I found myself wondering….How am I going to get this all done, and done well?  Research and social media lead me to this….the 3:1 model or flexible service delivery.  I have read a lot on this and I have done it for a year.  Here is my review:

Pro:

  • I am able to do speech therapy throughout my building. Oftentimes kids come to my room and they are therapyized.  I swear I have a flashing light on my head to remind the child to use their therapy target.
  • Speech therapy takes a village.  It allows me to use the flexible service week to connect with the student at lunch or recess.  To connect with the student within their classroom.  To connect and collaborate with family and teachers.
  • It is such a functional way to encourage the student to use their therapy target in all settings, not just in my room.
  • It has worked. I haven’t had a parent object to the fact that I want to support everyone in the child’s speech/language goals.  I want to support the child in their use of their goals in functional environments including lunch, recess, library, or their classroom.  Parents often THANK ME for using this therapy model for their kids.

Speech Room News’s post helped me in having the data and research to pitch this to my administration.  They listened. And it worked.

Cons:

  • The school schedule of parent-teacher conferences and breaks leads me to guilt. I feel bad not seeing kids in their schedule when there is a holiday or a break, so I end up not doing the flexible service week in months like December because of the limited therapy times available.
  • I have read that many think it is “lazy”. I send out an email before the week with the tasks and services I have available during my flexible service week. Flexible service week is my most intense week of the month.  I now have teachers asking me for my flexible service week because they are looking for my time to connect, screen, test, and monitor.

Here is how I have it written into the notes section of my IEPs:

**STUDENT will be scheduled for two 30 minute sessions a week, 3 weeks a month for speech/language therapy. He/She will receive an additional 20 mins of push in and consultative services within the month that may include classroom observation, classroom services, student observation, collaboration with classroom teachers, etc.

Communication is the key.  As long as the staff, families, and kids know the expectations for the flexible service week, we are all on the same page for empowering and connecting with kids to support complex communication needs.

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