Curriculum-based Therapy

23 Nov

Hi everyone! I have received so many great comments and emails about aligning Speech-Language Therapy goals with the Common Core Curriculum Standards.  It’s an important discussion as we continuously strive to create more opportunities for our students with language based learning disorders to master classroom curriculum.  The discussion also pushes us toward more collaboration with classroom teachers and helps to keep us on track as we strive toward a more evidenced based practice.

Many therapists out there have asked for advice in aligning IEP goals with the Common Core Standards.  I would also love to get more of the teachers I work with here at PS20 on board with this discussion.  Collaboration is pivotal in a student’s ability to generalize skills from the therapy room to the classroom and makes reinforcement of communication skills across multiple settings more efficient and more salient.

So here is my advice – DON’T reinvent the wheel! Print out the Common Core Standards for the grade level of interest. Start with the standards that are most obviously relevant to Speech & Language Therapy (ie. the Language and Reading standards). The language used in the Common Core Standards is very similar to the language we use to write goals and address the same underlying skills we are targeting with our students in Speech & Language therapy. Use the language they use when it applies to your student’s deficit area.

The extension pieces as we write our IEP goals, and the differences between a Common Core Standard and the goals we write for our students are:

  1. The goal we write is individually selected to meet our student’s needs based on assessment (In NYC we use the RIOT procedure for assessment: Review of records, Interviews with parents/teachers, Observations and Testing).
  2. We add our level of cueing/ prompting that each student needs. There is a hierarchy of prompting and cueing levels that we use in therapy that is very important to the work we do. We need to indicate whether the student will master a goal using modeled cues/prompts, picture/object prompts, verbal cues/prompts continuous/maximum cues/prompts, intermittent cues, minimal cues or if we will require an independent response.
  3. We add in the other components of a SMART goal, just like we’ve been doing for years.  We state the given time frame for mastery, and how we will measure progress (a checklist, rubric, language sample, etc.).

Here are some examples of Common Core Standards aligned with Speech & Language IEP Goals.  You can click on the Common Core Standard to read what the curriculum expectations are for a student in the grade listed for each example:

Common Core Standard:  Reading Foundation Skills, Kindergarten

Speech-Language Therapy IEP Goal:  In one year, given cues ranging from visual plus auditory to auditory only in tasks with increasing difficulty via number of stimulus presented and number of answer choices, {FirstName} will segment sentences, blend and segment syllables, rhyme, blend and manipulate phonemes with 80% accuracy, measured 4 times annually using a rubric and a performance assessment task.

Common Core Standard: Language, Grade 1, Grade 2

Speech-Language Therapy IEP Goal:  In one year, given grade level vocabulary lists, or age appropriate every day words, {FirstName} will demonstrate an understanding of word meanings, relationships and nuances in word meanings by labeling and describing common objects, sorting common objects into categories, identifying antonyms, synonyms, and multiple meaning words, identifying real-life connections between words and their use and distinguishing shades of meaning among verbs describing the same general action (e.g. walk, march, strut, prance) with 80% accuracy and general prompts, using checklists and performance assessment tasks to measure progress 4 times annually in structured therapy activities.

Common Core Standard:  From Speaking & Listening, Kindergarten, 1st Grade

Speech-Language Therapy IEP goal:  In one year, {FirstName} will participate in collaborative conversations with diverse partners about grade level topics and texts by following agreed-upon rules for discussions (e.g. listening to others and taking turns speaking about the topics and texts under discussion) continuing a conversation through multiple exchanges, confirming understanding of a text read aloud or information presented orally by asking and answering questions, asking and answering questions in order to seek help, get information or clarify, describing familiar people, places, things and events, and adding drawings/ visuals to provide additional details and speaking audibly to express thoughts, feelings and ideas in 8 out of 10 opportunities with general prompts, measured consecutively over 3 sessions across multiple settings using a checklist during unstructured therapy and classroom activities .

Hope this helps to provide a little direction for those of you who are working on this.  I would love any feedback, questions and further discussion on the topic as well, so please email me,  leave a comment or stop by my office if you are in the building!



3 Responses to “Curriculum-based Therapy”

  1. Lauri December 4, 2011 at 10:37 pm #

    This is great! Collaboration is key, as well as having goals that are relevant to curriculum. Thanks for writing!

  2. Marianne Cashman August 26, 2012 at 6:10 pm #

    How,do you collect data and measure our goals? Our goals have so many sub goals,within them…our district will not let us write goals with so many sub goals.

  3. Marianne Cashman August 26, 2012 at 6:11 pm #

    Oops I meant your goals have so many sub goals:)

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