Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Speech Therapy Disaster!

Maybe not a disaster---at least not like a train wreck or the Titanic---but at that moment, when a graduate intern, an occupational therapist, a teacher, a TA, and I couldn't settle down four unsettled children, with the din rapidly increasing in an ear-splitting crescendo, and children literally escaping, it seemed like a disaster!

Let's start from the beginning--

1. The week before, all of the related service people (OT, graduate student intern, SLP) collaboratively planned a lesson.  It was to be taught jointly integrating fine motor skills, literacy skills, and language skills.  It was to go along with our summer ocean theme.  We found an inexpensive paper plate version of a rainbow fish and discussed supplementing the easy craft with a Tarheel Reader book (adapted with Boardmaker manipulatives) and some music.  It seemed fun to me!  It was a nice way for kids to answer questions, predict the steps, follow directions, make choices, and comment.

2.  All of the materials were prepared.  A sample rainbow fish was made, a YouTube music video was found, an adapted book was prepared, communication boards were completed, directions and photos were programmed into Pictello. We had a picture schedule all ready! It had the makings of a perfect lesson--one for the textbooks
screen shot of Pictello directions
Another screen shot--text to speech output as well!

3.  We did a trial run the day before with one of the children, and he loved it! His rainbow fish was beautiful! I was certain this activity would go smooth as silk with the class after this. 

3.  The appointed time came for us, the therapy goddesses, to descend upon the class.  The first glitch (after the video) was immediately apparent when most started loud protests when asked to write their names.  ("No writing!" "No back of plate, FRONT" "I don't want a red marker! I don't want brown"  "No, No, No!")   It only got worse---resulting in no euphoric rush from teaching a great lesson today.  I'll skip the gory details.   Needless to say, teaching children doesn't always turn out the way we want---and I've certainly had my share of difficult times.  After each trying moment, I do try to self-evaluate, and learn a new strategy or two to prevent the same outcome.  We did try to plan for communication needs, multiple learning styles, and behavior---obviously not effectively.

So, lessons learned here?
  • Plan a way for students to protest a little more appropriately.
  • Give kids more choices if possible.
  • During the fine motor activities, give the children more room--split up into two smaller groups.
  • Provide a reinforcing activity following the perhaps less desirable one. 
  • Show enthusiasm.             
Just last week, the class did great with a different, yet similar type of activity. I just need to keep the above pointers more front and center in my mind, and remember that moods and motivators fluctuate with everyone, including the kids.  We just need think ahead if possible to ward off more potential disasters!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.