Listen on Apple Podcasts Listen on Spotify

Stress-Free Monthly Therapy Planning for SLPs

In this episode of the SLP Now podcast, Marisha delves into the process she uses to plan a month’s worth of speech therapy sessions. Her goal: to simplify the planning process for SLPs, and make it less daunting.

Let’s dive in and talk about therapy plans for February!

Quick Probes and Visuals: Simplifying with SLP Now

To kick things off, Marisha pulls together the probes and visuals that she needs to target her students’ goals.

Because she uses SLP Now, Marisha takes advantage of a handy feature that allows you to administer present level assessments, helps you to identify goals for your students, then automagically links goals to relevant assessments, visuals, and teaching activities. ✨

If you’re not a member of SLP Now, you can manually gather your assessments and visuals — or use whichever tool you prefer! The point is that you have the materials that you need gathered in advance instead of scrambling for them right before a session.

💡In SLP Now, we’ve built a tool to make it easy for you to create your assessment binder and visuals binder. If you sign up for a trial of SLP Now, you get that tool as part of your onboarding — so make sure you check it out!

Once those materials are assembled, your bases are covered for assessing and teaching your students’ goals. Check and check!

Next up is…

Segmentation: Adding Variety to Speech Therapy

Marisha advocates for segmenting the caseload into manageable chunks instead of trying to tackle every individual case on its own. This makes it easier to wrap your head around therapy planning, and identify a context to practice the skills.

She stresses the importance of using your clinical judgment — because you know your caseload best — and reminds listeners that each session will still be tailored to the goals and needs of each student.

Marisha gives examples using a caseload that spans preschool through sixth grade. She decides to use a play-based unit for her preschoolers, a picture book for the K-2 students, and a science experiment for the students in grades 3-6.

If you’re overwhelmed, segmenting your caseload simplifies the planning process, gives context to practice skills, and helps you add variety to speech therapy sessions without planning 5 million activities. 💃

Now that we gathered our essential materials and segmented our caseload, it’s time for…

The Magic: Unveiling Your Therapy Plans

When it comes to planning a month of therapy, the materials you need are just a couple clicks away thanks to SLP Now’s search and filter features — and in this episode, Marisha walks you through the exact process she uses to pull up the plans she needs.

SLP Now’s pre-made therapy plans are Marisha’s (not so) secret weapon.

The first step is to log in to SLP Now, then head to the therapy plan page and find the sidebar that lets you create filters for your search — like theme, age, targets, and more.

For the preschoolers, Marisha chooses some early language books she’d like to use, then sets a filter for play-based units. She decides to go with a transportation theme, and the book “The Little Blue Truck” shows up in the results.

Then… PRESTO PLANS-O — Marisha clicks a button to open the plans. There, she finds a month’s worth of activities, including suggested targets and linked related teaching materials like visuals and interactive decks. One more click adds the plans to her favorites for easy access all month long, and that’s it for the first segment of her caseload!

Whenever Marisha needs to access plans for her preschool groups, she can click into that unit and find everything she needs. Easy breezy SLPeasy! 💅

She repeats the process for her K-2 and 3-6 students, using “The Day it Rained Hearts” and a lava lamp science experiment for those groups. Each time, she finds a month’s worth of activities plus all the resources she needs to implement the therapy and target a wide range of goals.

Structuring Speech Therapy Sessions: Where The Magic Unfolds

Transitioning to actual sessions, Marisha outlines the steps – goal review, quick probes, teaching, and practicing within the chosen activity’s context.

💡For more about how to structure a speech session, check out episode 158

Because you’ve been planning ahead, you should have the assessments you need ready to go at the start of the session — and with SLP Now, you can link the relevant tools and materials to your students’ profiles so they’re super easy to find.

The first thing students do when they walk into the session is grab their goal cards and review their goals. While they do that, Marisha will pull up her probes, select one goal per student, and run through a probe for each student quickly. She uses the data collected from that probe to inform the structure of the rest of the session.

💡To learn more about quick and efficient data collection, check out episode 159.

Once Marisha has given the appropriate level of teaching, she dives into the first set of activities — which are designed to target all of her students’ goals — and then practices the goals in context.

Remember: Speech therapy is a very dynamic process. If your student is struggling with the practice component, you can always go back to teaching as needed! The goal is to meet our students where they’re at.

Rinse and Repeat: Consistency is the Key

This process is repeated throughout the month, bringing a sense of routine and structure to the planning and the execution. Marisha has observed that students thrive on this systemized approach, allowing them to focus on their goals with a clear understanding of what to expect.

And there you have it!

Planning a month’s worth of therapy doesn’t have to be a daunting task. With the right tools and structured planning, it becomes a stress-free and effective process.

Until next time, happy planning, SLP superheroes! 🚀✨

Links + Resources Mentioned

Sign up for a free trial of SLP Now
Episode 163: 3 Steps to Easily Plan Your Speech Therapy Sessions
Episode 158: How to structure a speech therapy session
Episode 159: Tips to streamline your data collection as an SLP

Subscribe

Subscribe to the SLP Now podcast and stay tuned for our next series. We’re kicking off September by helping you get your data collection, paperwork, and therapy planning processes in tip-top shape! 💪

Listen to The SLP Now Podcast on AppleSpotifyGoogle  ★ StitcherCastbox or wherever you listen to podcasts.

Transcript

Marisha Mets:
Hello there, and welcome to the SLP Now podcast, where we share practical therapy tips and ideas for busy speech-language pathologists. Grab your favorite beverage and sit back as we dive into this week's episode.
Hey there, it's Marisha, and today we are going to put all of the things that we've talked about over the last few episodes and put them into practice and share what my planning process would look like if I had a preschool through sixth grade caseload planning for the month of February. In the previous episode, 163, we talked about three tips for easy therapy planning. So we talked about splitting your caseload into segments using pre-made therapy plans and then gathering the essentials. So just to recap what that would look like for my February plans, I would just want to make sure that I have quick probes and visuals ready to go for all of my students' goals.
And SLP Now makes that incredibly easy. We have a feature where you can administer Present Levels assessments to your students, and this helps you identify goals for your students. All of those goals already have probes/assessments linked to them, as well as visuals and teaching activities, as well as structured practice, all of the things. So if you're using SLP Now, that whole process is incredibly simple and easy and pretty much done for you. If you're not, you can still implement this, it's just a little bit more manual because you'll be working on gathering your assessments for your students as well as their visuals. And we've built a tool to make it easy for you to build your assessment binder as well as your visual binder. And if you sign up for a free trial of SLP Now, that is one of your welcome onboarding tools, so definitely go check that out.
We're making sure that we have all of the basic materials that we need, so we've got our bases covered in terms of what we need to assess and teach our students' goals. So we're good to go. Got that. Check. Then the next step is to split my caseload into segments. So let's say I'm working with preschool through sixth grade. I may decide to split my caseload. I'm just going to give one example, but use your clinical judgment for your caseload. You know your caseload best, so just that caveat. But let's say I am planning to use a play-based unit for my preschool students. I'd like to use a picture book for my K-2 students, and then for my third through sixth graders, I'd like to use a science experiment.
So I have split my caseload into segments, that make sense. And as you're looking at a group, just because you've set the segment doesn't mean you can't change up the activity. But the purpose of splitting our caseload into segments is just to make it a little bit easier to wrap our head around therapy planning. And I mentioned this in the episode, but if you're feeling overwhelmed, just make those segments. Use that as your guideline for beginning your therapy. The segments, they help you identify a context to practice your students' skills.
Because we gathered all of our essential materials ahead of time, we have our probes/assessments as well as our visuals and teaching tools. Every single session is going to be individualized for every single student. We're still going to be targeting the goals that they need. The segments just help make it easier to identify that context, and then we're not planning five million different activities for our caseload. We make sure we have the essentials, and then we grab the context.
So we've split our caseload into segments. We know we want a play-based unit, a picture book, and a science experiment. In episode 159, I recommended using SLP Now for the pre-made therapy plans. So I would go onto the therapy plan page inside the SLP Now site. There's a sidebar that lets you filter. So I would just start by filtering for the play-based units. So I would just grab the early language books, I think, are what I would like to use. And then if I want it to be seasonal, I can select a specific month, or I can try and connect with whatever they're working on in the preschool classroom. So let's say they're doing a transportation theme. So I'm looking through the books. I can filter by transportation in the sidebar, and then if I just scroll through the list of all of our early language books, Little Blue Truck shows up, and that's tagged as a transportation book. So I can click into that unit, and then I would just add it to my favorites so that I have easy access.
So those are my plans for my preschool groups, and I can click back into the plan. It gives me activity ideas for a whole month of therapy. It analyzes the book and tells me all of the targets that I can work on, and there's teaching materials linked for each target as well. And then there's a bunch of materials that I can use, like interactive decks and visuals and all sorts of things that I can use. So those are my plans for February. They're saved to my account, we're ready to go. So then next I would look for a picture book, and let's just look at the books for February. If there is a specific skill that I know a lot of my students are working on, I can use the sidebar to filter for specific skills. Or if it's an election year, I might want to do something more election-based or whatnot.
So let's just go with The Day It Rained Hearts because it'll be Valentine's Day, and then we can do some work. It'll be relevant leading up to Valentine's Day, and then we can wrap up the month with our parallel stories and all of that, talking about things that happened on Valentine's Day. So I, again, can click into that unit. I'll just add it to my favorites so that I can remember that's the one that I picked. And then again, it has tons of activity ideas that I can just click and grab for the whole month. It analyzes the book for all of the targets, and there are a handful of materials linked that I can just, again, click and grab, or I can print and prep ahead of time. But that is my planning for my second segment of my caseload.
And then I'll do the same thing. I decided I wanted to do a science experiment for my older students, so I searched for a science experiment in the therapy plans. Then I get to pick which one I want to use. So the one that's standing out to me right now is making a lava lamp. And so when I click into that therapy plan, again, I'm going to add it to my favorites so it shows up in my list every time. Again, it has activities and suggestions for the whole month of therapy. It breaks down all of the targets. And then there's a video of me actually conducting the experiment. There's also steps to actually implement the experiment and tons of supplementary activities to target a wide range of goals. And so that, again, is all of my therapy prepped just with one click for my older students' caseload segment, and I'm ready to go with them.
And then in terms of what the actual sessions look like, we talked about this in episode 158 on how to structure a speech therapy session. So I'll give an example of just one of the groups. So let's stick with the older group, the third through sixth graders. So I have their assessments ready to go, and I have them just linked to their accounts in SLP Now, so they're easy to grab. Then I also have my visuals and teaching tools organized, ready to go, easy to grab for my therapy table, and I have my therapy plans all loaded into the app, or maybe I have some things printed off, but that is the overall setup and what I have.
So then let's say it's the first session in February. The students walk in the door. The first thing that they'll do is they'll grab their goal cards, because that's part of their routine. They'll review their goals. As they're reviewing their goals, I'm going to pull up those quick probes, and I'll select one goal per student and run through a probe for each student super quickly, and then I will use that data to decide how I'm going to structure the rest of the session. So we talked about this a lot in the data collection episode, which is episode 159. If you want more details on the structure, I don't want this episode to get too too long, but I will use the data that I collected to determine which students need teaching on a specific goal before we dive into context.
And then once I give the appropriate level of teaching, then we'll dive into the first set of activities for the experiment. And so it involves more executive functioning, sequencing types of things. It's, again, a very language-rich activity, so I can use that. It'll give me plenty of opportunities to target all of my students' goals within that activity. So we spend as much time as we need practicing our goals in context. I started this session with some assessment, then I do some teaching, then we move into practice. And if we're really struggling with the practice side of things, we can always move back to teaching, and it's a very dynamic process.
But then at the end of the session, we'll wrap things up, and then I would just document in SLP Now super quick how the session went and which supports the student needed. And then I can check off which steps we completed out of the plan, and so when the students walk in next time, we kind of rinse and repeat. We'll rotate through to another goal, and we will then continue on to the next step in the experiment unit. And then again, we just continue to rinse and repeat throughout the whole month.
And this whole process makes for really easy therapy planning. It provides the students with some nice consistency and structure so they know what to expect. And because they're not having to figure out all of the details of what's happening in the session, and this is my hypothesis or my observation just from personal experience, but I find that students have a little bit more cognitive capacity and they're able to use a little bit higher level language and step up a little bit more in their goals because they're not having to figure out all of the things. They know what to expect, and they're able to allocate lots of resources to just doing the best that they can with their goals.
And so that is a wrap on how I would navigate my February therapy planning. I hope that this was helpful, and I hope that it helps you feel relieved that it doesn't have to be a very difficult and time-consuming process. I could have done all of my planning in the duration of this episode, maybe even less. And so that's a wrap on this week, and we'll see you next time.
Thanks for listening to the SLP Now podcast. If you enjoyed this episode, please share with your SLP friends, and don't forget to subscribe to the podcast to get the latest episode sent directly to you. See you next time.

 

marisha-mets-about-mobile

Hi there! I'm Marisha. I am a school-based SLP who is all about working smarter, not harder. I created the SLP Now Membership and love sharing tips and tricks to help you save time so you can focus on what matters most--your students AND yourself.

Reader Interactions

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Share
Pin7