This is the third part of my series on managing difficult behaviors in language impaired children. I encourage you to read both the Introductory Post and Part 2: Create Routines for some background information in this series on managing difficult behavior in your speech therapy room. In this post, I am want to outline 3 ways you can structure your speech room for success.
1. Eliminate Unnecessary Visual Stimuli
As much as I love colorful and stimulating classroom decor, some of our special needs students just cannot handle the visual stimuli. In a recent study by Carnegie Mellon University, kindergarten students in brightly decorated classrooms were found to spend more time off task and made less academic gains than those in sparsely decorated classroom. For special needs students, systematic structure, visual schedules, behavior charts and anchor charts for learning can be useful decorations. Think about your speech room, is your classroom decor structured for success? You can download my Wh-Question Anchor Charts FREEBIES HERE.
2. Adjust Your Schedule
Sometimes you just have to switch things up a little. What may have worked for the first few months of school, may not work anymore. Groups may need to be adjusted and students switched from one group to another. I reprint my speech schedule at least once a month. I currently have a large number of first graders on my schedule that receive speech and/or language services. Their needs have changed throughout the year. They have matured at different rates, some have learned to read quickly, while others struggled. I have added students, dismissed students, updated goals at annual review meetings, and changed direct service times. In the past, I've also moved students from the morning to the afternoon. Be flexible and be willing to switch students around in order to structure for success.
3. Collaborate with Others
Communicate regularly with classroom teachers, counselors, and other special education staff that interacts with your students. Use cohesive language when referring to behavior. Talk to other professional about simplifying language for your language disordered students. Be available to draw and/or write social narratives to address skills that need to be learned (asking permission, sharing materials, rules for the restroom, etc.). Collaboration creates structure for success.
If you have found ways to structure your speech room for success, I'd love to hear from you. Send me a message and sign up to
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