Last week I introduced you to “My Therapy Cart”. I had many inquires about how I make the program work. I explained in the last post on the topic where I conduct therapy at my school. Finding a good location suitable for therapy was one of the more difficult parts of planning. Each school is unique as well as each child’s need so this really has to be based on what your school and caseload needs. I am sharing what worked for me and maybe you can find some inspiration to discover what works best for you.
For those of you unfamiliar with the program, in a nutshell, it is a therapy approach that focuses on mainly drill practice in an individual setting. Research has shown that students in the program are discharged from speech five and half months earlier than those receiving therapy through the traditional approach. To read more about the program please consult the authors website: 5 Minute Kids.
When I read about the 5 Minute Kids therapy approach I was skeptical on how it would work in my school. I started small at the beginning of the school year 2 years ago with just three students. After contacting their parents to amend the IEPs, we started therapy three times per week for approximately 7 minutes each session. I saw more progress with those students in a short amount of time than I had seen in any of my 30 minute once or twice a week students. I decided to begin the second semester that year by implementing the program fully with all of my articulation and fluency students on my caseload. This year I have fully incorporated the program into all of the articulation and fluency students at my school.
How to write minutes on the IEP:
In WV, where I work and live, I write the minutes as 80 minutes per month which equals to 20 minutes per week for 5 minute sessions 4 times per week. Most of the sessions are 7 minutes but I like to state the minimum because some sessions may be shorter than others. Therapy is conducted in the Special Education Environment since it is a pull out type of service in an alternative setting from the general education environment. Some parents were skeptical about the reduction of speech services since most were at 30 minutes per week. I compared this program to someone who wants to improve their basketball game. I explained to the parents that someone who wants to improve their shooting accuracy isn’t going to practice once a week for 30 minutes and then not think about it again. They are going to practice almost everyday if they want to improve. To improve articulation and fluency skills, a student needs to practice more. I also provided the parents with a short handout that explained the benefits of the program further that was created by a fellow therapist Sara Martin. Click here to open a FREE copy of the parent handout. I have not had any parents refuse this service delivery model.
How did the faculty react:
Teachers, aides, and principals have favored the program to traditional therapy because it minimizes the time out of the class and my therapy schedule is now more flexible. The students now are only missing 5-7 minutes of a lesson instead of 30 minutes. Often the students were still responsible for making up the work that they missed. Now they can jump right back into their lesson without much direction. The classrooms are disrupted a little more but I try to minimize that as well by motioning to the students or quietly getting their attention. If I have multiple students in the same class, the first students sends the next one.
I use block scheduling where I provide services to the 4th grade in the morning and the 5th grade in the afternoon. I work my way down the hall pulling students for therapy. If a class is having a spelling test or a special quest, I will skip that class and go back to the student later in that block. If for some reason I can’t get 4th grade in the morning, I will switch the 4th and 5th grade blocks. It has increased the service delivery frequency since I can adjust my schedule better to meet the needs of the class.
Next week I will post about what a typical session is like and how I incorporate practicing conversational skills into the program. If you have any questions about the program, please comment on this post and I will either reply to the comment or answer the question in a future post if it requires more details.
Make sure you check out my other post about my 5 Minute Kids Therapy Program.