Although one of the perks of doing private therapy is that I can see kids individually, I certainly remember the challenges of keeping a group of students engaged during speech therapy sessions when I worked in the schools! I had groups of five 3-year-olds to keep busy and engaged for up to an hour and a half per session.
These days my group experience is limited to observations and working with my clients in their classrooms so I get to see some terrific teachers and how they manage behavior. Last week I was in a 3-year-old preschool class and the teacher had 15 kids at circle time. She was quick to engage them, sprinkling in interactive instructions like “Turn your brain on…click” as they shifted their hand next to their head, or “Give me a silent laugh” as they raised their hands and pantomimed a cheer with frozen smiles. I couldn’t help laughing out loud at that one!
But, it was when the kids started to get squirmy that she pulled out her best prop, the Staples Easy Button. The kids perked up and when a child gave a good answer they could hit the button and hear, “THAT was easy!” and she had the full attention of the class.
Speech therapists are a clever bunch and I’m sure you all have some great techniques to keep kids attending during your therapy sessions. What works for you?