One of the greatest challenges for a school-based speech therapist is figuring out how to maximize the short time I have with students each week. I love my kids, and love seeing them make progress… but I am always hoping for MORE progress!

I spent a good chunk of last year collaborating with a group of other SLPs in my district, working on “service delivery” – how can we provide the most efficient services to our students? We came up with several options, and committed to pilot one of them this year. That is how I got myself involved in F.I.T. therapy.

What is it?

  • F.I.T. stands for Frequent Intense Treatment. It is a way of providing therapy that uses short (5-10 minute) individual therapy sessions, 2-5x/week.
  • It is different than traditional group therapy, which typically serves groups of students 1x/week for 20-40 minutes.
  • Therapy happens in pod areas, just like small group academic interventions for other students.
  • It is modeled after the “5 Minute Kids” program. (More info here)

Why do it?

  • Research is showing that short, frequent speech therapy sessions are more effective than longer, less frequent sessions.
  • Therapy is more individualized, because I see all students 1/1.
  • Students spend less time out of class, which means more time for LEARNING. 🙂
  • Students get short, repetitive PRACTICE, which is the greatest predictor of PROGRESS.

Research supporting F.I.T. Therapy:

  • A research study at Hudsonville Public Schools in Michigan evaluated the effectiveness of individual therapy for speech sound disorders. Students in this project were enrolled in a program called Accelerated Personal Therapy (APT) and received intervention services two to four times weekly for 10 minute sessions. The results indicated that the discharge rate after one school year of therapy for the APT program was 6% higher than the discharge rate of students receiving traditional services. This study also concluded that the reduced time for therapy (16 hours per year for the APT program as compared to 32 hours of traditional small group therapy) did not negatively affect the outcome of intervention. (McCann, et al. 2008)
  • Research at North Branch Area Schools (MI) in 2002 using the 5 minute kids program showed decreased time in therapy:

    Speech program

    Total number of months in therapy

    Minutes per month

    Total number of minutes in therapy

    Equivalent number of hours in therapy

    Traditional therapy

    18

    210

    3780

    63

    5-minute program

    9.6

    45

    432

    7

    Difference between programs

    8.4 months

    165 minutes

    3348 minutes

    56 hours

How much can you really do in 5 minutes?
Is it really possible to do very much in such short sessions? YES! You can:

Who is it for?

  • F.I.T. therapy focuses on drilling specific skills. It is a great fit for students who need frequent, intense drill sessions in order to progress on their goals.
  • Articulation therapy is an excellent fit for this style of therapy.
  • Some language and fluency skills can also be drilled in this way.
  • Skills which require more context, like social language skills or listening comprehension skills, may not be a good fit for this style of therapy.

Right now I am reviewing my caseload and identifying students who would be a good fit for this kind of therapy. I am focusing on students who are working on speech sounds, though in the future I may expand to include students working on language concepts also. I am VERY excited to see the results of using this model!

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Edit: I changed the name of this kind of therapy from “5 minute therapy” to “F.I.T. therapy” to prevent confusion with the copyrighted “5 Minute Kids” program. F.I.T. is a service delivery model, not a particular program.

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