Quick and Effective Language Therapy

I am very excited to share with a project I have been working on for the past year. About 6 years ago I began using 5 minute therapy with my students with articulation disorders. Then a few years after that I began using a version of the program with my students with fluency disorders. Now I am going to share with you how I adapted the program to use with my students with language disorders. 

The idea behind the 5 minute therapy program is that more frequent, individual therapy sessions provide quicker therapy results. I have seen clear evidence of this in my students with articulation and fluency disorders. They seem to retain more of the therapy instruction when given in more frequent intervals. Students with articulation disorders receive services in 5 minute individual sessions 2-4 times a week depending on severity of their disorder. Students with fluency disorder receive services in 15 minute group sessions 2-3 times a week. 

The design for my students with language disorders is a little different because I feel they benefit from both individual and group language sessions I used both in this program. Most of my students with language disorders receive five 6 minute sessions a month with two 30 minute sessions a month as well. Most of the students have 90 minutes per month on their IEPs. For those students with more minutes on their IEP I add more time to their individual sessions, so some may be 10 minutes or 15 minute individual sessions. Here is a sample calendar so you can visualize the schedule.

Quick Language Therapy calendar

MONDAYTUESDAYWEDNESDAYTHURSDAYFRIDAY
6 minute individual session 6 minute individual session
6 minute individual session30 minute group session
6 minute individual session6 minute individual session
30 minute group sessionTOTAL MINUTES: 90 minutes/month

How to get started using Quick Language Therapy:

At the beginning of the year I want to see what my students need to focus on in therapy to help them become more successful in the classroom so I give them Natalie Snyder’s Grammar or Language Progress Monitoring. This tool allows me to assess areas of weakness and strengths so I have documentation to support the goals I work on throughout the school year. 

After I have that information I plan their individual and group sessions based on their greatest weakness and what has the largest impact on their academic classwork. Since some of the sessions are individualized I can go at the student’s pace making the sessions more engaging and beneficial to their needs. My caseload for students with language disorders ranges from language therapy only to moderately mentally impaired so grouping can be difficult and some students do not get the attention they need.

The groups of students each month may change depending on what each individual is working on the previous session. During the group sessions I am observing the students abilities to apply the skill into an activity. Typically the activity is game or technology based which engages them again in the lesson. I use this session to see if we need to continue with this skill or are we able to move on to the next skill. 

After I observe adequate understanding of a skill by a student in a group session I give them the progress monitoring task for that skill to see measurable growth. This is a great way to demonstrate to parents what skills their child has mastered throughout the school year and makes IEP writing easier as well. If the student is still struggling significantly with that skill then we will continue working on it.

Advantages to Quick Language Therapy:

  • I am able to pull students from more subjects since they are only missing a short amount of time for therapy.
  • I am able to provide more individualized instruction to my students to increase their growth and engagement in a lesson.
  • I don’t have to worry about mixed groups. When it is time for a group session, I may have a group of 2 or 5 depending on how many individuals are working on that skill. I group them according to what skill they are working on during that month.
  • Just like with the 5 Minute therapy for articulation, you will be amazed at how much you can accomplish in 6 minutes of therapy. I had a student comment once when we finished a stack of 30 irregular plural noun cards, “Man we did a lot of those.” In a typical group each student may only get 5-10 trials of a skill.

We all know that individual sessions are ideal for progress but in the school setting that is not always able to be scheduled. Attempt using this Quick Language Therapy method to provide more individualized instruction to your students with language disorders. Please comment on any questions you may have.

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