November 9, 2016

Discussion: session structure


"How do you teach?  How are your sessions structured?"

The purpose of this blog is to serve two main functions: 1. to add transparency and share with others (mainly parents and co-workers/educators) the activities I lead and what my sessions with students looks like, 2. to collaborate, share, and engage with other practicing speech-language pathologists or those who are studying to do something within this or a similar profession. 

One of the frequent questions that I get asked is how I teach or lead sessions with students.  Well, the short answer is that really depends on the student(s) and what they are working on with me.  The activities will vary based off of the individual's needs and abilities.  Here are a few snapshots of what therapy in my classroom looks like:


Sometimes I position myself at the table next to the student so we can really attend to the materials together. 

 Most times I am sitting in the U part of my jellybean shaped therapy table.  I can reach each student equally and I use the middle of the table to show visuals or access the activity accessories. 

I try to engage each student as much as possible. Sometimes we have round table discussions, sometimes I have students raise their hand to answer, sometimes we practice our skills in a circle one by one in taking turns.  It all depends! The dynamics of the session depends on what skills are taught/targeted and how much cuing and prompting I need to do to have students come close to correct approximations of their IEP goal.  Always consider the proximal zone of development for your students/clients!

 Sometimes I get up and walk around the room or stand besides the students so I can grab other materials, engage quickly and closely, and utilize tactile cuing or prompting as needed. Always consider the personality of your student and what their social space allowances are, especially for those that are within the autism spectrum. 


Sometimes (rarely) I have students working independently on a notebook or project at my table.  This student is working on an articulation flip book craft. This is an activity that we have engaged in together for well over 10 sessions so I know he has a strong grasp of what my expectations are for project completion.  Think of the personalities and attention span of your students and make sure if you have them do independent practice, that they can attend to the task and finish.  I will sit close to the student so I can cue or prompt them to get back to task if they get off target.  

Not pictured: floor work!  You can't see it in any of these pictures but I do have a small area of my room that is carpeted.  I will sometimes get on the floor to do circle time, read stories, complete play-based activities, and other therapy where lots of movement is required (I'm looking at you, PECS approach!).  I usually reserve floor time with my special needs self-contained students. I don't typically do a lot of play-based sessions for students at the 4th-6th grade level but when I need to, having a carpeted and pleasant area to roll around the floor can be of great help! Something to consider to those who are finding themselves in a new space for therapy. 

Happy speeching!

No comments:

Post a Comment