It’s that time of year to set up the speech therapy schedule. Unfortunately my schedule takes a back seat to almost every other schedule in the building so I don’t even attempt to schedule the first week of school. When scheduling, I try to avoid core subjects like reading and math and classes like music and art. The higher the grade the more difficult it is to find time to get Johnny. I’m usually left with the social sciences, free reading, and handwriting. If many children come from a particular grade, I may have a group that is available only at a certain time. I feel fortunate if they have similar needs as well. Getting a variety of needs met with one activity is it’s own art form. Over the years I’ve found I can adapt to working with language kids and articulation in the same group. I worry less about if their goals are similar and more about the time they are available. If a group of kids all come from the same classroom they tend to remind each other to come, feel less like they are the only odd child out, and I spend less time rounding them up. I also find that Mondays and Fridays get hit hard with holidays so I try avoid scheduling a child so he would miss two sessions in one week. With traditional scheduling the speech therapist would make a weekly schedule. It would typically look like speech therapy two times a week for 30 minutes each. In my attempt to get everyone scheduled, I would have every moment accounted for leaving very little flexibility to see what was actually happening in the classrooms.
The last few years a new model of scheduling has come out called the three-one schedule. With this schedule, the therapist conducts 3 weeks of regular therapy sessions and the fourth week becomes more flexible. The therapist may use the 4th week to work in the classrooms, consult with teachers and parents, do observations in the classroom or see some kids individually. On the Individual Education Program (IEP), the therapist doesn’t write up a weekly scheduled time but rather writes a lump some for the month. It may look like 180 minutes per month instead of 30 minutes 2 times a week.
I’ve been using the Three and One Model for the last three years and have really liked it. The initial year involves changing the IEPs to monthly minutes, but after that you are set. This model has worked well with the RTI model because it has allowed me to go into the classroom to work with groups of kids that may not have IEPs but could benefit from some of the same support other children were getting. It has also helped me to address some needs that weren’t apparent in my small group settings.