This Week's Question:
I am a Speech/Language Pathologist in an elementary school. I am looking to talk/e-mail with someone that would be willing to help me get started using S'cool Moves with some of my therapy groups. I attended a one day workshop in Muskegon, MI this summer and felt this filled a need I have seen for years.
I am very interested in using this program but want to get the best "bang for my buck." I am sure some of your resources are better suited for my needs than others. I am also looking for some help getting started with the program.
First, I’d like to share a personal story. When my daughter had no words at three, she began weekly speech therapy sessions through our local hospital. When she started kindergarten, the school speech teacher took over her speech goals. After meeting with my daughter for several weeks, she phoned me and said, “I can’t get Shalea to talk. I can’t work on any goals because she won’t talk.”
I’ve always wanted to stay in “parent mode” when working with the schools and dealing with my daughter, however, her speech teacher was at wit’s end. I asked her if she’d like some help, and she agreed that she did.
This was the initial birth of S’cool Moves and collaboration. All the support staff including speech, APE, reading specialist, special education teacher, and classroom teacher had different IEP goals for Shalea. Shalea never met those goals because she failed to cooperate. Her lack of cooperation was actually her vestibular system and brain going into “fight, flight, or freeze” when asked to do separate activities for each teacher. Shalea went into freeze mode when she was overwhelmed by the variety of demands from her support team. She just stopped and did nothing. It wasn’t until her support team got together and focused on using similar routines and strategies that Shalea began to make progress.
It takes a team to support children with IEPs, however, the team needs to all be on the same field.
When wanting to implement S’cool Moves, the very first step is to collaborate with the other support staff and figure out how your unique skill set will help students meet goals.
I found an excellent article about goals, IEPs, and CCSS online through ASHA. Read it here.
Setting the issues of goals aside for a moment, there are some key activities that you can do with all students to keep them from going into fight, flight, or freeze when asking them to speak or listen (sometimes very difficult activities for students):
- If comfortable, use chairs that encourage a bit of movement, like yoga balls, sit and move cushions, and the like. The movement activates the vestibular system and increases alertness levels and learning readiness.
- An alternative to movement in chairs is to use Focus Moves posters to have all the students move together to a poster activity of your choice. Simply put a poster on the board with magnets or tack on the wall and you are good to go.
- During your lesson, integrate the auditory and visual systems whenever possible because these two systems must work together for academic success and behavior control in the classroom. An example of activities that integrate these two systems is the Quadrant Word Taps activity and the Minute Moves for Vision (remember moving the eyes back and forth 30 seconds can improve memory recall by as much as 35%).
- End the session with a favorite move that your students choose after they become familiar with S’cool Moves activities or choose a favorite song. I love “Time to Sing” as the songs are slowed down for children with speech issues. You can add calming or focus moves to the song to get more “bang for your buck.”
- If you have a group of ploppers, floppers, and droppers, consider doing the Core Out the Door routine at the end of each lesson or the 60 second Core on the Floor routine (for younger children).
I hope this helps get you started. If we have any speech and language pathologists reading this, jump in and post your ideas. I love hearing from you.