Post # 1
I noticed there are quite a few SLPs on this board…
I am currently doing “student teaching” for speech pathology, which lasts 16-weeks, and I’m halfway through. I’m at an elementary school, full-time, providing therapy under the supervision of the school’s SLP. (Not getting paid). If I do well, I will be able to apply for a position as a school-based SLP.
I’m struggling to come up with therapy plans, particularly for language. I also have trouble picking an activity based on the age group.
First, I look at the goal. Then, I start looking online for therapy plans to match it. Nothing ever seems “good enough” to me. I have trouble making up my mind about what to do. My other supervisor, who visits about every 2 weeks or less, said I need to “take more initiative,” and plan my own therapy rather than relying on my main supervisor.
SLPs, teachers, others: Did you have trouble coming up with lesson/therapy plans? Is it just me? Am I overthinking it?
Post # 3
I’m currently at a school for my SLP practicum. I love it! I had a hard time coming up with lesson plans at first (those language kiddos are tricky). However, once I got to know the kids, I was able to apply almost anything to the room to their specific needs. For example, on Thursday I was doing a pumpkin activity with some of my articulation kids. One of my language kids saw the pumpkins and wanted to do it. I modified the activity to fit his needs (direction following and sequencing) and it worked out wonderfully! I think the key is to get an activity first and then find ways to make any goal fit. If you try to work around the goal, it can sometimes get too specific. It is also a time saver to find an activity that you can do with multiple groups no matter the goals targeted.
I stay after school and go through all my supervisor’s materials and find things that interest me, then I modify them to fit various goals. I also look at pinterest for inspiration and change the activities to fit my specific kids. I found that when I’m getting really lost on where to go with a kid, I will informally reassess to determine the goal to focus on.
Hope that helped! Yay, SLPs!
Post # 4
Thank you so much for your response! I can see what you mean by hoow focusing on the goal can get to specific. Maybe that is why I am having so much trouble! Doing an informal reassessment is also a great idea.
There is so much to do as a school-based SLP! From assessments, to reports, to fluency, to language therapy. I guess I just get overwhelmed and stressed to the point that I have trouble thinking clearly. I end up wasting a lot of time worrying.
Anyway, thank you again for your advice!
I am looking forward to the day I get the hang of this job! Good luck with your practicum. 🙂
PS- Have you already done your graduate/ master’s coursework? I’ve only done undergraduate courses…
Post # 5
@manda21: I’m currently in a grad program for SLP, and just finished my language/phonology rotation. I think what helped the most with lesson planning are themes! I pick a theme, and then plan activities around each objective that closely match the theme. It makes learning easier and lesson planning simpler!
Post # 6
@busybee3791: Thanks for your response! Planning around a theme also sounds like a good idea! I’ll try it out this weekend when I’m writing my plans for next week. Thanks, and good luck with your program! 🙂
Post # 7
I am a school based SLP. There is a big push right now to correlate everything with the curriculum. Why not see what the students are doing in class and build off of that (like maybe use the same story/book, or something that goes along with the classroom unit theme). I also really like teacherspayteachers.com for lesson ideas.
It’s also much easier to plan bigger “units” that can stretch across multiple sessions than individual lessons. For example, maybe for thanksgiving I will do a thanksgiving theme. We will read a story about thanksgiving, sequence events in the story and use complete sentences to talk about character, setting, actions. Use transition and spatial words from the story. Compare and contrast between thematic words using charts (i.e. Chicken vs turkey, halloween/thankgiving, mashed potatoes vs sweet potatoes), do a following directions activity with a craft like hand turkeys, descriptor words for thanksgiving vocabulary, etc etc. And again, if you have difficulty thinking of themes, use the same ones as the classroom teachers! It’s great carryover.
Are there any specific goals you have difficulty planning for?
Post # 8
@manda21: SLP here. I worked in schools for a bit (1-2 yrs). I really like theme based units, dramatic play, and writing. Most of the things I did were centered around “whole language” ideas, rather than breaking up language into skills. We did toms of storytelling, writing and acting out with the younger kids (k-2nd). I tried to do academic things with my older language kids. Feel free to PM me if you need!
Post # 9
I’ve found some awesome apps for ipads. The kids really enjoy them and there are many that work direcly with goals. I’ve used them mainly for articulation. Some of the best session involve minimal equiptment. We play games like Sorry, Checkers, and Go Fish while working on articulation. For reading there’s some worksheets online and using the kids homework can be very helpful for them.
Post # 10
@hollyberry4: Thank you, you gave me some really great ideas to think about. I really like the idea of using whatever the classroom teacher is working on. I haven’t really observed any SLPs doing that, so I guess I’m just a little apprehensive about approaching the teachers. Part of it is feeling like I’m “just a student,” which I just need to get over, and start acting like the SLP… “fake it until you make it” and whatnot.
I also like your idea of planning “units.” It can be really overwhelming when I’m sitting down each week to come up with a new lesson for each student. So, planning out an entire unit would probably make my life a little easier.
I have one kid who is working on following directions, so I really liked your idea of doing a craft!
I have one 2nd grade kid whose goals are to “state associated labels given a picture, generate associated items given a verbal label, and generate items given a situation.” So far, we’ve used the “What Goes Together” App. We also had picture cards. For example, we lay out some pictures and ask something like “What would you see at the zoo.” But, I’m having difficulty coming up with more engaging/ interesting things for him to do. I had him name a few things that “go with” Halloween at our last session, which he could mostly do. But, then he struggles with naming fruits, even when given a description or drawing. Maybe I need to teach some vocabulary to him in the beginning of the session, then have him name it?
The other aspect I’m struggling with is how to change the lesson during the session if it turns out to be too easy or difficult…
Post # 11
@msmaddox: Thank you! You’ve given me a lot of things to think about and research! I may PM you about it after I do some ‘googling.’
Post # 12
@MrsN14: Thank you for your input. Sometimes, it so much easier to just have a few materials. It can be such a hassle to carry a bunch of things around, and clean them up. I also like your idea of using their homework. Thank you!
Post # 13
I’ve been a school based SLP for my entire career(only 5 years, but still). Other bees have great suggestions about seeing what the kiddos are doing in class and running with ideas from there. Also, planning bigger units was a life saver for me since I could use it for multiple groups and just work at each group’s pace.
Here are a couple of my favorite websites I relied heavily on as a new SLP.
i also paid for a 1 year membership to this site: http://www.edhelper.com they have literature units by reading level with al kinds of ready made activity sheets you can use and modify.
one tip I have for you, if you find some book or cards or other tool that you like, make COPIES. I shamelessly copied tons of stuff from my supervisors and materials I found at my various schools. Not exactly “legal” as far as copyrights go but as long as you’re not selling the stuff, it’s ok.
It it does get easier as time goes on, I promise. I made a ton of my own stuff the first couple of years that I still use today.
best of luck to you!
Post # 14
@MrsPaulsBabyBallerina: 5 years is still a good amount of time! I observed one SLP who has been working 5 years, and said she’s burned out, and plans to change careers.
Thank you for the websites. I’ve been to the speaking of speech site a couple of times, but I haven’t heard of those other ones! It’s great that we have the internet today, and all the resources that goes with it, but too many options can be overwhelming.
I’m so encouraged to hear that it does get easier. I’ve been feeling so discouraged lately, and wondering whether I picked the wrong career path.
Post # 15
@manda21: I can also tell you that it helps tremendously when you are the one responsible for writing the goals. I’ve worked at 7 different schools in 5 years (I always have multiple sites) and I cannot tell you how many times I’ve seen goals that I can’t figure out what they are targeting, let alone how to implement a therapy plan. But once you’re the one doing the goals, it does get easier.
I am a little burnt out at 5 years but I also worked with some very special populations: severe autism, emotional disturbances, medically fragile. Those kids are tough, especially the ED ones. I did a ton of behavior management and just documented everything to show I attempted to try. Working in a low income, low SES area also contributed to my burn out a bit but the stress of a child with a helicopter parent and a lawyer/advocate is no picnic either. I actually went back to the lower income area because I just didn’t like the crap that came with my high profile filled caseload.
i don’t mean to scare you off. I really do love the job especially because of the flexibility and how many different settings you can work in. I’m thinking of moving into pediatric outpatient for a private hospital once we move. you will find your niche. Just don’t get frustrated if it takes a little while.
Post # 16
Yeah, that makes sense that it will be easier when I’m writing the goals. It’s also easier when I’ve done the assessment and report myself. Then, I really have a handle on what the student needs. The SLP I observed also worked with some of the special populations. I can see how it would be very discouraging, especially if you are not making any progress.
Being a school-based SLP is certainly a challenging, stressful career. The amount of kids you are expected to assess, write reports, write goals, and provide therapy for is pretty overwhelming. I appreciate your honesty, because it helps give me a more realistic idea of what it will be like.
I’ve started to wonder if I would make a better Audiologist than SLP! Haha.
Like you said, the good thing is that you have other options if you are unhappy in a particular setting. I just would have to get my master’s degree first…
Good luck to you! I hope you’re able to get a position in that setting, and that you enjoy it. Thank you again.