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

Thumbnail for Speech Therapy Goal Name Tags by Seldom Speechless. Picture of student name tag with the text Brittney is working on and then pictures representing the g sound, asking questions, following directions, and interpreting non-verbal.

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 name tag pockets at the Target Dollar Spot (Thanks Target for always being there when I need ya!). The adhesive pockets 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 check it out!

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 name tag.

I have also sent goal name tags home or with classroom aides to increase generalization and ensure everyone is working toward the same end goals. The name tags are great for students using AAC devices as well. I tape a copy of a student’s goal name tag 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.

On the topic of goals!

While we are talking about goals, don’t forget to check out the Speech Therapy Goal Bank in the Seldom Speechless Freebie Library. It includes 250+ IEP objectives and 100+ IEP Accommodations that you can copy, paste, & go!

Grab your copy here!

Thanks for reading!

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!