For Better Speech and Hearing Month, I wanted to write a short series of posts that would better help you conduct your speech therapy sessions. Themed sessions are kind of my “thing.” The kids know it, the parents know it, even my family knows it! When I first started in the field, I would have other therapists (as well as teachers) ask me about my themes. “Why do you do themes?” “How do you decide on a theme?” are just a couple of the questions I would get. I will be honest, I do themes because it’s fun and never boring! It gives the kiddos a context for new vocabulary and concepts, just as if they were in science class. At times, many of my themes go along with classroom lessons. Now that I am a private therapist, I don’t really worry about school curriculum..
That second question is an easy one. It’s what this first part of the blog series is about. How do you decide on a theme for speech therapy?
This is an easy start. Halloween, Christmas, National Cookie Day, Cinco de Mayo…it doesn’t matter. Just pick a holiday! If it’s October, you have Halloween, Columbus Day, Fire Safety Week, National Pizza Month, go with one. Think about what you could do with that theme. How could you use pizza to address the language clients on your caseload? What’s a fun way you could drill artic during fire safety week? If you are uncomfortable with setting up a theme, holidays are the best place to start. You can see my post about pizza here!
Go with what your caseload is into. Star Wars, Legos, and Princesses are all themes that could be used again and again. If you go with a cartoon series or video game, realize that it might be fun that first year. But most kids may have outgrown it by the second year. I did a Toy Story theme when Toy Story 3 came out. I haven’t used it again!
If you are in a school system, piggy back off the curriculum. During spring time, plants and bugs are popular curriculum units. The added bonus to using curriculum in speech therapy is that you get to target vocabulary that will help the student in the classroom. So get with a teacher and talk about lesson plans. It just takes a few minutes to discuss what’s coming up on the lesson plans. Then start brainstorming how you will use it in therapy! My theme of bugs originated from this idea! You can find the theme review here!
This will actually be addressed next week but sometimes things need to work backwards to work! A book might be your inspiration for a theme. The “Pinkalicious” books inspired my June themes for girls. I took each book and device activities for each one. The girls love it!!!
Now get a sheet of paper out and start making your list of themes! If you need some help, grab my monthly themes calendar from my TpT store! It has the themes I like to use throughout the year!