Planning early intervention sessions: should you even try?!

29 Sep

I got an email from Emily, a new CF and an EI therapist asking how I plan my sessions. It seems like good info to share. If you guys have ideas or things you do please share! I always love hearing new ideas:

“I’ll tell ya, I have NOT been doing lesson plans like I did in grad school. How can I? Right now I’ve got, 6 kids I see in the center and 7 that I see in their homes – plus adult and child evals. There’s not a chance to do lesson plans unless I want to work a zillion hours of overtime!

Here’s what I do: before a session I make sure I have a data sheet with my client’s goals written on them. I bring a bag of items into the home. One bag, for the whole day. Every kid gets the same bag (except sometimes I take out the doll or the barbie coloring books for the boys – more for the parents than for the kid.) (Also I wash the toys between sessions!) I alternate the items every week or two so I’m not using the same toys every week. Then I offer choices, “Hey Timmy, I brought a puzzle and a car” and then follow their lead. That way I know whatever we’re using – they’re motivated by it.

With 0-3 you really CAN’T plan – you have no idea what this kid is going to want or how long they’ll be interested. My supervisor says make yourself the toy, you are the spectacle, you need to be in the spotlight. I’m not so great at that yet – but I’m working on it!

I take what interests the kids and I fit their speech-lang goals into their interests. If I don’t have a toy that I can see an obvious way to slip in /m/ words I make that toy make robot /m/ sounds or car /m/. It is way easier to squash goals into an activity rather than hoping that a kid will want to play with the MMMMMonkey or the M-soup you brought. In grad school I would try to plan a WHOLE 50 minute session around the sound /p/ but I had the time and energy to do that. Now it just isn’t realistic. And how badly does a two year old need to say “peach” or some other crazy initial p-word?

And you’re right: targeting functional language is a great thing to do! More, give me, mine, all done, go, up, down, in, out, wow, hi, help, no, etc. I do it in every session and there is a lot of functional language that targets those early sounds (p, b, m, n, w, h) and then (t, d, g, k) (at least according to the GFTA).”

NP: KT Tunstall – The Other Side of the World


One Response to “Planning early intervention sessions: should you even try?!”

  1. cmf October 1, 2012 at 2:10 pm #

    I am so happy to read this entry. I am endlessly frustrated with young therapists who spend all their time and effort into making elaborate theme-based EI lesson plans with cute little graphics and multi-step activities. Then they spend the whole session trying to get the child to do what’s in their lesson plan. The have missed a million opportunities to teach realistic, functional and fun-to-learn skills.The therapist is frustrated, the kids hate it, and the parents either can’t believe that their child is so non-compliant, think the therapist is clueless/ineffective or decide that this a big waste of their time.

    Know your goals and objectives (write them on a big page if you need a visual reminder) and then PLAY, PLAY, PLAY. If it’s not fun, they won’t do it and then they won’t learn anything.

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