We all know that articulation therapy can be monotonous, repetitive and boring for both the SLP and the student. Sometimes, I feel like I have to come up the most amazing therapy materials, activities and parties just to keep my students slightly engaged (or scavenge TPT for some great materials)!
Well, the other day, I was working with a student and we sort of stumbled upon a fun idea. This idea not only helped the student drill his articulation, but it also helped him listen for correct productions, self monitor and discriminate between sounds. Best of all, it empowered him to be confident about his speech. Want to know the idea?
My student became MY speech therapist. Yes, without a degree, he spent an entire session telling me what to say, how many times to say it, if I correctly or incorrectly produced the sound and even helped me with my placement. After sitting through so many sessions, I guess he learned a lot about what we do as a profession! He had a blast and I truly saw his confidence soar.
Now, this isn’t recommended for all students. I suggest doing this with a student who you have been seeing for a while and who is working on generalization. You need to do this with a student who knows how your sessions work, what you usually say and do and can produce the sound more than 50% of the time. I would also recommend doing this once a month at most! In fact, I am going to use this as a reward for having a great month (or two). Lastly, I would recommend using this with younger kids because older kids might catch on to you ‘faking’ your bad sounds.
When choosing session materials, pick any material that the student is familiar with. That way, the student knows the directions, how to use the materials, what to say, etc.
During therapy, explain to the student that today (and today only) he/she will become the speech therapist. Go through the session as if you were the student. For example, make mistakes, ask questions and ask for demonstrations.
First, ask the student, ‘How do I make the _____ sound?’. Have the student demonstrate it for you. After your student demonstrates, make sure your placement is incorrect and do this 2-3 times. Have your student correct your placement each time. After multiple incorrect placements, correct your errors and see if your student notices.
Next, make the sound using the incorrect articulation. See if your student can tell you if you produced the sound correctly or incorrectly. Alternate between incorrect and correct productions. If the student is struggling, help him/her by saying, ‘I don’t think that was right, do you?’. Continue therapy and make sure to ask the student many questions such as, ‘Now what should I say’, ‘How many times should I say it’, ‘Did I say it right/wrong?’, ‘Help me say it again’. Prompt your student in ways where you make him/her say the sound, identify correct/incorrect productions and demonstrate for you. Do it in a way where the student feels like he/she is in control (even though we all know that we are in control of the session).
This type of therapy session is a great way to empower your student, help with self monitoring skills and generalization and most of all, build your student’s confidence. Your students will love the session and you will too. Honestly, it’s kind of fun to be the student again. I hope you enjoy this session and I hope that your new SLP isn’t too hard on you!