You can make reminders and notes for students and teachers, like the /r/ reminders shown above. I use these /r/ reminders in the classroom to target carryover.
I have students bring their desktop reminders back to class and stick them on their desks, assignment books, laptops, or some other visible place. The student looks at the sticky note throughout the day and is reminded to self-monitor for /r/. The teacher can also tap the sticky note to remind the student to use a good /r/ during class.
Once you learn how to print your own sticky notes, you’ll be able to whip some up anytime you want.
3″ x 3″ good quality sticky notes (bright colors are the most fun!)
letter sized printer paper (8.5″ x 11″)
printer (note: I have only tried this with regular printers. It might jam a big combo copier/printer.)
digital sticky notes template that contains a blank “template” page and “graphics” pages with the images/text you will be printing onto the sticky notes (get this FREE one here)
Let’s do this!
Follow these steps to print your own sticky notes!
Print the blank template page.
Place the blank template page into the paper tray of the printer and print the graphics page of your choice on top of the blank template.
The purpose of this step is to determine how to place the blank template into the paper tray of the printer so that the graphic prints right side up, inside the squares. You will need to experiment until it prints correctly.
Place sticky notes on the squares on the blank template page.
The sticky strip must be at the top of the square, so it goes into the printer first.
Place the blank template page, with sticky notes attached, into the paper tray of the printer.
Remember, yours may be facing a different direction than mine, depending on how the paper feeds into your printer.
Download my editable Google Slides sticky notes template with boxes that you can type or insert your own pictures into. All of the work has been done for you, as the template is sized perfectly for typing your own message and printing onto standard 3″ x 3″ sticky notes.
This template is totally free for people on my email list. If you’re a subscriber, check your inbox for the email I recently sent out with the link to this file.
If you aren’t already on my email list, you can sign up and receive the free editable sticky notes template today.
This is my first year providing a significant amount of push-in therapy.
I currently push into special education classrooms, and I’m looking at pushing into some general education classrooms next year.
I started by providing push-in sessions in the special ed room for students using AAC. Then I gradually started going into “resource” classrooms (special ed rooms where students go for 45 minutes or so of instruction in reading/writing or math). I go in during the reading/writing time.
A little background
I am really fortunate to have an amazing EC (Exceptional Children) team at my school district. I work at an intermediate school with about 750 students who are in 5th and 6th grade. We decided to try having me push-in so that the students could get the supports they needed without having to miss a lot of class time.
The planning began in spring of the previous school year. Our administration created a schedule that provided an intervention block of 45 minutes for each student. There are two 5th grade intervention blocks and two 6th grade intervention blocks. The students with EC services go to the resource room for reading/writing during their intervention block, and I provide push-in speech therapy in the resource room.
I should note that I don’t provide 100% of my speech therapy as push-in therapy. I still pull students who are working on skills that need to be addressed in the therapy room.
It takes advanced planning.
Like I said, the EC teachers and I started planning for this during the spring of the previous school year. We grouped students so that each resource period I pushed into had several speech students. This is really important to do in order to ensure that you have time during the week to see all of the students.
First, the EC teachers made a rough draft of what their groups would be the next year and which period each group would be seen. We got data on incoming students from the feeder elementary schools to help us make these groups.
I looked at their rough draft and highlighted all of the students I wanted to see via push-in therapy. Then we moved students around to consolidate the speech students as much as possible. It worked out that each of the four groups I see has at least three speech students.
Some SLPs also separate students into once a week and twice a week groups. I didn’t do that this time, but it’s something I might consider in the future.
Be prepared to step out of your comfort zone.
I was used to providing therapy in my own space, and for the first few weeks I felt totally overwhelmed and wondered if I was making a huge mistake.
One of the logistical issues was where I would physically place myself. The resource rooms are smaller than normal classrooms at my school, so moving a regular student chair around was impossible to do without causing a big disruption. I ended up buying a small folding chair the size of a stool and keeping it in the resource room.
Another issue was tracking data on my students’ goals. Since my 5th graders came to me from different elementary schools, they all had goals written by different SLPs. Some were working on vocabulary goals, while others had goals for grammar or answering questions.
It took me several weeks to get the hang of collecting data on everyone’s goals. The teachers’ curriculum, called Language! (exclamation point included), turned out to be wonderful for incorporating speech therapy, because it focuses on more than just phonics.
The most important advice I would give anyone just starting this out is to give it time. At first you’ll feel like you have no idea what you’re doing. You will wonder if you’re failing your students or making a fool out of yourself. Just stick with it and it will get better.
How we plan and structure the lessons
The teachers typically do the the grammar and vocabulary portions on the days I’m there, and save the phonics stuff for the other days. There have been exceptions to that, of course, such when they were learning about the placement and voicing of sounds within the mouth.
I have a common planning time with each of the teachers that I use as needed to check in about upcoming lessons. Since the teachers follow a routine with their lessons each week, we often just chat at the beginning of class about what we’re going to do.
Most of the time we use the “one teach, one assist” model, although I’d like to explore the other models more next year. A benefit of this model is that I can provide extra support to my students in the specific areas that they need it. The biggest drawback is that I sometimes feel like I am interrupting the teacher.
What I bring with me into the classroom
I use individual data sheets for each student (free template here) and I bring those with me, along with a storage clipboard. My clipboard holds notes, stickers, a basic sign language graphic, and sticky notes.
I customize my sticky notes for both language and articulation. For language, I use reminders to help them with their writing skills. For articulation, I print text and pictures onto a sticky note, put it on the student’s desk, and point to it when the student needs a cue to use their speech skills.
I have uploaded my sticky notes templates to my Teachers Pay Teachers store. Below is a picture of a another writing sticky note that I made.
Overall reflections on push-in speech therapy so far
All in all, I have enjoyed doing push-in speech therapy and want to continue doing it. I’ve gotten to know more students in the building, and I’ve been able to integrate my interventions into the curriculum in a more meaningful way.
It’s also been a great learning opportunity to go into someone else’s space and see how they do things. I’ve picked up some great ideas from observing the teachers I work with.
While I was initially worried about being able to provide skilled interventions in the classroom, I have figured out how to do it. I really like the way Shannon, from Speechy Musings, put it in her recent Instagram video. She said that if you can make a game into therapy, you can make a classroom activity into therapy.
I’ll continue to update my blog with my push-in therapy experiences. I would also love to hear about your ideas and questions. Feel free to send me an email or leave a comment below.
If you’ve become overwhelmed by managing your Google Drive, you’re not alone. In my work as a Lead SLP, I’ve found that many skilled clinicians have encountered difficulties with finding, saving, sharing, and organizing their files. This tends to result in a black hole of sorts, leaving the clinician feeling frustrated.
Need motivation? Here are some reasons to take the plunge. With an organized Google Drive you can:
rediscover activities and handouts you forgot about
stop asking people to resend things
find stuff quickly
feel like the empowered professional that you are!
Before you start
Assess your current Google Drive skill level
Read the descriptions below and decide which one best fits you. Don’t worry, everyone can learn how to use Google Drive!
You’re an advanced user if you already have your Google Drive organized into folders and actively manage new files using your system. Way to go! Read on for ideas to see if you want to make any changes to your current system.
You’re an intermediate user if you know the basics of Good Drive, such as how to create a folder and upload files, but you don’t really have an organizational system set up that is working for you. This article will give you some ideas that you can use right away.
You’re a beginner if you’re new to Google Drive or you don’t remember how to make a folder or upload a file. I suggest going through the slideshow tutorial below, to give yourself a brief overview of Google Drive. Don’t worry, we’ll go through things in more detail in a bit. You can totally do this!
Google Drive basics
Slideshow tutorial for beginners
Use your computer, rather than your phone, to organize your Google Drive initially. My instructions are based on where things are located on a computer screen. Once you’ve got a system going, you can install the Google Drive app on your phone or tablet and use it to access your files on the go.
Make sure you’re using the right account
If you have a Google account associated with your work email address, I would suggest you pick that Google Drive to organize first (as opposed to your personal email address’s Google Drive) because sharing files with colleagues will be easiest when done from your work Google account. If you don’t have a Google account, you can get one for free.
Let’s make sure you’re logged in with the account you want to use before we go any further.
Open a new tab in Google Chrome (or another supported browser) and go to www.google.com. Look at the top right corner. You should see a circle. If you hover over it with your cursor, it will tell you if you’re logged in and what account you’re using. Here’s what mine looks like.
Go ahead and open your Google Drive now. Below is a picture showing how to open it.
Once you’ve got Google Drive open, it’s time to start organizing!
Folders are your friend
One reason Google Drive overwhelms people is that our files add up over time. Without an organizational system it can be hard to sift through hundreds of files to find the one you’re looking for.
Folders are an ideal way to clean up your view so that when you open up your Google Drive, your files are sorted into categories.
One thing I love about Google Drive is that you can easily create folders within folders. This allows you to categorize things broadly and then separate each parent category into subcategories. I’ll show you how to do it.
Create a folder for your activities
A large portion of my files are activities and word lists that I use in my sessions. I’m guessing yours are too. Let’s organize these first.
Your folder will look something like the one below.
Parent categories and subcategories
This folder is going to be a parent category, meaning that we will be creating folders within it to organize your activities further. The folders we create within the Tx Activities folder are called subcategories because they are all part of the larger category of Tx Activities.
Ready to create your subcategories? Open the Tx Activities folder by double clicking on it.
You’ll notice that your screen now says My Drive > Tx Activities. That’s how you’ll know you’ve opened the Tx Activities folder and are inside of that folder. Anything you create or add now will be inside of that folder too. This is what you want, because you’re about to create new folders within the Tx Activities folder.
Go ahead now and create a folder for each subcategory of your therapy activities (articulation, language, fluency, etc). Don’t worry about that fact that you don’t actually have any activities in these folders yet. We’ll get to that in a bit.
Below is what mine looks like. Notice that all of these folders are inside of my Tx Activities folder. If yours aren’t, click and drag them on top of the Tx Activities folder to drop them inside (or click here for more help).
Woohoo! You just created a folder structure that is going to save you tons of time when you need to find your therapy activities. Now let’s add activities!
Add activities to the folders you just created
Before you get started with the next step, you need to have an electronic file version of your therapy activities on your Google Drive, your computer, or a thumb drive. By electronic file version, I mean a PDF, document, etc.
If your files are already in your Google Drive
All you need to do is move them to one of the new folders you just created. Not sure how? Read these instructions from Google on how to move a file.
Any files that someone shared with you from their Google Drive will be stored in a section of your Drive called Shared with me. If you aren’t sure how to find and move these files into your newly created folders, read these instructions.
If your files are on your computer or a thumb drive
If you haven’t heard of pocket sized homework, here’s a summary: I send home little sheets that take about 5 minutes to complete. The students have a parent sign the back and return the sheets by placing them in a bag hanging outside my door. Once a week I do a raffle drawing by pulling a homework sheet out of the bag, and the winner gets a prize. My students love it, even the older ones. You can read more about it here.
Whatever you like to use for homework, it makes sense to organize it so you can easily print it out when needed.
If you only make one folder, let this be it. Your lead SLP will thank you! Many questions can be answered by consulting your state and local policy manuals. Keeping these documents in a central location will ensure that you use them on a regular basis.
If you don’t already have an electronic copy of your state’s policies, they’re probably online and can be found with minimal digging.
When I need to find something specific, I open the document with Adobe and use their “Find” feature. This is so useful that I created a short Google Slides presentation with directions about how to scan a PDF document for a keyword.
How to quickly search a document using Adobe
Parent & teacher handouts folder
Communication with parents and teachers is so essential, and I’m betting you’ve made and acquired some pretty awesome handouts over the years. You’ll increase your chances of actually using your handouts if you put them in a folder.
I like to save copies of documentation concerning my license, professional development, and travel/ fee reimbursement. I figure that by tossing everything into a folder, I can locate it later if the need arises.
You can color code your folders!
Want to make a folder stand out from the rest? Give it some color! I would suggest doing this for your most commonly used folders.
How to change the color of your folders
Right click on the folder.
Select change color.
Click on the color you want.
Here’s how it looks now. Exciting stuff!
You don’t have to use folders for every single file.
If you have files you access on a regular basis, you might want to just stick them into the main My Drive section, rather than in a folder. I keep my schedule and goal bank spreadsheets in this main section.
Don’t forget about your files if you change jobs.
If you happen to leave your current job or decide to close your Google account, make sure you either download all of your files that you want to save, or transfer ownership of them to yourself at a different email address before your account is deleted.
Way to go!
Give yourself a high five! Organizing your Google Drive will make your work life a little bit less hectic, which is something we can all use.
Are you a school SLP? Here are five New Year’s resolutions for this next year, to help you focus on what matters most at work. I’ve also included links to freebies!
Resolution 1: Get your stuff done before you do someone else’s stuff.
Do you check your email as soon as you arrive at work in the morning?
Most of your emails probably contain other people’s requests- things they want you to do. If you let yourself get distracted all day long by answering emails, you won’t get anything else done.
Instead, work on your most important task of the day first. I use this free to-do list template, created by school SLP Jenna Rayburn Kirk, of Speech Room News. The template will help you sort your to-do list into 3 categories, so you can prioritize your most urgent items.
I usually check my email once in the morning and once in the afternoon. I have turned off email notifications on all of my devices to avoid getting distracting beeps and alerts all day long.
If you continue to serve students who don’t really need you, your caseload will get bigger and bigger. If you work in an elementary school, you will make the middle school and high school SLPs’ caseloads get bigger and bigger too.
Multiple SLPs will be serving students who don’t need speech therapy, and will have less time to help the ones who do. Students will be missing class for a service they don’t need.
If you’re facing obstacles with discharge planning you’re not alone. It’s one of the most challenging aspects of being a school SLP. You might want to read my post about communicating with colleagues if you’re dealing with anyone who is particularly difficult to work with.
Resolution 3: Prioritize carryover.
Carryover is what happens outside of the therapy room, but if you as the school SLP don’t make it a priority, no one else will either. As soon as the student is able to complete a task with minimal cueing, find a way for him or her to practice it outside of your room.
Carryover tip 2: My other favorite tool for carryover involves using a sticky note.
I give the student a sticky note, with a picture and text on it, to put on his or her desk (or assignment book). The sticky note serves as a reminder to use the speech skill, and should be visible to the student for most of the day. Teachers can tap the sticky note to discreetly remind the student to use the targeted speech skill during class.
As you can see from the picture above, the sticky note itself does not say anything about “speech therapy”. This helps avoid teasing. I printed the text and pictures onto the sticky notes using a regular printer at my house.
First, I made a template with boxes that were the same size as the sticky notes. Then, I put blank sticky notes onto the template.
Next, I made a document with pictures and text aligned with the boxes on the template above, so they would print on the sticky notes. Below is a picture from my Instagram.
Resolution 4: Know your state’s policies and guidelines for speech therapy services in the schools.
In North Carolina, we have over 100 pages of guidelines. That’s way too much to try to memorize!
Rather than searching though a binder every time you want to find something, you can save an electronic copy of the policies onto your computer. That’s what I do. If you don’t already have an electronic copy of your state’s policies, they’re probably online and can be found with minimal digging.
When I need to find something specific, I open the document with Adobe and use their “Find” feature. This is so useful that I created a short Google Slides presentation with directions about how to scan a PDF document for a keyword.
Resolution 5: Organize your Google Drive.
Tired of having to constantly search for files? Organize your Google Drive and rediscover things you forgot you even had. It’s easy and anyone can do it! Here’s a guide to help you.
I hope this article has inspired you.
These New Year’s resolutions are all about being mindful of what you’re doing and why you’re doing it. By focusing first on the most important things at work, you can decide for yourself how much of the other stuff is worth putting in the extra hours for.
You can edit your data sheet and it will save automatically to your Google Drive. At the next IEP meeting, just update the sheet and reprint it.
Ready, set, go!
Time needed: 5 minutes.
Just follow these easy steps. Note: You’ll need a Google account. If you’re doing this on your phone, you’ll need the Google Docs app.
Copy this template onto your Drive so you can edit it.
Open this Google Docs data sheet template (I made it and it’s free). Do not request edit access. Instead, follow the steps below.
On a computer: Click File and select Make a copy. Click OK.
On a phone: Click the top right menu ••• and select Share & export. Click Make a copy.
Give it a new name.
I use the beginning two letters of the student’s first and last name (John Doe = JoDo).
On a computer:
On a phone: Click the top left back arrow〈 and you will see Copy of Data Sheet listed in your files. Click the menu next to the document ••• and select Rename.
Add the student’s goals and as much IEP information as you like.
Print it. Tada!
How I organize my data sheets
I use a number system to allow me to quickly file my students’ data sheets. I assign each student a number and write their numbers in the bottom corner of the data sheets. I file the data sheets into a binder after I’m done with my electronic therapy notes logging.
No one sees any student names when looking at the closed binder. When I open the binder, the see through tabbed folders allow me to quickly see everything on each data sheet.
Why is speech therapy discharge planning important?
Think about can happen if you continue serving students who no longer need your services.
Students miss class to see you for a service they no longer need.
Your schedule becomes bogged down with services for students who don’t need you anymore, limiting your ability to serve the ones who do.
SLPs serving older grades inherit the students, and a year or more passes before they can gather the data to propose discharge.
I know, the struggle is real
When I first started working in the schools, it was all I could do just to get the therapy sessions in. It was so overwhelming!
Eventually (around my second and third year) I realized that it was up to me to begin discharge planning when I felt my students might be ready to end speech services. I couldn’t expect anyone else to pick up the ball on this.
In my experience serving as Lead SLP, I’ve found that discharge planning is one of the top challenges we encounter in our work. Whether you’re new to the schools or a seasoned SLP looking to form better habits, I hope this article will help you get a handle on how to master the art of speech therapy discharge planning.
Things to know before you begin your speech therapy discharge planning
Look into what meetings your district requires in order for you to exit a student from speech.
In my state, students must have a re-evaluation meting at least every three years. It’s a meeting in which the IEP team decides whether or not the student is still eligible for any services he or she receives. It’s a bit more extensive than the annual review of the IEP.
This type of meeting is required when exiting a student from speech therapy in my state. (I should note that this doesn’t necessarily mean that testing is required in every case; some re-evaluations are done based on therapy data combined with a review of the previous testing.)
The thing is, there is no requirement that the IEP team has to wait three years. In fact, I tend to think that the three year requirement is there because the state wants to make sure that no student goes longer than three years without the team looking at his or her eligibility.
I would encourage you to find out what type of meeting(s) must occur in your district in order for you to exit a student. You can find this out by asking your Lead SLP or your district’s special education director. For the rest of this article, I’ll be writing based on my district’s requirements.
Don’t let administrative convenience dictate when you discharge a student from speech.
I’ve had SLPs tell me that they didn’t discharge a particular student because the student wasn’t “up for re-evaluation” that year. What that really means is that the student and the SLP invested time in services that may have not been necessary, due to administrative convenience.
I am not aware of any guidelines that say you have to wait a certain number of years to re-evaluate a student’s need for speech services.
Discharge planning often does mean extra paperwork and meetings. If you develop a good relationship with the teachers at your school, you’ll be much more likely to get them to understand why you can’t “wait two more years” to exit a student who’s already meeting her goals.
I highly recommend having face-to-face conversations, as opposed to emailing, whenever possible during the discharge process. Read my blog post, Communicating with Colleagues: 6 Tips, for more ways to foster strong collaborative relationships at work.
Organize your discharge planning workflow.
One of the biggest challenges with discharge planning is that it involves a methodical process that is more complicated than it would seem at first glance. The more organized you are, the easier this process is going to be for you to keep track of.
If you’re not as organized as you’d like to be, don’t worry! This post has lots of tips and links to materials that will help you form new habits that are easy to maintain.
First tip: Keep summaries and dates of your discharge planning communication with parents and school staff.
Even if you have a photographic memory, you will save yourself time if you can glance at your notes and figure out where you are in the discharge planning process with any given student. This is an example of my discharge planning chart. You can grab it at my Teachers Pay Teachers site.
Below I’ll go into detail about how to make sure you’re covering all of your bases as you prepare to exit a student.
How to do speech therapy discharge planning
Make a list of the students who might be ready to graduate from speech.
Writing down the students’ names is the first step in making your discharge planning intentional. If your using the discharge planning chart I made, you’ll see a place to write this down.
Do you need to test this student?
For each student, look at the previous testing and consult your school district’s policies. In my district, it is up to the discretion of the IEP team to decide if the student’s speech and language needs to be re-tested before discharge.
I don’t always re-test students. If the IEP team agrees that the previous testing and current therapy data sufficiently addresses the communication concern(s), we can proceed without testing. I recommend re-testing if there are concerns about the student that I don’t have therapy data to address, or if the parent requests new testing.
Try to do this step as soon as possible, so that you have time to test the student if need be. Also be sure to download my free editable evaluation checklist to help you keep track of your workflow for each of your evaluations.
Does anyone else need to test this student?
When the IEP team does a re-evaluation for a student in my district, it resets the three year meeting schedule for the student’s next re-evaluation. I always consult with the psychologist to see if she wants to test the student, because the student won’t pop up on her radar for another three years after this meeting is over.
I bring the list of students I want to exit to the psychologist as early in the school year as I possibly can, and I continue to update the psychologist as new students are added to the list.
This allows time for the any extra IEP meetings needed (for permission to test), and time for the psychologist to do the testing. It’s a requirement in my district that if testing is taking place, we discuss the results before removing any services from the IEP.
Talk to the case manager and come up with a timeline.
In my district, the special ed teacher case manages students that get multiple services, and the SLP case manages students who just get speech. If the student you are planning to discharge is case managed by someone other than you, make sure you keep this person in the loop.
Again, I highly recommend face-to-face conversations, as opposed to emails, whenever possible. Are you in a building where these conversations sometimes become tense? Check out my article about leading bravely as SLPs for more information about how to present your best self at the workplace.
You’ll want to let the case manager know if you or the psychologist is planning to test the student, as well as what your ideal timeline is for the meetings that will need to happen.
Anytime you want to test a student, you’ll need to let the case manager know that there will need to be two meetings- one for you to obtain permission to test and another one for you to go over the results and complete the discharge procedure. If possible, try to time one of those meetings with the annual review of the IEP.
Sometimes the student’s IEP is due right away, say October, and I’m not ready to propose discharge yet because I want to test the student or work longer on a skill. In those cases, I know I will have to work with the case manager to schedule a second meeting later on in the school year.
Talk to the teacher(s).
How is the student functioning in the classroom? If you work in a middle or high school, there are multiple teachers. I often seek out a teacher who knows the student well. If the student gets any other special ed services, the special ed teacher is a great resource because they see the student in a smaller group and often get to know him better.
If the student is not applying strategies you have taught, it’s time to focus on carryover. One tool I use for carryover is a simple goal chart that the teacher can initial when the student displays the communication skill being targeted.
I give the goal tracking chart to the student and discuss what goal we’re working on. When I work with upper elementary and middle school students, I let the students themselves be responsible for their goal tracking charts. I explain the chart to the teachers and let them know that the chart will help the student to remember to use the skills we’ve been working on in speech therapy.
Once the student gets the teacher to initial all of the boxes on the goal chart, he can return the chart to me and pick out something from my prize box.
The students like working toward the reward, but they also learn more about their speech goals and become more aware of using their skills in the classroom. Their teachers also develop a better awareness of the student’s speech skills. A completed goal chart lets me know that the student is capable of using his speech skills in the classroom.
I also use sticky notes desktop reminders with my articulation students. These reminders are printed onto post-its. The teacher can tap the student’s post-it anytime a discreet reminder is needed.
If I am case managing the student, I also ask the teacher(s) to complete a form that gives me a summary of the student’s educational performance. I included this form in my discharge planning packet that’s available on my Teachers Pay Teachers site.
The Summary of Educational Performance form tells me about grades, assessment results, teacher observations, and whether the student is meeting grade level expectations. It helps me prep the paperwork and gives me a heads up when a student is struggling academically.
If your “speech only” student is struggling in reading and math, the teachers will most likely need to put interventions in place and document the student’s response to those interventions over a period of time. Other services or areas of eligibility may need to be considered if the student’s educational performance doesn’t improve as a result of the interventions.
Talk to the parents.
When I call parents about students who are close to meeting their goals, I tell them about the progress I’ve noticed. Then I ask them how their child is doing at home.
This is actually something I do at the very beginning of discharge planning. That way we can address any concerns together.
With my articulation students, I often hear that students aren’t using their speech skills at home. One way I address this is through my pocket sized homework program. I’ve also recommended websites and apps to parents, for home practice.
I’ve noticed that parents of children who stutter seem to be particularly concerned about their child exiting speech therapy. They’e seen stuttering fluctuate over the years and worry about what will happen if the therapist isn’t there to help. I have some books from the Stuttering Foundation that I often lend to parents and students.
There’s no one right way to reassure parents. It comes down to listening to their concerns and discussing them in an unhurried manner.
Prepping for the discharge meeting
Before the meeting
If you’ve been keeping good notes, you should have most of what you need to prep the paperwork for the IEP meeting. I like to create a draft of the paperwork ahead of time so that I’m not scrambling to type everything in during the meeting.
When I create a draft, I make sure and include a review of the student’s progress on his goals, a summary of previous assessments, information provided by the teacher (assessments, grades, observations), my observations, and any information obtained from the parent.
I don’t make final decisions ahead of time, of course, because eligibility is a team decision. I do, however, make sure that the data is ready for the team to view so the meeting can be run efficiently.
What to bring to the meeting
Of course you’ll want to bring your computer, your evaluation report (if you tested the student), and any notes that aren’t saved on the computer.
I like to give my students a graduation certificate when they exit from speech therapy, and I bring the certificate to the discharge meeting because many of my students attend their meetings.
Some of my students are glad to be done with speech therapy, while others tell me they’ll miss coming. The graduation certificate is a great way to provide resolution for both types of students. It helps emphasize that the student has achieved a level of independence that is worth celebrating.
You can do this!
I know we’ve gone through a lot of information. Try to take it one step at a time. If you’ve got a student in mind that is meeting his or her goals and is ready to graduate, go ahead and begin this process with that student.
If you feel like you need more support than this article can provide, reach out to another speechie in your district or ask your Lead SLP to pair you with a mentor who can help you with discharge planning. Trust me, they’ll be glad you’re wanting to hone your skills.
Below I’ve listed some of my favorite speech therapy websites and apps.
Parents, please discuss your child’s needs with a local speech language pathologist before purchasing products or starting a home practice program. This will help ensure the best possible experience for you and your child.
This site has a regularly updated collection of comic strips, editorial cartoons, interactive puzzles, and Sunday funnies. You’ll find a lot of material that could be used with older students (check out Zits). Just to be safe, read the selection and make sure it’s school appropriate beforehand.
The Literacy Shed offers a curated collection of animated videos that tell a story. They have several options, including a free site (that I use). The founder suggests watching the videos first to make sure they’re appropriate for your age group. Discussion ideas and suggested extension activities are also provided.
The Tween Tribune offers free news articles for tweens and teachers. The topics are relevant and interesting, and the passages are offered at multiple reading levels. There are also lesson plan ideas for thematic units. Teachers can create accounts for students to comment on the articles.
This site could really be used for articulation too. It’s similar to Mad Libs (if you did those as a child). You fill in the blanks according to the part of speech specified, and a story is created with your words in it. This could be used to target parts of speech during a language lesson, or to practice articulation by using words with a certain speech sound. The stories can get pretty hilarious.
This site is a free resource for finding word lists made by others, or for making your own. If you’re working on a themed unit or looking for a list of word related to a popular novel, you can probably find it on this site. They have a built in dictionary, but I often find that their definitions contain words above my students’ reading level.
Newsela is one of my favorite sites for informational text. It takes actual news stories and adapts each one for different reading levels. The stories are interesting and engaging. This is a great site to use if you’re working with a tween or teen student that is reading several years below grade level. The content is adapted to their level, without it looking babyish.
Watch short daily news videos made for students in upper elementary, middle, and high school. The site also offers videos about new trends, and asks students to vote about whether the trend is the next big thing. The videos make good discussion starters for sessions targeting language, conversation level articulation, and conversation level fluency skills.
Let someone else read to your students, while you pause the video and engage them in discussion about the story. This site features celebrities reading picture books aloud. My students upper elementary students in grades 3-5 really like it.
This interactive website by the Annenberg Foundation explores the elements of a story, within the context of the story Cinderella. I was surprised at how much my students in 3rd through 5th grade learned from this site. We spent several weeks going through the different story elements.
This is one of the articulation sites I have been following for a long time. If you need articulation practice materials that are free, go here. You can download worksheets that target every sound at the word, phrase, and sentence level.
Browse words lists by sound, and access hundreds of words for different speech sounds. The word lists are free but don’t include pictures. They’re really useful for older students that don’t need picture stimuli and just need lots of drill practice.
I use this app constantly during my articulation speech therapy sessions. The matching game is a favorite among my students. Tip: If you connect your iPad to a projector, a whole group of students can see the game on your board or wall.
CALL stands for Communication, Access, Literacy and Learning, and is a website affiliated with the University of Edinburgh. This link takes you to their wonderful collection of posters and leaflets, many of which feature extensive information about apps available for both the iPad and Android operating systems.
Tar Hill Reader is a collection of free, easy-to-read, and accessible books on a wide range of topics. Each book can be speech enabled and accessed using multiple interfaces, including touch screens, the IntelliKeys with custom overlays, and 1 to 3 switches.
One of the most affordable apps on the market that’s easy to use (the menus are already created and ready to go). You can add custom menus and use your own photos too. One of my favorite features is that it will translate the communication buttons to Spanish.
This site is not specifically for AAC, however, it contains a lot of adapted activities for children with Autism and developmental disabilities. There are some free downloads, as well as materials that can be purchased. The look of the site is a little dated, but useful materials can be found here.
There are a lot of quality downloadable visual aids on this site, some of which are free. I was initially confused by the advertisements, which I had trouble discerning from the actual downloadable visual aids. Once I figured out how it worked and downloaded the .pdf visual aid documents, I was impressed. The pictures and text feel more modern than boardmaker, which I liked.
This is a not-for-profit, international, interdisciplinary organization devoted to the understanding and management of fluency disorders, and to the improvement in the quality of life for persons with fluency disorders.
Camp Say is a summer camp for young people who stutter, located in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. While I have not visited their location personally, I have a colleague who speaks very highly of this camp. Check out their website for more information.
This website has awesome free handouts and videos with practical tips for SLPs on how to improve your stuttering speech therapy sessions. The authors include several ASHA fellows and big names in the stuttering word. A must visit if you’re wanting to increase your confidence with working with students who stutter.
Social Thinking, founded by Michelle Garcia Winner, is a great starting place for understanding why we must teach social skills to some of our students. There are numerous links to different curricula she has developed.
This article explores five areas of transition for the family of a teen with a disability: financial support, legal and healthcare decision making, education to vocational training, health insurance coverage, and housing.
Wonder Moms is a project by three moms to share real talk, helpful information, and practical advice with parents of kids who have intellectual disabilities, Down syndrome, autism, language and speech delays, deafness, chronic illness, and traumatic brain injury.
Parent to Parent helps connect parents with local family support organizations. The idea is that experienced support parents provide emotional support to families and assist them with finding information and resources.
Disclosure and disclaimer: I participated in a pilot program at my school district and received a free download of Bridge Communication app. All third party trademarks are the property of the respective trademark owners. Tween Speech Therapy is not affiliated with those trademark owners.
When I’m on summer break and I think about going back to school, this is my first reaction.
I call it my denial phase. I don’t want to see ads for school supplies. Get those things away from me!
At some point, planners and office supplies become cute again, and I start to think about all of the possibilities that lie ahead this school year.
Whether you’re still in denial or you’re reading this from your computer at work, it’s a great time of year to get your materials in order. The resources in the listed below are easy to print and start using right away.
They’ll add style to your room, improve your workflow, and help you serve your students. Best of all, many of them are free!
If you’ve ever assessed or treated cluttering, you know that it can be very challenging (read my article about cluttering). This bundle has four different tools to help you: rating scales, conversation sample analysis, review of symptoms, and cluttering homework.
This free homework packet will get your students talking about speech therapy at home. It covers the basics, like what goals they’re working on and what their SLP’s name is. You might also be interested in my article about speech therapy homework.
This free packet is different than the back to school packet because it contains usable samples of homework for a variety of specific speech and language disorders. The packet also includes a parent handout explaining the importance of home practice. The homework sheets are pocket sized.
This free interactive book is made by Chapel Hill Snippets. It’s a great activity to start the year off with your social skills groups. Students identify things that make them feel different emotions and create a personalized book.