Digital Resources Give New Look to Speech Sessions

Digital Resources Give a New Look to Speech Therapy Sessions
Posted on 11/15/2019
This is the image for the news article titled Digital Resources Give a New Look to Speech Therapy Sessionsstudents in speech therapy session

If you stop into Brittany Schafer’s fifth-grade speech therapy session, you’d be surprised at how engaged her students are – and at how much she can cover in just 30 minutes.  

New resources are changing the look of traditional speech therapy sessions. While Schafer still uses flash cards, worksheet exercises and games like Apples to Apples, Lakota teachers now have access to new digital resources that can transform the way they teach and the way students learn.

One of the new resources is Nearpod, a student engagement platform recently purchased for Lakota staff.

“I can put together an interactive lesson for our IPads covering all of the goals for a small group of students, in just 10 minutes,” said Schafer.

Schafer says “sometimes it’s hard to get students excited about coming to speech.” But with these new tools – her students walk into her speech room excited to get started.

Freedom fifth-grader Aubrey loves these reimagined speech lessons because “the games are lots of fun.” Her fellow group members agree; Daniel adds that they “help keep me focused” and Sid says they have “helped me improve my grammar.”

During the group session, the three students work side-by-side, supporting each other and giving each other high-fives when a skill is mastered. While Schafer works one-on-one to help with certain skills, she often works with students in these “mixed” groups. Mixed groups include students who can be working on different speech goals.

“The new digital tools help me cover all of the goals of the students in a group,” said Schafer. “The mixed group setting is great, because students will work on areas that are challenging, but also be exposed to topics that they are strong in. This keeps students from getting burned out by working on just trouble areas.” 

A recent lesson was called ‘Time to Climb’ and included activities that had students making sentences out of scrambled words, matching pictures, taking a poll, drawing an IPad and describing its uses, listing items in a category and more.

Schafer was able to address a wide range of skills like vocabulary, language, articulation, social skills, and fluency. The digital tools tabulate results for each student so she can keep track of the progress each student is making. Schafer can even share these lessons with parents so that they can see the work their students are doing, and to help continue that learning at home.

New resources like Nearpod allow Schafer and other Lakota speech therapists to not only personalize learning, but also to help students gain the skills they need after graduation to succeed in one of the “4 E’s” - Enrollment in college, Enlistment in the military, Employment in our workforce, or Entrepreneurship. Lakota’s Portrait of a Graduate clearly defines these skills, and Shafer’s mixed group sessions incorporate many of the skills: critical thinking, problem solving, being adaptable learners, and being responsible collaborators. Speech students also work on being effective communicators as they discuss the lessons and review answers/content. 

The new digital resources can also be used for station rotation during a speech lesson. Schafer said “I have so many ideas on how to make lessons more engaging – I’m just getting started.”