Teaching Goal Ownership to Speech Therapy Students for Greater Carryover

Have you ever asked your students why they think they come to speech therapy? It can be a really eye-opening experience.

From the Mouths of Babes

To learn reading…okay, close. I love literacy-based therapy, so we use a lot of picture books, and we often work on narrative. This is incorrect, but logical.

To have fun…yes, we do have a lot of fun, but the toys and games have a purpose, and they are not the reason you are here.

To learn math…honestly, this one hurts.

Something Needed to Change

After receiving many responses like the ones above and noticing that my students were not demonstrating carryover, I knew something needed to change.

How can a student carryover a skill if they don’t even realize they are learning it?! To bridge this gap and help my young students (preschool to third grade) understand and remember their speech therapy goals, I knew I needed to build goal ownership tasks into my speech therapy sessions.

Enter: Speech Therapy Goal Name Tags

Photo of Speech Therapy Goal Nameplates prepped to use with students.

I knew I needed a resource that was visual for my non-readers, easy to switch out/ manage during quick session transitions, and provided minimal distraction for my students. That was when I discovered adhesive nameplate pockets at the Target Dollar Spot (Thanks Target for always being there when I need ya!). I immediately knew the pockets would make switching out the goal visuals quick and easy, and keep the visuals out of my student’s fidgety fingers!

Speech Therapy Goal Name Tags

Speech Therapy Goal Name Tags were designed to provide even our youngest students with a highly visual, distraction-free tool for recalling and identifying their speech therapy goals. Over 100 different speech therapy goals are represented in this product–covering articulation to AAC. Check out the video below to see how the Low-Prep Speech Therapy Goal Name Tag Creator hosted on Google Slides works.

How I Use Goal Name Tags in Speech Therapy Sessions

At the beginning of every session, I quickly slide each student’s goal name tag into the adhesive pocket in front of them on my speech therapy table. Next, using a dry erase marker, I circle the goal we will be targeting in today’s session. If we are targeting multiple goals, I will explain that or erase and re-circle as we transition skills.

At the end of every session, I ask the students to recall what goal we were targeting and give me an example. For example, a student might respond, “We are practicing telling stories. I told you the parts of Dragons Love Tacos.” or “We are working on past-tense verbs like I threw the baseball.”

When a student masters a goal, we will review the skill, discuss the progress made, and then add a special sticker or a checkmark with a permanent marker to that goal icon on the nameplate.

I have also sent goal nameplates home or with classroom aides to increase generalization and ensure everyone is working toward the same end goals. The nameplates are great for students using AAC devices as well. I tape a copy of a student’s goal nameplate to the back of their device or place it inside their device carrying case.

Why use Speech Therapy Goal Name Tags?

Teaching your students their speech therapy goals is empowering. Not only does it presume competence and reinforce a growth mindset, but it will increase carryover and support generalization. When students understand and can recall their speech therapy goals, they will notice opportunities to practice and be more likely to self-correct in other settings.

Thanks for reading!

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