Tips for the Teachers of Students with Communication Disorders

June 27, 2014 2:40 am Schools ,

Hello! I’m so excited to start posting on my blog. I actually started this blog at the beginning of the 2013-204 school year. It was my first year working as an SLP at two schools; so it got a little more hectic than I anticipated. I’m going to start posting various ideas that I wanted to share throughout the year. My official first post will be about tips and strategies I often provide to teachers.

Here are some frequent questions I am asked by teachers and some corresponding strategies that I provide to them. I have worked with some amazing teachers that will do anything to see their students succeed.

How can I support their speech skills in the classroom? I love when teachers ask this, because, in order to achieve generalization of articulation skills, it has to be a team effort. Here are some ways:

  • Establish a visual reminder. The teacher can talk with your “speechie student” one on one and let him/her know that you will be listening to them use their “good speech” (i.e. smooth speech, slow rate of speech, correct production of “r”, “s” or “th”). When you hear them not using their “good speech” you will use a gesture/hand signal to remind them. Figure out with the student what type of visual reminder would help with reminding him/her (eye contact then touching your ear, pointing to your lips, touching your shoulder, pointing to the throat, etc). When you call on the student in class, casually use this predetermined signal to remind the student to use his/her good speech. Sometimes stickers on desks are effective reminders as well. For example, a sticker of a turtle to symbolize slower rate of speech. The teacher can point to the sticker when the child needs to slow down speaking rate.
  • Practice their speech homework with them. This is actually easier than it sounds. It can take the teacher anywhere from 1 minute to 5 minutes of her time once a week to provide that additional practice and feedback the student requires. I have witnessed some positive results not only in the student’s speech, but also in the relationship between the student and teacher. Children love receiving that one on one time with their teacher.
  • Help the child become aware of his/her speech sound. The teacher can provide the student a heads up if he/she is going to be called on in class to read aloud. Have the students underline anytime they see his/her speech sound (for example: underline all the “R”s) before they read to create awareness and prepare them to use their good speech.

What should I do when my student speaks too loudly or too quietly in the classroom?

How can I help my student remember their vocabulary?

  • The vocabulary learning process needs to be a multimodal approach; the child needs to say the word (have the student repeat the word after it has been presented), hear the word (teacher uses the word on multiple occasions) see the word (word corresponding with pictures), touch the word (clapping or tapping the syllables of the word, skywriting the word, ) and use the word (draw picture representations, provide examples, associated words) Think about when a child is first learning to talk and all of the strategies you use around them to teach them words: repetition, modeling, expansion, visualization, etc.
  • Here are some strategies/graphic organizers I have utilized with students:

o   LINCs vocabulary-see demonstration here:

o   “Own the Word”, “Frayer Model” and “Knowledge Rating Scale” can be found here-

What should I do when my student needs reminders to get started on a task and/or finish a task?

  • This may be attributed to the child’s executive functioning ( Again, implementation of some visual reminders, such as a Stop sign (to complete a task) or a green light (to commence a task) can be utilized. An example can be found here:
  • Visual timers-Inform the child that he/she has “X” amount of time to finish the activity; then set the visual timer. Keep in mind that some students require additional time to finish work, but the task shouldn’t take up their entire day. Here is an awesome article with examples of various timers:
  • Side note: If a child is requiring additional time to finish an assignment, the assignment may need to be condensed or broken into segments (allow breaks). Remember, it’s about quality not quantity. Accomodations can be made for the student such as frequent breaks or condensing the assignment on their IEP.

My student is afraid to talk in class. How do I know if he/she understands the concept?

  • For a couple of years, I worked closely with an amazing ESE teacher that provided services via the inclusion model. She would recommend to the teachers to create a small card for the student’s desk with red construction paper on one side and green on the other. When the child doesn’t understand the concept he/she can flip the card to red, and then flip the card to green when the concept is understood. Also, a simple thumbs up or thumbs down signal from the student would suffice. Again, talk with the student one on one to determine what method he/she may feel the most comfortable utilizing.

If you have additional strategies to share, please comment below!


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