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Long-time readers of this blog may remember waaaaaaaay back in 2012 I started a pilot program in my district doing what we called FIT therapy. A group of SLPs in the district wanted to try to implement the new model of short, frequent, intense therapy sessions to see how it would work for our articulation students.

The pilot year went very well, and the following year we kept data on our rate of students graduating from speech therapy. The data was impressive, and I’ve been doing FIT therapy with my articulation students ever since. I have also expanded to use it with students working on vocabulary as well.

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This past October I presented the method, along with our district’s pilot program and data, at the Washington Speech Language Hearing Association’s annual convention in Tacoma. My presentation was well-received, which was a relief to me because I was very nervous about it! Several other SLPs have since asked for my slides, in order to present the method to their colleagues and spread the information further.

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Me, nervously waiting to present!

I am thrilled that others are interested in implementing FIT therapy (also known as QuickDrill, 5-minute therapy, or 5-minute kids) with their clients. I have put my presentation on Google Slides, which is available for viewing for anyone who is interested. The handout is also on Google Drive, free to download (see below).

I would love to know if anyone else uses this service delivery model, or if you are inspired to try it!

This video is covering the basics of R – the types of R, how to elicit R, and how to put R with single vowels. I hope it is helpful!

You can download the R Star exercise that I talk about in the last portion of the video here.

*note: when I say “Here’s a photo of your tongue” I obviously mean “picture of your tongue”. I didn’t notice that until after recording, but I’m not going back to redo the whole video because of it. 😛

Speech Tips with Ms. Petersen!

Today’s sound is L.

If you would like to try these techniques and need some words to use, you can download a free page of L words here, and FL words here. If you need more than one page, head over to Mommy Speech Therapy and check out her free word pages for every sound!

Remember:

  • “Use your tongue” – tongue needs to move UP to make the L
  • “Watch my mouth” – say the words together with your child

Hope that helps!

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.

Coming in closely behind referrals for the ‘th’ sound (see my last video) are referrals for students who have a mild frontal lisp. A frontal lisp occurs when the /s/ sound is produced like the ‘th’ sound, with the tongue “peeking out” between the teeth instead of staying behind the teeth.

A frontal lisp is a common, developmental occurrence. It is NORMAL for many children to have this kind of lisp through second or third grade. Occasionally a student will need speech therapy for this kind of lisp, but most often kids grow out of it. It usually doesn’t interfere with a child being understood, and like I said, many times kids will develop a clear /s/ as they mature.

A frontal lisp is also something that parents or teachers could work on at home or in class.

In this video I describe three different strategies for working on a lisped /s/. If you are wanting to work on this sound with your child, check out this blog post first, which has a wonderful explanation of the steps of speech therapy. Then print out a page of /s/ words (you can use mine, or there are more of them at Mommy Speech Therapy) and then watch  my lovely video.


I was inspired last week to start making videos to teach therapy techniques for common speech errors, so that parents can work with their children at home. Boy howdy, what a good idea! (I have to give credit to Carlee Oliver, CCC-SLP for the inspiration.)

Today we are working on the /th/ sound. As I mentioned in a previous post, this is a normal error that many children make, even in elementary school. It is also fairly quick to fix, so we generally don’t qualify students for speech therapy if this is their only error. It is easy to teach visually, which makes it an ideal sound for parents/teachers to work on at home or in the classroom.

I’m still working out the kinks in this (for example, why do I turn yellow halfway through this video?), but please enjoy my first attempt at video speech therapy!

TH vs F


Probably the first thing that comes to mind when you hear speech therapist is “kids who can’t say their sounds.”

I do work with speech sounds sometimes (although I also work on so much more!) but let’s start there. There are some kids who, usually for unknown reasons, can’t figure out how to make certain sounds when they talk. Sometimes teachers or parents will describe them as sounding “like they have marbles in their mouth” or the child’s speech can be unintelligible and you can’t understand anything! It is common for parents to understand their children better than other people, because they are used to the specific way that their child talks.

When a child has trouble being understood, it can be very frustrating both for the child and for their parents, teachers, and friends. Children can develop behavior problems (acting out, tantrums, hitting, etc) which are related to their frustration at not being able to say what they are thinking. As children get older, they become more aware of how they compare to other children around them, and can become self-conscious and be reluctant to talk in class or to their friends.

If this describes your child, then speech therapy may be able to help. Speech therapy is available at every public school for children who need it. You can also go to private speech therapy clinics or hospitals, depending on your needs. Speech therapy is usually covered by insurance for young children, so check your policy if you are unsure or interested.

How do we fix it?

Articulation therapy helps kids to learn and use new speech sounds so they can be understood when they talk, and sound more “grown up.” Talking “like a baby” is cute when kids are small, but can lead to problems with reading and spelling later on in school, as well as social difficulties with other kids or issues with self-esteem.

A speech therapist will work with you to identify which sounds your child has difficulty producing, and will work with your child to teach them how to make those sounds. We usually start working on sounds by themselves, then move to sounds at the beginning, middle, or end of words, using those sounds in sentences, and then using those same sounds in conversation. Each level is more challenging – it is easier to make an ‘s’ sound by itself than it is to say “supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!”

Home practice

Once your student can make the sounds independently, the speech therapist may start sending home practice sheets for you to do with your child. Home practice makes a HUGE difference in how fast therapy can progress.The speech therapist sees your child once or twice a week, but you see your child every day!

The best advice for home practice is:

  1. Make it frequent (daily!)
  2. Make it short (5 min or less)

If you ever have any questions about your child’s speech development, don’t hesitate to call your local speech therapist and ask!