What’s important at your school?

September 19, 2011
Kira Wright, CCC-SLP

This is the first in a series of posts on therapy ideas to support assistants (SLPAs) and paraprofessionals in the schools in their work with students and their supervising SLPs.

Does your school have a simple set of rules posted in the hallways or by the entry? Do your students have classroom rules posted? Maybe you have rules posted in your therapy space! Chances are, these rules include words like “responsible”, “respect”, “yourself and others”, “always”, “when”, “if”, “all” – it’s a therapy session waiting to happen! With a little planning, a wide variety of goals can be addressed through a review of classroom expectations or school rules:

1) Review the goal areas of your students

  • Students with artic goals can find their target sounds in the rules or related rules – producing them in isolation, within the word or related words, or creating their own sentences!
  • Students with language goals might need to discuss the meaning of words or rules, or how to apply them – have the group come up with examples, think of other ways or other contexts where you could use the same words.
    • Older students could identify the roots and use them to make other words (safe: safety, safely, what is ‘safe’ as a noun?) Can they rephrase the rule? Explain it to someone else?

2) Bring a poster or printout of the rules to your therapy table

  • Create some print-outs of the rules, larger than life if possible! You can support carry-over by using the same format/color/layout as the rules that are posted in the hallways or classrooms. Imagine next time they see the poster in the hallway and think of their speech/language therapy!
  • Arm your students with highlighters, markers, sticky notes, etc. Have them find their target sounds, underline words they don’t know, draw pictures next to words (or within the words!) to make associations and clarify meaning. Could they redesign the poster to make it easier to understand? Or easier for everyone to remember?

3) Reap the fruits of your efforts

  • Hang your posters in your therapy space. Not only does this showcase the hard work your students did, these are rules and concepts you’ll be referencing frequently – support their comprehension by using their own explanations and associations!

SLPAs and paraprofessionals should always operate within the scope defined by state and national licensing organizations and should only conduct allowable tasks under the supervision of a speech-language pathologist.