Welcome to Speech: Building Routines!

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Routines in speech?  Yes!  They are a must!

There have been a BUNCH of blog posts by amazing SLP bloggers about their tips for starting the school year, handing the start of  your CFY, scheduling, and more.  I thought I would share with you a tip that I have learned over the years that makes a world of a difference in how the rest of my year will unfold…building routines!

Like most SLPs, I start my year by going through IEPs, checking mandates, informing teachers of the students in their classrooms with an IEP/speech services/goals, scheduling (once, twice, one hundred times), observing students in their classrooms (and on the playground too!) and preparing all of my data sheets.  But once a schedule is in place, I don't just hop right into therapy!

The first several sessions are so crucial in building rapport and a routine with your speech students.  They need to know what is expected of them each and every time.  Here are some things I drill the first few moments of the first several sessions:

  • Are you picking them up or are they coming to your speech rooms themselves?  How should they walk through the hallways?
  • What do they need to bring with them (notebook, folder, pencil, pass, and/or classwork)?
  • If you hold speech folders in your therapy rooms, where can they find them?  When should they expect to get the folders?
  • Will they receive a reinforcer/reward?  How often?
  • What are their goals?  Why are they going to speech?!
  • What are the rules in the therapy room?  Why are they important?
  • Are there assigned seats?
  • It is OK to make a mistake, we are here to learn!
  • What are the rules for using the iPad? Computer? Smartboard?
  • What are the rules for using the bathroom? Water fountain?  Need the nurse?
  • How will they know that speech is canceled?
I use large index cards and my students create “speech passes” for themselves.  This way they have a reminder in their desks of their speech days/times (I remind teachers to place a reminder on the students' desks taped but it doesn't always occur).
I also show my students on the first day, a laminated sign I created, which indicates that speech is canceled.  They know, that if their teachers forget to tell them, or if they didn't hear a morning announcement that speech is canceled, they know what to do if that sign is on my door.  When do I use that sign?  If I know the day before that I will have to take a personal day the following day or if I am at a CSE meeting.  I always hang a sign when I am at a meeting because it may run over into the next speech group.  It also helps administrators know where I am in the building.
It is so important to build these routines.  By the second or third week of speech, my students are expected to know how they are getting to speech, what they should do when they enter the speech room, and the rules/expectations once they are in the room.
What do you do to create a routine in your speech room?  How has it helped?
I chatted on this topic on Facebook Live!  Watch the video below!