Speech Therapy Inclusion – Benefits of Working in the Classroom

Less than 30% of speech pathologists do speech therapy inclusion. Yet, classroom based therapy gives us the opportunity to:

  • Improve our relationships with teachers
  • Have our therapy directly map onto academic goals
  • Reduce our therapy planning by using the content and materials that teachers are developing each week

But how can we successfully make the transition from independent group therapy to reaping the rewards of collaborating with speech therapy inclusion?

6 Models for co-teaching in Speech Therapy Inclusion

Let’s talk about the 6 models for co-teaching to show how speech and language intervention can overlap with academic needs.

One Teaches – One Observes

The one teaches – one observes model is the most commonly reported model used by SLPs but also the least effective. We do gain information on what is going on in the classroom, but we don’t directly have an impact.

One Teaches – One Assists

The One Teaches – One Assists model is successful in one-on-one cases and is most prevalent with assistant teachers helping out in the classroom. We can see directly where the child is struggling and supply support to successfully complete lessons.

Parallel Teach

In Parallel Teach, we don’t split the content but we split the class in half. This allows you to interact with the children who need more attention.

Station Teaching

In Station Teaching, you DO split the content. The teacher and SLP both do different things and then rotate through the students.

Alternative Teaching

Alternative Teaching is what we see most often with special education assistants. The teacher is teaching the main group and you pull a small group aside that needs specific instruction.

Team Teaching

The ultimate of all of these co-teaching models, is Team Teaching. The SLP and teacher go back and forth. Each adds something to the lesson as it is presented. This works great when the SLP is presenting a language rich book or lesson, and the teacher, who knows the students, can raise and lower the expectations of each child’s response and work.

Start at the level that is most comfortable for you, and move up the spectrum. Co-teaching and specifically team-teaching, give us the opportunity to influence writing, influence language and narrative development, pronunciation, and address the Core Curriculum.

Language is our super power and the better we are able to understand the requirements being put upon our students, the better we can help them excel.

Speech Therapy InclusionIf you want to learn more about this topic and want CEUs, check out our course: Breaking into the Classroom, Service Delivery in the Schools.

Written by: Scott Prath

8 Comments on “Speech Therapy Inclusion – Benefits of Working in the Classroom”

  1. October 19, 2017 at 8:20 pm #

    I was a school based SLP FOR 40 years where for the last 15 years of my carreer I did a combination of both SERVICE DELIVERY in the classroom as well as pullout therapy. I was able to develop a rapport with my colleagues where we were able to co teach across the curriculum. This affords the opportunity for the SLP to witness student oral presentations, assist in writing & classroom participation.

    • October 21, 2017 at 8:43 am #

      This is awesome and totally true. We hope that new professionals move these strategies into their day earlier in their career!

  2. October 3, 2018 at 9:06 pm #

    Do you have any suggestions for good articles that discuss providing push-in services? Our district is on an inclusion kick and is trying to make amendments to EVERY students IEP, changing ALL services to push-in. I have tried to express my concerns that a cookie-cutter method is not best practice, and that least-restrictive environment does not always mean push-in for EVERYONE! Any helpful articles would be appreciated 🙂

    • October 4, 2018 at 9:39 am #

      Hi Katy,
      Great question. There are a ton of benefits to an inclusion model but I would agree with you that it is not a one-size-fits-all solution. My experience is that districts have difficulty moving the needle on certain issues and it is ALL-IN or NOTHING. As an example, some districts mandate a certain amount of time for every student. If some students need more or less it is not considered. We (SLPs) have a role to play in this too. It is pretty new to our field and a lot of speech pathologists are resistant to change. Therefore, the districts have to resort to using a blunt instrument like and ALL-IN strategy to make any change. I would suggest that you go the other way and designate NOTHING as place of service or tack this on to each student “…to be seen in speech therapy session or in the classroom.” Speech therapy is already coded (00 in Texas) not like the other special ed minutes of having time away so if your district has some leniency it would make a lot of sense to not dictate across the board.

      I have seen groups make this change successfully and poorly. The successful ones use education to share the benefits of inclusion…in certain circumstances. And share when it works great. Here is a powerpoint by a huge educational service center.

      Also know that I just spoke to ASHA last week and they are developing coursework to help us navigate this better. If you want my honest opinion, I think the way forward is Curriculum-based Intervention. This is a hybrid approach where speech therapy is conducted using the classroom themes and materials. This is really what everyone is after: Does my therapy affect the larger goals of helping a child get educated? There is a CEU course on how to do this.
      Thanks for the comment! Scott

  3. Dave Anderson February 4, 2019 at 5:52 pm #

    It would be nice to have my son put into a speech therapy class where he would get more attention. This way, he could learn to speak with proper pronunciation before he starts going to school. That is something I would want to have so he would feel comfortable talking with the other kids.

  4. Ellie Davis February 13, 2019 at 7:41 pm #

    Thank you for pointing out that one on one therapy is very helpful. My daughter struggles to speak and I want to find her the best specialist possible. I’ll have to do some research and find a great speech pathologist in my area.

  5. Thomas Westgren October 11, 2019 at 11:04 am #

    It’s nice how you said that doing a split classroom activity with a speech therapist is a good way to interact with the kids because you get to work with half the class. This would also be nice because you could talk with one another afterward and make any coordination necessary. That way you are able to better communicate and plan according to your students’ needs.

    • November 15, 2019 at 1:07 pm #

      I think your point is especially valid when children have language goals as part of their special education services. If we know what is going on in the classroom – what books they are reading, what topics they are discussing, what field trips they are taking, we can help them get ahead with language and academics simultaneously.

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