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.

How do you plan for your therapy sessions? Whether you are using classroom materials, working through a published curriculum, or using seasonal themes for content, there are a couple of important pieces that should be consistent across therapy models. Using a lesson plan can help document all those pieces and support effective (and efficient!) collaboration with your supervising SLP! 

  • activity for the session - for example… Students will create a list of words associated with December. Students will listen to a story and complete associated project. Student will use glossary of textbook to learn new vocabulary words.
  • IEP goals being addressed - this might be different for each student in your group, but it is important for YOU to remember what you are targeting, and important to be able to tell YOUR STUDENTS why they are doing what they’re doing. This makes therapy more effective – even with young children! In any of our examples of sessions from the section above a variety of goals could be targeted:

correct production of /s/ and /z/ in words

naming categories and items in categories

maintaining on-topic conversation

practice strategies for identifying and remembering important information

  • materials you will need - Having them all listed in one place makes it easy to get materials together in the 5 minutes between groups on a busy day! 
  • results or data - What kind of data do you expect to collect from the session? This could be plus/minuses tallied throughout the session, or it could be evaluation of the finished “product” of the session (e.g. Did the student follow your 2-step directions?). Would it work to run through your word list at the beginning of the session, and again at the end? Or maybe your data is taken at the beginning of the next session, based on information retained? Again, planning ahead will ensure that you leave yourself time and opportunity to collect the data you need.
  • possible adaptations - Make a note about how you might adapt the lesson, if necessary. As you gain experience in the field, and get to know your individual students better, this will come more naturally. But even the most experienced among us find ourselves scrambling for materials if we haven’t planned carefully. Students surprise us every day by needing more support than we expected or surpassing our expectations!

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.