Using Behavior Routines in Speech Therapy

What are behavior routines?

Behavior routines are sets of expectations consistently implemented and reinforced in order to support attention, self-regulation, and autonomy.

Why use behavior routines?

First, establishing behavior routines frees up cognitive resources allowing you and your students to focus on what is really important–the intervention. As with anything, when you are learning to do something it requires attention and effort, but after you do it CONSISTENTLY and REPEATEDLY it becomes automated. Once your students have learned the behavior routines, they will implement them automatically allowing them to focus their effort and attention on you and the skill you are targeting.

Second, establishing behavior routines supports self-regulation and increases autonomy. I can relate to my students who feel disregulated when things are unexpected or outside of my control. Establishing routines provides your students with consistency, which supports self-regulation. Additionally, once the routines are established your students do not need to rely on you to know what to do, which gives them autonomy and a sense of control.

What do behavior routines look like in speech therapy?

FREEBIE! Click here to download the visuals pictured above.

My school district uses the Responsive Classroom Model, which is a student-centered, social and emotional learning approach to teaching and discipline. It is evidence-based and emphasizes building interest in learning through engaging academics, positive community, effective management, and developmental awareness. I use many of the components in my own behavior routines.

One component of classroom management that they teach is the idea of using “teacher language” to effectively communicate expectations to your students. I use “teacher language” (i.e., reminding language, reinforcing language, and redirecting language) to consistently reinforce the routines I have established with my students. They have an excellent book about this topic called The Power of Our Words by Paula Denton Ed.D. I wrote a four-part blog series about how it applies to Speech Language Pathologists, if you are interested you can check that out here.

In my description of my personal speech therapy routines above, I mention two resources that I incorporate into my routines that help establish a rhythm to the session: goal nameplates and speech bins. You can read more about those tools here: goal name tags & speech bins.

What do behavior routines look like in your speech therapy sessions?

Thanks for reading!