Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Facilitating Generalization: #2 Share Goals AND Progress with Others!

One aspect of a speech language pathologist's job that is imperative to successful communication is facilitating generalization as many of our students/clients struggle with showing their classroom teachers or parents all the skills they have mastered for us in the therapy room.  This series of posts will focus on tips, that have worked for me, which can help you facilitate generalization of learned skills to new environments.

Step #2: Share goals and progress with others!

I know this tip also sounds obvious, yet I've been shocked over and over with the number of times I've participated in a transition meeting for an incoming preschooler whose SLPs, classroom teachers or special educators could not explain what the student was working on in speech.  I also am aware of the fact that many school districts require a snapshot IEP to be presented to classroom teachers at the beginning of the school year, but it has been my experience that the beginning of the school year is overwhelming for everyone and those snapshots go by the wayside often without a glance.  So a simple email or written reminder of the basic goals your student is working on with you will go a long way in helping the classroom teacher.

Remember your student's success is not placed solely on his/her shoulders but should be the shared responsibility of all staff and guardians involved.  So remember to share the students goals AND progress with classroom teachers, special educators, academic coaches, school social workers or psychologists and of course parents.  A simple email or paper reminder will do the trick.  When I worked in the schools, I would update teachers weekly on students progress mostly through quick classroom visits (a "drive by" so to speak) or emails.  However, there are times I needed to have something in writing for parents or other staff and a very basic update.  Some of the things I was sure to share were not just overall IEP goals but, if I needed to back track and create a short term goal to reach those IEP goals, I would be sure to share those and the techniques and methods that work best for this student. Very rarely did I have to ask a teacher or parent to follow through with using the techniques as just sharing them seemed to be enough of an invitation to support them using them.

Tip:  I also would ask teachers how I could help them reach their goals for students.  This is the best way I have found to collaborate (especially for older elementary and middle school students).  Once teachers knew I wanted to support them, they were also willing to support me!

That's Step #2 in a nutshell.  If you missed Step #1 click here.  Stay tuned for Step #3 next week.
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