While some speech language pathologists specialize in working with specific age groups of children only (e.g., preschoolers, elementary age children, adolescents, etc) most pediatric SLPs, especially ones serving schools, work with children of varying ages and abilities. Oftentimes, creating tasks and activities is a challenge especially for those of us who have particularly large caseload of students. Today, one of my guest bloggers, Teach Speech 365, will be offering some ideas on how to work with school aged children of different ages and abilities.
I’m honored to be doing a guest post for Smart Speech Therapy, LLC! The bulk of my experience has been in the schools. I have worked with students ages 3-21, which has included elementary, middle, and high school aged students. With that variety comes some unique challenges, so I am sharing some things that I did while working with such a wide range of ages.
For elementary age:
- Include literacy activities whenever possible: I wrote another guest post about my favorite books to use in therapy, found here: http://thespeechbubbleslp.blogspot.com/2013/02/whats-up-wednesday_20.html. Books are a great way to target a lot of different skills at the same time, including vocabulary, sequencing, WH questions, and following directions. I have found that most kids enjoy doing activities that are based on books. Check out some of your favorite SLPs on TpT who have created book companion packets!
- “THEME” Hunts: At one of my schools, we had an elision cutter (a machine that cuts out various shapes like circles, shamrocks, trees, etc). I cut out a bunch that went with various holidays/themes like shamrocks for St. Patrick’s Day, leaves for the fall, and apples for back to school. I then used Boardmaker ® and glued action pictures on the backs of each shape. I hid these around the room and had the students find them and formulate sentences about the pictures.
- Get up and move: I love activities that get everyone up and moving and so do the students! Try out some of the ones from my TpT store:
- http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Association-Poppers (free)
- http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Open-Ended-Reinforcer-Game (free)
For middle/high school age:
- Find common ground: Ask your older students what they like and try to find some common ground. It’s amazing how differently they might view coming to speech when they feel like you care about their interests!
- Speak their language: These days, a lot of kids know more about technology than some adults do! Have students explain emoticons, common phrases or acronyms (i.e. LOL, TTYL, etc). You might learn something new!
- Cooking: Try some easy cooking activities! Most students love food and cooking activities can be a great way to functionally focus on language skills. Try this website for some recipes with pictures: http://www.kids-cooking-activities.com/non-reader-recipes.html
- Play some games: While I don’t always play games in my sessions, sometimes it can be a great ice breaker AND sneaks in some speech/language practice. Here are some of my favorites:
- Would You Rather?
- Apples to Apples
- Catch Phrase
It can sometimes be difficult and overwhelming when you are faced with a wide range of ages! I hope this post has given you some ideas to try!
Bio: I am an ASHA certified SLP who has worked with a variety of clients, from ages 2-98 years of age in the public school and private practice settings. I have chosen to remain anonymous; however, I really enjoy sharing my therapy ideas and activities with other SLPs, teachers, and parents. For more information visit my blog, TPT Store or Facebook.