This is part of a continuing series of posts on therapy ideas to support assistants (SLPAs) and paraprofessionals in the schools in their work with students and their supervising SLPs.

In addition to behavior management issues, SLPA’s and their supervising SLPs should consider the specific needs of their students with Attention Deficit with or without Hyperactivity (AD/HD) in the context of their speech and language goals. Clare Jones, Ph.D. and Jill Fahy, M.A., CCC-SLP give some great suggestions in Linguisystem’s presentation on Attention Disorders. Here are some ideas of how you might address attention issues within your current speech/language activities: 

Model self-talk to teach internal monitoring: 

  • “What were the directions?”
  • “Hmmm… I need to ask for help.”
  • “Am I ready to listen?”
  • Teach and practice, “Stop. Think. Plan. Do.”

Are you working on following directions?

  • Get confirmation that the student heard you.
  • Have him restate the directions in his own words.
  • Make sure she knows the signs of someone getting ready to give important directions.

Are you working on vocabulary? 

  • Teach the difference between ‘want’, ‘feel’, and ‘know’
  • Talk about thinking and planning verbs – decide, hope, wait, worry, wonder, plan, schedule
  • Introduce a new emotion word each session

Are you working on syntax or complex sentences? 

  • Teach predicting to talk about consequences (“If… then…”)
  • Practice decision making by looking at pros and cons
  • Model planning through sequencing and time words – first, next, then, before, after, when

Find more information in this ASHA Technical Report, at the Children and Adults with Attention Deficit Disorder National Association, and at the National Resource Center for Attention Deficit.

SLPAs and paraprofessionals should always operate within the scope defined by state and national licensing organizations and should only conduct allowable tasks under the supervision of a speech-language pathologist.