Speech During A Pandemic

As we enter the month before most schools start, I began to take sometime to get my list of must have for school next year. My school has not made the decision yet on what we are doing, but I do know that speech during a pandemic is going to have to look a bit different. Here are some of the items I have on my back to school list.

Expectations– Spend the first week of therapy talking about expectations for your speech room. Most years I have done this in bits and pieces, but this year I am going to tackle it hard. Make sure the students know what you expect for them, and have them decided ways they can keep other students safe that use your classroom. Some ideas are showing where the tissues are, using hand sanitizer when you come in and out of the room, staying in your assigned seat, etc.

Clean Me Bucket– I know that I don’t have a ton of time between groups, so I made this Clean Me bucket for when I do have time. Students can put things in here that they have used so I can clean them for other students. You can grab your decal to make your own bucket here.

Dry Erase Markers– Did you know you can write on most tables/desks with dry erase marker and it comes up easily? (Make sure to try it out first.) Draw a square, circle, line boundaries to keep students in their area of the table to reduce the spread of germs. Having students stay in their bubble of the table doesn’t have to be scary for them, but turn it into a game!

Sensory Bottles– Sensory bins are so last year… Just kidding! I will still be using sensory bins, but to start the year I’m using sensory bottles. These can be filled with lots of small objects that you can use to illicit language. Sensory bottles are also a great way to meet sensory seeking behavior needs, while being able to quickly wipe down between students.

Extra Dice– Make sure to have simple things like extra sets of dice so each student can have their own. There are a TON of ways you can use dice, especially with articulation. Give a student a word, have them roll the die, and say and color in the word on a 100 trials sheet the number on the die. You can grab some free 100 trial worksheets here!

Face Mask– As a speech therapist we HAVE to be able to model our mouth for our students. Although it is unclear if school next year will mandate masks, I still purchased myself two masks with a clear window. This will allow my students to see my mouth for a visual model.

No matter what you do, make sure your students know the WHY behind it. Yes, even your preschoolers and other young students who may need reminding. The more communication and explanation, the more seamless your school year will be!

What are some of your tips for next school year?