One of the most frequent questions I get from Speech-Language Pathologists is how I do inclusion speech therapy in Preschool. I’ve done inclusion speech therapy in 9/10 of the years I’ve been an SLP. In two different districts, we’ve used a similar inclusion model. All services (nearly all) are provided within the inclusion classroom. Inclusion classrooms have both children on IEPs and children with typical development. Our AM classes have 3-4-year-olds and our afternoon classrooms have 4-5 year olds.
Each of our therapists does inclusion services within the classroom. This includes OT and Speech. Gross Motor (PT and APE) pull out their services into the gym to best meet the needs of the students. The OTs and SLPs who provide inclusion services use a variety of service delivery models within the classroom. For most of my students, I provide small group instruction within the classroom during the play and centers portion of the day. During this time, the intervention specialists is usually working at a table or in play with students. Often, the classroom paraprofessional is also working directly with a student as well.
All of my materials for this age are play-based. It might be with small manipulatives, craft projects, or just toys. Each child just thinks we’re playing! At other times, I utilize a less structured direct play therapy where I just join children in play at an activity that is already set up in the class. We might play in dramatic play, at the light table, or on the carpet. It just depends on the student’s goals and classroom make-up.
A typical classroom for me includes 8 children on IEPs and 8 typical peers. Right now, I use a 3:1 model for therapy. On the indirect service week, I do circle time for all students once per week and see some students. During other three weeks, I complete therapy twice per week in each room. Each student’s IEP minutes are specific to his IEP but I push into each classroom for about 75 minutes. So in a day, I push into two AM rooms and two PM rooms. In Ohio, the preschool cap for caseloads is 50. Most of my students are seen in groups of two.
One way to increase your inclusion time if you’re just starting in the classroom is to lead circle time. I’ve written a lot in the past about types of circle times you can do as you push-in. Check those other articles out. Additionally, consider joining snack time or gross motor time as your first step into the classroom for inclusion! This is a great time to work on social pragmatics and
To physically get into classrooms, I use a rolling cart. I’ll post more about my hacks for traveling cart therapists next!
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