In our previous post we looked at a classroom through an occupational therapist’s point of view. In our second post, we will look at the classroom through a new set of eyes – in this case, the speech and language therapist! Speech and language pathologists work to support children who are experiencing difficulties with communication. The areas that a speech and language pathologist may address include: articulation, language, voice, fluency, and swallowing. Per the American Speech and Hearing Association (ASHA), children with a speech and/or language impairment may struggle with participating in classroom activities, interacting with others, developing literacy, and learning.
A SLP may consider features of the classroom environment, just as an OT might.
- The acoustics and noise level of the room.
- Arrangement of seating with opportunities for positive social interaction among peers.
- Visibility of visuals or other materials provided by the SLP.
Also, the manner in which adults interact with the children may also support the development of communication skills. Strategies that a SLP might recommend to support students may include:
- Providing wait time for responses, or previewing questions prior to group instruction. Students who use assistive technology for communication should know what is going to be the topic of discussion or some questions that will be asked prior to the lesson. This allows the student and/or staff to prepare responses and comments in a less pressured setting. (This is especially important when a student is at the beginning stages of using a device and may need extra time to be successful in participating.)
- Using choices is a great way to ensure that children who have emerging language skills can participate in the classroom activities.
- Monitoring students for targeted articulation skills. Communicate with the student’s SLP about what specific sounds are being addressed in speech sessions, and take the time to learn what cues are being used by the therapist. Then, encourage carryover of these learned skills by using those prompts consistently.
- Incorporate data collection and practice of articulation skills for your students who are demonstrating needs. If you aren’t sure what type of data or how to support your student’s progress in speech, just ask!
If you have students who are struggling with literacy who also have a speech and language impairment, consult your school SLP for activities and strategies! For more information about SLPs and literacy, A Special Sparkle has a great article on the topic.
And for even more ideas for incorporating carry-over of learned skills in the therapy room, check out our newest Pinterest board, Carryover Of Learned Skills!