the skills that you are hoping for them to gain. Gather both fiction and non-fiction books about the theme/topic. Books provide vast numbers of pictures, references, and situations.
Copy an activity page for each student
Either Google the TOPIC + WORKSHEET or borrow something from the classroom teacher. Adapt the vocabulary or questions to the student’s goals. Communication growth is stimulated by carryover into the classroom, reviewing of vocabulary, and shared participation by a student’s teacher and parents.
Cut/color/copy materials needed for each session
While planning for speech therapy at this time of the year, make sure your sessions are designed for fast assembly and distribution. Gather the materials needed and make the minimal preparations. Better yet, have your students gather and prepare their own materials and bolster their receptive communication by following directions!