Having worked in the public and private schools for over 20 years, and now in private practice, I still feel like I am going back to school in September. I remember getting all the class lists, schedules, changes in schedules and putting together my caseload list. Next, get my schedule approved by all the teachers and start in right away working with the kids. Whew! Makes me sweat just thinking about it.

As speech therapists know, who work in or outside the schools, one of the critical aspects to progress is child and parent participation outside the classroom. It has been my experience that this is harder to manage as a school clinician versus one in private practice (partly because I work in homes and SEE the parents every time) but I worked very hard to implement carryover when I was a school therapist.

I find that I can set up charts, take home communication books, games and offers of prizes for practice but the key element for carryover outside the therapy session is the parents’ involvement. Something that worked well when I was a therapist in the public and private schools was to invite the parent to observe a therapy session so they could see what and how we were working on their child’s goals. I know some districts have gotten stricter about allowing observations since others might be grouped with their child but it is worth trying to work it out with your administration. When parents see how you are getting the correct speech or language output and how to make it fun for some daily practice, they are more apt to be involved. After an observation, some form of communication book to pass back and forth from school to home helps maintain the carryover.

Let me know in the comments below, what works for you to get the parents involved and kids practicing outside of the therapy room? What excited your kids to practice between sessions?