At this time of year, many schools assess the progress their students have made, and in turn re-assess their materials needs. Some students are making excellent progress in therapy and some may have already been discharged from articulation therapy, using Speech Buddies and other evidence-based materials. But, as we know from a seminal study I often cite (Jacoby, 2002), 28% of kids make little to no progress in even an extended regimen of therapy.
I have had the pleasure of working with Justina Heintz, M.S. CCC-SLP, an SLP with Northside Independent School District (NISD) in San Antonio, Texas. This school district is not only one of the largest in Texas but is one of the top thirty largest school districts in the United States. They approached Speech Buddies with the primary aim of reducing caseloads. And in order to justify such a large-scale adoption of Speech Buddies Tools the district, under the supervision of Ms. Heintz, undertook a pilot study to determine the effect of Speech Buddies Tools on the districts’ caseloads. Ms. Heintz presented her findings at the 2015 annual convention of the Texas Speech-Language-Hearing Association. Recently, I had a chance to speak at length with her about this study. She shared some updates: about how the first year of Northside’s district-wide Speech Buddies Tools adoption program progressed, about the impact that Speech Buddies Tools are already having on reducing clinician caseloads, and about how Northside SLPs are improving the lives of the children of NISD.
Whether your child is in private therapy or is getting services in a school or via, say, your local Early Intervention (EI) program, it is always a good idea to use the resources around you to maximize your child’s therapy gains. Unless your child is very young or home-schooled, he or she is going to spend a huge amount of time in school. This post is dedicated to the notion that therapy and the activities of daily life of your child, here school, don’t have to be so separate. Use the tips provided below to maximize the gains your child can make in speech therapy. Think of it as leverage for your time. You only have a limited amount of time with your speech therapist, and yet so much time outside of therapy. Applied consistently, these simple principles can perhaps double the value of your therapy.
You know the saying it takes a village, but when it comes to special needs children, the village can make a striking difference in the effectiveness of speech therapy. Collaboration doesn’t always come easy, but once you have a handle on it, speech therapy techniques can be seamlessly integrated at home and at school so that your efforts build to a greater result. Not only should you see better results with collaborative therapy, but you will see a rapport develop between parents, teachers and the therapist that will foster communication and coordinated efforts toward the common goal of improving a child’s speech.
Teachers are so important in a child’s life. A child will often cherish the memories of a really great teacher for years after they graduate. Kids with speech disorders who work with a speech-language pathologist (SLP) are no different. SLPs try to make speech therapy fun and exciting to help the child learn speech and language skills without it feeling like a chore.
Kids who enter certified SLP Jenna Rayburn’s speech therapy room are likely to play an articulation-oriented game of Candy Land, work with magnets to create stories and learn proper sentence structure, and play a whole host of other innovative games while reaching their speech therapy goals. They can even work on their articulation skills while playing Twister. Jenna Rayburn uses her incredible creativity to turn children’s games into speech therapy lessons, and she shares her ideas on her blog, Speech Room News. Jenna loves incorporating both classic games and new technology into her lesson plans. Read on to find out Jenna’s tips for parents who are new to speech therapy and those who are looking for fun ways to do at-home speech therapy exercises.