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In a previous post, ‘Advice for SLPs Working with Mixed Speech Therapy Groups’, the challenges of working with mixed groups were addressed. Sometimes our “small” groups are not only mixed, they’re also sometimes “not so small.” In this post are suggestions for maintaining the efficiency and integrity of your sessions in spite of the “not so small” speech therapy groups.
Planning is critical. Even if you have to modify your plan, it’s critical that you have a plan, and sometimes a backup because at some point or another, the most wonderful therapy plan will flop for one reason or another. This is especially true when your primary therapy plan requires the use of technology.
Another “must have” in large speech therapy groups is behavior management. Establish clear guidelines and expectations. Have these expectations posted in your room. If you’re mobile like many of us are, then consider having a portable copy of rules to which you can direct the attention of your students without having to provide verbal redirection.
Sometimes I like to use exit tickets(click the link to view) – those are pretty generic and can be customized; however, there are several options for themed exit tickets available on TpT as well.
I prefer playing Jeopardy using a Heavy Duty Pocket Chart (for sentence strips) and index cards so that I can revise or add content as needed without using a lot of time. The “homemade” Jeopardy game is also preferred because I don’t have to worry about glitches with technology. Not only does it work well in large groups, but this Jeopardy system also works well with all ages because you can picture cards with early elementary and nonreaders. The key is to keep those cards bound together so that your categories don’t become mixed like your groups.
Last but not least, make sure you collect therapy data. Your therapy should always be data driven. You may have to think outside the box, but, data collection can and should occur even in “not so small” or large speech therapy groups. Personally, I keep a data binder with my students’ data sheets organized by group; but, for some people this is too bulky or overwhelming.
Remember, you’re an SLP synonymous with superhero. You CAN provide quality therapy in groups regardless of the dynamics in size or goals!
Truvine Walker obtained her undergraduate and graduate degrees in Speech-Language Pathology on the beautiful campus of Valdosta State University in Valdosta, GA. After 3 years of working in the public schools in northern Virginia, Truvine decided to broaden her horizons and explore the world of travel therapy. As a traveling SLP, Truvine has worked in schools, hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, outpatient clinics, and inpatient rehabilitation facilities in a total of 8 different states. Truvine is finishing up her 17th year as an SLP, and is just as excited about the profession as she was in the very first year. In addition to loving learning about all things speech and language, Truvine loves bowling, reading, sightseeing, spending time with family, and of course, traveling.