Therapy in the Classroom
Today I have a question for all the therapists who are working in a preschool setting. My question is this: where do you do the majority of your therapy? In my current school, there has been a recent push to do therapy within the student's preschool classroom. As we all know, however, sometimes that is easier to do than at other times.
For now, I would say I do about 75 percent of my therapy within the classroom and about 25 percent as pull-out to the speech room. Many of the little ones I work with have some really challenging issues regarding focus and attention. Preschool classrooms are thumping with energy and sound! Even though the ultimate goal is for the child to successfully and efficiently function within the classroom environment, isn't part of why they are receiving speech services to begin with because they need that one-on-one and/or small group specialized instruction??!
Removing them from the enthusiastically noisy hustle and bustle of their class and working with them in a quiet, structured environment helps them. I feel I am providing an opportunity for them to gain the communication skills they lack as well as the confidence to use their words and hear their own voice. Once they do that in the speech room, then we can work on carrying it over to the classroom. If I can barely keep their attention and focus, then how is therapy within the classroom helping them?
In addition, if the child has specific articulation goals, working on them within the classroom really doesn't make much sense to me. Although I can help to ensure the child is carrying over skills from our sessions to the larger group setting, I feel that while the child is learning to make the sounds, they need to be able to hear me and their own speech. They need numerous opportunities to practice the words and sounds. Some of my caseload just started talking in the past year. Sounds, words and speech are all still so new and abstract for them. Why not give them an ideal setting to build the foundation they so desperately need to learn how to communicate?
As I stated, I am in the classroom the majority of the time, working one-on-one, in small groups and co-teaching with the teacher and other therapists. However, there are times when I honestly feel that a child is best served in a quieter environment (at least until they can strengthen their skills) without distractions so that they can have the optimal learning environment.
I would love to hear therapist thoughts and feedback on this issue!