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In this week’s episode of the SLP Now podcast, I break down my therapy planning!
– You already have a solid session routine, a set of core materials, and a data collection plan.
– Now we get to plug in a few more details!
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Speaker 1: What can we do to streamline our therapy planning and make sure that it's something that doesn't take over our lives and that we can achieve that awesome ideal of maybe just spending a couple of minutes a week prepping everything? So, can you do a quick recap of what we've already done? We have a general structure or routine for our sessions. We know what skills we're going to target. And then we have the materials to target those skills.
And that includes the visuals. So, just different visual supports to break down skills for students, even if they're posters that we just drew ourselves, that is totally perfect. And then we also have the data to support and show us where our students are. And we have these amazing therapy strategies just tucked away in our pocket, ready to use whenever we need them. So, all that's left to do is to figure out the when and the how.
So, the timing of the different skills, like when we're going to target following directions versus all the grammar goals and then how we're going to do it. So, what context are we going to use? And so, we'll talk about some different ways to put that together. So, I just wanted to share a quick example of what this might look like in action. So, I'm just going to open up one of my units super quickly here. So, that's just because it's... Let's see. August. So, we're going to look for the August unit. So, we'll look at if you take a mouse to school. So, in terms of what whole unit might look like.
So, I know that my students are working on following directions, all their different grammar goals and then I just need to structure it and put it all together. So, what that would look like, I make these cheat sheets because it just helps me manage my brain and put everything together. But I really like using a literacy-based therapy framework and there's some awesome courses and podcast episodes that breakdown this in much more detail. This is going to be a quick two minutes super fast overview of what that looks like.
But for the five step literacy-based therapy framework, the first thing that we do is break down the pre-story knowledge activation. So, if our students are in kindergarten, they haven't been to school, they might be missing a lot of that pre-story knowledge about being in school. So, we can talk about what we do on the first day of school, we can take a virtual field trip, we can walk around their classroom and talk about the different parts of the school.
We might look at the book and look at the cover and look at some of the pages and talk about what we think might happen and seeing where the students are and then also just providing some scaffolding and support. So, even though this may seem like a fluffy activity, we're using our clinician tools to really to set our students up for success and using those evidence-based strategies of like recasting and providing models and all of that.
So, we're still targeting all of these goals even though we don't have a specific grammar drill sitting in front of us. But arguably, this can be more effective and work better towards generalization. So, if you haven't tried it, I'd highly recommend it because it has changed my therapy. So, that's what we would do for step one. And then I typically just print out one of these organizers and this is what I use for a whole month of therapy.
And it definitely depends on the group, like this won't last as long if there's just one student in a group versus if it's a group of four students with four completely different goals, each will have a lot more to target. But I think even if it takes a longer time, I think it's still an incredibly meaningful activity. So, I would just jot down what I want to work on. So, for pre-story knowledge activation, the activities I might use are like a YouTube video, we might plan a scavenger hunt around the school, we might do a book walk and look at the book. Those are the activities.
Then shared meeting. We'd read the story and then post story comprehension. I would use the comprehension questions listed here or if you don't have this, you can come up with your own. And then, there's also different visual supports that we can use and pull if the students need those. And then for step four, we'll do some focus skill activities. So, this is the part that is a little bit overwhelming because if you have four students working on four different goals, that's a lot to manage.
And so, a couple strategies that I like to use is just break it down, list the skills that you want to target and identify the targets in the books so you know what you're looking for. Oh, something interesting. Okay. So, then, I would break down the targets so that I know what we're going to work on. And then another thing that I can do is think of... So, once I have that, I can think of different that I can use to target multiple skills at the same time.
So, some things that we can do are like if one student is working on describing, okay, awesome, let's describe some of the items in the book. But if another student is working on pronouns or past tense verbs or whatever grammatical structure, when we're describing things, we're producing sentences that include grammatical structures. So, if you're using language-rich activities, it's really easy to target a variety of skills.
Like one student might be working on describing in general and another student might be working on just naming categories, it's a sub skill of the describing. So, that's really easy to work on together or in conjunction. So, I come up with a bunch of different activities that will give us the opportunity to target those different skills. And sometimes it's a little bit of a juggling act and this is how it becomes the art.
So, we get to navigate like how much time we spend teaching versus the contextualize activities and how we move between those. But even we spend... If Johnny is just learning about categories and it's a new skill for him, we're pulling out the categories, visuals, we're doing some different activities like sorting objects or whatever it may be. That's still a useful activity for the other students in the group.
We still get to recast their grammar. We get to provide grammar or vocabulary instruction all along in the activity. And it can be a cool way for students to demonstrate their skills and show what they know. So, that's how that works. And for the last step, it's the parallel story. So, this is where the students get to create their own story and really integrate all of the skills that we've worked on. So, a lot of these steps take... Especially the focus skill activities, we can spend several sessions really breaking that down.
But the cool thing is, if you map out what you want to do across these steps, you have activities to last you like a whole month of therapy and then you just can keep track of how you're moving through the different activities and you can reuse this across multiple groups too. So, it takes me a couple of minutes to fill this out. I use it for the whole month and can you just tailor it to the group using the strategies that are in my head and some handy visuals. And that's all I need when it comes to planning. So, that's what that looks.
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