September 10, 2013

Fading verbal prompts to redirect behavior in the Speech Room

"Johnny, please don't interrupt, it's my turn to talk."
"Stay in your chair."
"Please don't play with that."
"No, it's Emma's turn."

I'm sure you are all familiar with the above verbal redirective prompts. We use them all the time in our Speech rooms to elicit desirable student behavior so that they are fully able to access our curriculum. I know I use these types of prompts a lot... especially because we have a 2nd-3rd grade Special Day Class on our campus and attending for extended periods of time is difficult for many of my students. As part of my training I also know that these verbal prompts are intrusive and do not necessarily aid generalization. To address this issue I am trying a new strategy this year: putting a visual reminder slap-dab on the edge of the Speech table.

- I chose six target behaviors that I wanted my students to adhere to.
- Using these target behaviors I made 3x3' icons in Boardmaker, glued them onto a construction paper strip, and laminated it.
- I then taped this strip onto the edge of my table (although I am thinking of reinforcing it with contact paper for added durability).
- I went over these rules with all of my students.



Now instead of redirecting verbally, I merely point to the icon that reminds the student of the expected behavior. So if Timmy is fiddling with the therapy cards, I may point to the "Quiet Hands" icon.
At first I thought the icons would be distracting to some students, but it hasn't really been a problem so far. This system of course works better with some students than with others, but I like having the visuals so readily accessible. It's definitely worth a try!
- Viola

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