We know as SLPs that sometimes our sessions don’t go as planned. Maybe your student was having a better day and you needed to wear your counselor hat. Maybe your student still needed to work on the concepts from last time before they could go forward. Or maybe they just didn’t want to do what you had planned and refused to participate. There are sooo many reason why our plans don’t work somedays. But what about what you have a good plan and the student is engaged-ish? What about when it is using a topic they love, but they still seem to hold back? That is what was happening to me.
A few weeks ago Nicole Allison from Speech Peeps had a great post about leaving her data binder on her shelf. She noted how different her session felt, how much more she interacted. You can read that post HERE. It got me thinking, maybe seeing me take data was too much pressure on my student? So I put my iPad ( that is what I use to take data ) away for a session or two. But still no change. Then it hit me, even without the iPad there my little friend still knew I was analyzing and assessing. The pressure to be correct when working on something challenging was still there. All my planning and tweaking wasn’t taking away that pressure. So I decided for a session I wasn’t going to plan!
Now, this went against pretty much everything I had been instructed on. You’re supposed pick your target and plan your session, choose engaging and useful materials, make a back up plan for the session and get back up materials. Instead I simply knew the goal I wanted to target and was pretty much going to wing it from there. I asked my little friend what they wanted to do. Ha, I was met with a funny look since this was definitely not our normal routine. Playing Angry Birds was the activity of the day and let me tell you, it was like working with a different child. There was laughing and smiling, not concern and hesitation. When I saw moments to work on our goal with correction and modeling I did. Usually these would result in a sad face because a mistake had been made, but instead they were accepted and we quickly moved forward.
We get caught up in data and our sessions that sometimes we forget to just have some fun with our students. We are skilled professionals, we can work language into anything! I saw a difference when I let my student take the lead and realized that it is ok to do that sometimes.