Speech Therapy Goals

Setting and reviewing speech therapy goals and progress is imperative! It guides sessions and keeps students engaged in their own speech therapy.

Students MUST know their goals and WHY they are in speech therapy. If they don't fully understand that, then they won't know how to measure their own progress and feel good about how far they have come. I believe that burnout happens when students have been in speech forever and feel like they aren't progressing (even though they really are).

To ensure that this doesn't happen to my clients, I created goal and progress review materials to keep everyone on track!

Reseach & Speech Therapy Goals

This week, I was THRILLED when I got my reviews from The Informed SLP and saw the one concerning motivation. As I read through the review and got my CE credits, I kept saying out loud, "Yep. Of course. Exactly!" To sum it up, it discusses 4 theories on how to keep students motivated and engaged during therapy. Today, I'm considering the expectancy-value theory.

For those who aren't members of The Informed SLP, you should check it out. It is my favorite membership (besides mine). I am not an affiliate. I just love it!

ANYWAY, back to the topic: MOTIVATION and SPEECH THERAPY GOALS.

I have seen students come to me who have been in speech therapy FOR YEARS and don’t even know what they are working on. This isn’t acceptable.

Getting clients/students excited and motivated during speech therapy is about 85% of the battle. FYI - I just completely made up that percentage to emphasize the importance I place on motivation and client/family participation!

Review Speech Therapy Goals - Beginning of Session!

Based on my research review, I feel the following is important.

Introduce Goals

always write out the child’s goals with them at the beginning of the school year or treatment program. This is a MUST! Having goals in print helps students focus on what they need to be doing.

Then, EVERY SESSION after the first session, I either:

  • pull out the goal sheet we previously completed the first session and review.
  • verbally review the child's goals or the goal we will be targeting that day.
  • write down the goal on a worksheet/dry erase board/scrap piece of paper.

Below are some examples of what I use.

Create Smaller Goals Each Session

From what I learned about the Expectancy Value Theory from my Informed SLP review, it is important to break down larger goals into smaller ones that can be achieved quickly.

This way, a child doesn't become burned out if it may take months or even a year to acheive a speech therapy goal.

For example:

Let’s say the child is working on saying /r/ with 80% accuracy at the word level.

  • Say initial /r/ without rounding lips
  • Say KR blends with only verbal cues
  • Be able to verbally explain HOW to make a correct /r/
  • Discrimminate between /r/ and /w/
  • You get the idea!

I will write out these goals at the beginning of the session OR write this out at the end to show PROGRESS.

How to Review Progress

The progress and/or small wins MUST BE celebrated at the end of EACH SESSION so the child sees (in writing) the progress they made.

I have a few worksheets that I use for this. I usually print worksheets ahead of time and throw them in a dry erase sleeve. That way I can use them over and over again without prepping. If we are short on time, I may simply grab a dry erase board.

First, I WRITE THE PROGRESS DOWN. It takes only 10-30 seconds!

Depending on the child, I may:

  • Ask the child FIRST to review how they did on their goal and then share my feedback
  • Write down the progress I observed and then ask for their feedback/input/feelings

This will depend on the child, of course!

If the child didn't reach the initial goal from the beginning of the session, I celebrate a different win! We always end on a positive note.

Final Thoughts

This process will become second nature for you and your students once you practice it a bit.

It honestly takes about 1-2 minutes at the beginning of a session and 1-2 minutes at the end of a session. Easy!

Access Materials

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