There has been quite a bit of chatter about push-in speech therapy these days. A lot school districts like the inclusion model and are encouraging their special education ( including SLPs ) to adopt this method of service. This happened to my district this year. Initially, I had the same question that many SLPs do, ‘How the heck do I do I push in model and still target my kids’ goals?’. ‘How do I actually use this model without feeling useless being in the classroom?’. I have found having some knowledge about some of the many, different push-in models has been helpful and can help you from feeling like you are being pushed out rather then you pushing in. Well, there was some trial and error, but the method that I found that worked best for me, my teachers, and students, was station model.
I got the idea from this post from Speech Peeps, definitely one to check out! My school uses Daily 5 as part of their literacy curriculum. Students rotate from station to station and practice their reading skills. I am one of the stations that my students and 2-3 other little friends who need some language attention bounce over to. So bonus, I am also an intervention at the same time! So how do I target their goals and take data? Wow, you have some great questions!
I believe there is no goal that a book can’t target. So, I frequently will use books in my station and will tailor an activity or questions to target the goal. I will try and find books, or make them like my Community Helpers books, to try and match the classroom’s theme or lessons. This helps to tie in my goals that I am trying to target to what they are doing in the classroom.
Now, there are many more types of models than the station model. There is co-teaching, parallel teaching, etc. While I wish there was a you tube video showing an SLP doing each model so we could see exactly what it looks like, there isn’t, at least not that I have found. A lot of it is collaborating with the teacher. Figure out what will work best for both of you. Ask them what they would like to see the push-in service look like to figure out what type of model the feel would work best and shape it from there. Talk about it, disagree about it, then agree to be flexible and create something that will work with the flow of the classroom and, of course, for the students.
When it comes to taking data, making tallies on my post-it just wasn’t going to work. I tried using my standard data collection method, IEP Pal but with the pace of the classroom and my station it just wasn’t working how I wanted. I have been using my Language Rubrics to collect data and it has worked beautifully! I can have a copy for myself and then a teacher copy so that I can get their perspective on the student’s progress.
One more thing, don’t forget about collaborating! Talk with the teacher. See how you two can work together. Maybe there is a theme you two would like to take on? Maybe you two want to go through TpT materials and see what ideas those stir up. Don’t forget just because you are an SLP doesn’t mean you can’t use a teacher’s TpT materials and vise versa.
Now keep in mind, push-in is not appropriate for all students. Some students are too self-conscious about their deficits to work in the room surrounded by their classmates. Some are too distracted by everything going on in the classroom. However, push-in/inclusion/whatever you want to call it should not be counted out as an option right off the bat. Initially I was a bit against it mainly because I had no idea how to make it work. But after some researching, talking to colleagues, asking advice in some of the SLP Facebook groups, I felt that I could figure it out. Change has the ability to make us feel uncomfortable and fearful. Keep in mind, you are a highly educated professional! If you can figure out how to help your nonverbal client ask for a toy, or the student who has been in speech therapy for years finally nail that /r/, you can do push-in therapy!
For more information on push-in/inclusion models you can check out these great posts!