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.

Fall is a fresh start – a chance to start clean – and many of us take that opportunity to reorganize or implement new routines. Routine is so important for learning, and with the limited time we have with students (20 minutes sometimes!), it can help us efficiently focus on student goals. 

Well-designed routines can support students emotionally, cognitively, and socially. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs informs our understanding of children’s needs. It follows that when children feel secure, and when they know what to expect, we have fewer behavior problems and increased engagement around learning and practicing new skills. 

Do students know what to expect when they spend their scheduled time with you? Does your routine support the goals you are addressing or do you spend too much time on extra steps like finding a sticker, moving things from one place to the next? A simple routine will be easier for students to understand, more likely to be learned quickly and followed consistently, and leave you more time for therapy!

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.