Carryover: Practice for Parents
Today's post is about maximizing the work we do in the classroom by promoting carryover at home. This topic was inspired by one of the requests shared during the February SLP poll
, which specially asked for: "Support and ideas to give parents to help them work on skills between therapy visits"
Daily practice and reinforcement is very important for children as they are learning and developing new skills. As speech therapists working in early intervention, we know how true this is. Many of the children on our caseload we see only 1-2 times a week (sometimes even less!) as per their IEP and with the demands of high caseloads, paperwork, meetings, etc. We also know that our therapy sessions may not always be the ideal that we wish they were.
With all these factors at play, we know how important and helpful it is to have parents reinforcing the work we do in the classroom and in homecare. In addition, many parents may not be certain how to help their child, so it is our job to point them in the right direction and provide hands-on communication-based speech and language activities for them to do with their children at home.
Now, all of this is much easier said than done. When you are a busy SLP managing the demands of the job, sending notes and practice exercises home with your students is an easy thing to let slide. However, I do have a few methods that I use to keep parents informed, but not spend hours doing so.
Therapy Notes! I created a note that reads "Speech & Language Therapy" at the top and has my name and contact info at the bottom. The body of the note says: "(Child's name) was seen today (the date) for speech therapy. The skills we worked on today include (blank lines to talk about what we did/personal notes)."
Make TWO of Everything! If I use a printout of articulation words, etc, I just make two and send one home.
Vocabulary List/Pictures! This takes a little more time, but when the classroom teacher chooses the book of the month, we identify vocab from the story and I make Boardmaker pictures to use in class. We send black-and-white copy of the same words/pictures home for the families. Some families choose to then buy the book or rent it from the library.
Send Home the Recipes! This also takes a little more time, but it's worth it. When we do recipes at school, I will type up/photocopy the ingredients and directions for all the children in the class. I include the date and the child's name and will sometimes write a very brief comment, such as "Joey really loved this recipe today!" or "Amy helped us read all the directions" so that the parents will have some info to reinforce at home. Parents love this and will often choose to remake the recipe at home.
I would love to hear some other suggestions - anything to save time!