As SLPs, we don’t have a lot of time to create a lesson plan for speech therapy sessions. In grad school, you might have spent hours planning for a one hour session with one student. Maybe you even had to write up your detailed plans, with several back-up ideas ready for the easily bored child.
But then comes the real world. Therapy planning has to happen quickly and for multiple students in each session, with multiple goals. The sessions are more complicated, but the rest of the job doesn’t get any easier either!
Honestly, we all have times when the paperwork is stacking up, the evaluations are knocking on our door, and we need to do therapy NOW! We find ourselves winging it, grabbing whatever works, and just trying to stay caught up.
But, it really is best practice to have a plan, one that keeps our students’ individual goals in mind, and targets those needs in an efficient, smart way.
Most importantly, you need to have a SIMPLE plan that you can stick with. You’re not saving yourself any time by reinventing your system every few months.
When I am creating a lesson plan for speech therapy, I like to look at the following areas:
I’ve gushed about the benefits of theme-based speech therapy before. A theme provides a foundation for your lesson. It also provides contextual environments to work and apply new skills towards.
As you get to know your caseload, you will get to know their goals too. Make a list of the types of goals that you need to cover each week for everyone on your caseload. This will help you keep those activities in mind as you are planning.
Your students will know what to expect if you follow a given schedule or routine each week. This can still be simple, like having a warm-up activity, and a fun activity at the end. When you keep a routine, you will have fewer challenging behaviors to manage. Some students will greatly benefit from having a visual schedule of this routine.
Every lesson plan for speech therapy should include engaging activities, but don’t make the mistake of skipping right to the activities first! I know it’s the fun part of therapy and play is super important. But, if you don’t have your students’ goals in mind, you won’t be able to effectively use games or activities in your therapy sessions. Make your sessions engaging and have the kids wanting more by planning fun activities. Make progress by making sure you activities are goal-centric.
I like to look at activities and materials I already have that will address the goals I need. Then I make a list if there are any additional materials or activities needed to address any remaining goals.
Although drilling vocabulary words is not the best use of speech therapy time, intentionally teaching vocabulary strategies will be an important part of therapy for most of your language impaired students.
Different students will have different vocabulary needs. For each unit, I like to plan out specific targets for:
If I include all of those areas, it basically covers my entire caseload’s vocabulary needs.
So those are my 5 steps to creating a lesson plan for speech therapy. Print the lesson plans you create or file them digitally on your computer to refer to in the future. It’s not really a curriculum, but it is a rhythm you can follow year after year! Quick, simple, and beneficial for years to come!
If you haven’t check out my Themed Language Therapy Units for Speech Therapy, you’ll see that all of this work is done for you, plus all the materials are included to provide about a month’s worth of speech therapy. I’ve created 10 theme packs to cover you for a full school year! Of course, you can add in your favorite thematic toys, games, or activities, but know that I’ve got you covered!
If you would like to learn more about my lesson planning process, I actually created a one hour course called Simplified Elementary Language Therapy Planning that explains my therapy planning process in detail (it’s on my Podia site and you’ll need to sign in to register, but it’s FREE!).
The presentation includes FREE handouts, including this Therapy Planning worksheet AND my Vocabulary Planning worksheet.
If you’re a fan of Speechy Musings materials, you will see how my lesson planning process influences the materials that I create. Get some ideas of how to better use the materials you already have through my lesson planning process.