Anyone else’s district seem hyper-focused on the least restrictive environment (LRE)? Sometimes it seems it is all we talk about for students receiving special education services. So much so that we move from too many students being served in a small group resource setting to too many being served (inappropriately) in a general education (or co-taught) setting. Come on, no one model is best for everyone. It is an Individualized Education Program/Plan, right?
So what about when it comes to speech-language services? Where are those students being served?
In our experience, we see that MOST are seen in the speech room – you know that closet with no windows. Pulled from reading…or science…or chorus…or art history to work on speech and/or language skills. Hopefully they know what skill(s) they are working on, why they come – hopefully they come! The skills may be embedded in a curricular context but how often is it based on the context of the class they just left? How often do they return to that class having missed out on the instruction entirely? Hmmm…hard to say. Depends on the student, on the goals, on the class, on the day, on the week, on the month…geez give us a break. We have large caseloads, are overloaded with paperwork, and have tons of additional duties and responsibilities!
One size does not fit all but maybe we should better look at each student individually. Where will their needs best be met? It may very well be that the speech room is THAT place! But what about those for whom it is not? What about the students who are better served in their classroom setting (be it a special education, general education, or co-taught environment)?
Being in the classroom is such a rewarding experience. Not only do you, as the SLP, get to see the fast-paced curriculum your students are learning (or struggling to keep up with) but you get to show off your knowledge. Let those teachers see how they can incorporate language, scaffolding, strategies all day long…to build those skills that your students lack even when you’re not there.
Maybe you pick one teacher or one grade level. Maybe you go in once a week or once a month. Maybe you plan a 10-minute mini lesson or maybe you support the instruction that is already occurring. Maybe you do station teaching or parallel teaching, or maybe you and the teacher plan an hour-long lesson to team teach together. After all, it’s not a one size fits all model – for the students or the teacher(s) or SLP(s).
Download your free printable here for descriptions of the various models of co-teaching:
Give it a try. Maybe, just maybe, you’ll LOVE it and want to do more. And maybe the students will get much more of what they need.
Co-teaching is only one way to switch up your service delivery. Come back and visit as we expand on the service delivery discussion in our next three posts. We’ll cover planning for co-teaching, determining service time and a different and fun model for adolescents.
Comment below and tell us how you think outside the box for service delivery…