There is so many goals and skills that older speech students need. They have been receiving speech for years. Where to begin? How can you make the most of their time with you?
I have been there. You have this group of students. They might be complaining about being there. You are taking them out of content time or maybe their special which is their only break in the day. You want to make sure you are using their time wisely. I will give you my best tips to make sure that you know where to begin when it comes to working with older speech students. I want to help you make sure your activities and goals are functional and relevant for your older speech students.
Look at their last evaluation
Whether it was last year or 2-3 years ago. Look at the scores. Where did they struggle the most? Don't just look at subtests but look at composite scores. Is their main area of weakness receptive or expressive language? Was it vocabulary? Try to group together the areas of weakness and find some commonalities. Are they weak across the board? I will give you more tips on what to do next.
Speak with the classroom teachers
What are their biggest complaints? Where do they see this student struggling? Is it the writing? Comprehension? Decoding? Is it answering? Is it PROCESSING? What are they seeing in the classroom. You can even look at teacher reports in old meeting packets and files.
Use the data!
For most of our older speech students, they have been receiving speech services for year. Yes, there are a few that get initially evaluated later in their academic careers but it is rare. Look at the data. What has been worked on? What has been tried? How can you build upon that. If they are still struggling year after year on the same goals how can you break up those goals further to truly realize why they aren't able to meet these goals. What can you do differently.
Know the curriculum
By knowing the curriculum, and what your students are expected to accomplish in the classroom, you can make some appropriate decisions on goals (longer term and short term). What will give you the most bank for your buck with these students. What language skills can you work on that will correlate with what they are working on in the classroom? How can you support the curriculum and their needs? How can you learn the curriculum, ask an administrator or the classroom teacher for a copy of a curriculum map or textbook. Look at the standards your district/state is using (many are posted online). Look at copies of old state tests.
This is why I love working with older students. They all tend to be working on and need the same things:
Those three things tend to relate to all the other goals and skills our students need such as answering questions, written expression, context clues, inferencing, sequencing, main idea, etc.
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