How School SLPs Can Make Mixed Group Speech Therapy Work!
“Waitaminute, what?! On top of everything else, you mean I’m supposed to plan activities, maintain student participation and engagement, measure progress, take data, AND target individual goals – for multiple students with varying needs ALL AT THE SAME TIME?!”
Well, yes. But you can do it! After all, you’re a speech and language superstar.
Here’s how to make it work!
What is a Speech Therapy Mixed Group?
First, the basics. So, what is a speech therapy mixed group, anyway? A speech therapy mixed group is a group of students with different needs and varying SLP goals. In a mixed group, students’ goals may involve any number of speech-language issues, including:
- Auditory discrimination
- Expressive language
- Receptive language
- Written language
Why Have Speech Therapy Mixed Groups?
Speech therapy mixed groups sound daunting, but they are actually excellent opportunities for several reasons:
- Time during school is limited, and mixed groups provide an opportunity to get more speech therapy time in with our kids.
- Because speech-language goals are interrelated, addressing certain areas (like expressive language) will help strengthen other areas (like receptive language).
- Group activities allow students to interact in real-world situations with their peers, which mirrors their everyday social interactions in the classroom and beyond.
- Group activities are fun! Any time we can interject fun into therapy to help kids feel engaged, upbeat and confident, it’s a win!
Planning for Speech Therapy Mixed Groups
You can imagine the results if you don’t plan well for these groups: wasted time and possibly even chaos! To prepare, follow these tips compiled from Lockhart and Wu via slptoolkit.com:
- Have everyone in the group participate in the same activity.
- If one activity isn’t possible, use stations.
- Try activities like coloring sheets, wordless picture books, crafts, turn taking games, etc.
- Pre-teach, teach and re-teach expectations.
- Create visuals outlining expected behaviors – keep hands to yourself, take turns talking, etc.
- Use a points system with praise or prizes.
- Be flexible and improvise when needed.
Resources for SLP Mixed Group Activities
You can always create mixed group plans from scratch, but why reinvent the wheel? Check out these sites with ideas for SLP mixed group activities:
Speech Peeps Resources for Mixed Groups – Here you’ll find over 20 activities with multiple SLPgoals like:
- Articulation Context Cue Cards Using Vocabulary
- Nonfiction Texts Targeting Articulation and Language
- Print and Go Trioramas for Articulation, Language and Social Skills
Speech Time Fun – This page has links to activities and products to use with mixed groups, including:
- Wordless picture books
- Apps like Chatterpix, The Bag Game, and Smarty Ears
- Products like Differentiated Question Scenes and Articulation Comics
The Speech Bubble – Here is a resource with activities that work for larger groups of 10 or more with suggestions like:
- Visiting the library
- Using crafts that involve describing and sequencing
- Being an Eggspert
With a bit of planning, you’ll be well on your way to facilitating effective SLP mixed-group activities! Then, you’ll be able to help another SLP who’s stumped about handling this new challenge.
You’ve got this!
Find out where students need your specialized skills as a school SLP now!