Speech/Language Therapy Success Tips- 2020 Hybrid

We are now in the final stretch of 2020!! I can not believe how fast this year has gone by. I still remember celebrating the new year in Florida with my family. This year, the global pandemic, has stretched many speech-language pathologists in ways that they did not even think were possible. You are providing teletherapy services or a hybrid mix of in person and teletherapy services. I realize that some speech language pathologists feel like they are learning how to do a new job while for others it may be an easier transition to new service delivery models. Either way, you have made it to the end of 2020 and IT IS POSSIBLE to finish the remainder of 2020 strong while implementing new strategies. It may just take a mindset shift and some beneficial ideas that you can use right away to simplify your SLP work life. Here are 5 practical, helpful, and relatively easy to implement Speech/Language Therapy Success tips for SLPs. These are ideal to use when working with elementary school aged children, middle school aged children and adolescents with communication disorders, learning disabilities, and autism.

  1. Remember that you HAVE the clinical skills to continue delivering effective speech/language therapy services.

Think about the big picture. What are the goals that you are helping the children on your caseload achieve? Prioritize their speech/language and IEP goals and work on building the most functional goals first. For example, make sure that you address speech articulation targets that need remediation based on their age and that will increase their speech intelligibility the most. For children with receptive/expressive language disorder, you should use the language processing hierarchy when working on vocabulary goals in sessions. Children learn to:

  1. label nouns
  2. state actions/object functions
  3. state tier 1 word associations
  4. complete divergent/convergent categorization tasks
  5. explain tier 1 word similarities/differences
  6. explain multiple meanings (homophones/homographs)
  7. explain tier 1 words with attributes

There are several resources that you can use to address these goals during hybrid sessions including this digital product.

For K-5 elementary students or adolescents in middle school, you can have them verbally summarize non-fiction information or compare/contrast key points from various topics. There are several free non-fiction passages and paired texts available on the website readworks.org. SLPs and students can create a free account. I recommend that SLPs read aloud passages with expression, emphasize key vocabulary, and model think alouds to help students comprehend. If you prefer, you can choose the read aloud option by clicking on the speaker. The reading passages on this website are labeled by grade level and reading lexile levels.

2. Continue using certain therapy materials that are STILL effective and engaging during therapy sessions while implementing COVID precautions.

For example, articulation cards are STILL beneficial to use during speech sound drill work. You can use these behind a plexiglass screen and during online Zoom or other teletherapy platforms. This makes a perfect warm up articulation drill activity and is ideal to collect data at the beginning of a session.

You can also use vocabulary and critical thinking task cards from other hands on materials that you already have in your therapy room. Speech language pathologists can use cards from Vocabulary, Grammar, or Phonological Awareness Chipper Chat to build essential skills. Due to COVID-19 precautions, I would skip passing out the gameboards to the students with the magnetic wands. Instead, use the cards to elicit questions and practice. SLPs can leave 5 minutes of the session for a digital reward game that is projected on a white board at the end of an in person therapy session or teletherapy sessions.

Use toys with lower functioning students who need play based materials to build functional communication skills. Continue using toys that can easily be cleaned and disinfected to prevent the spread of germs. Make sure that you limit the number of children who will have access to the toys. You can use bubbles, jumbo blocks, puzzles, sensory toys, and other building toys from Lakeshore Learning. Click here for an example. Make sure that you also thoroughly clean items before using with another child.

Use your diverse book collection during therapy sessions. I believe that engaging books are like speech/language therapy GOLD. The children love hearing stories and they look forward to new monthly selections. I use seasonal books and celebrate different cultures throughout the year. Subscribe to my Language & Literacy channel for some read alouds that you can use in therapy. I still do interactive read alouds of many books during teletherapy sessions and in person therapy. There are many extension activities that SLPs may use meaningfully to build phonological awareness/phonemic awareness, articulation and language skills. At times, I give students a choice of 2 books and they can choose the book for that week.

3. Utilize a variety of digital resources to maximize therapy effectiveness and engagement of children and adolescents.

I recommend using static PDFS, interactive PDFS, Boom Cards, and Google Glides. I also recommend categorizing these materials into frequently used therapy categories for easy access during both in person and teletherapy/Digital Learning speech/language therapy sessions. Speech/Language pathologists can create as many categories as needed for the types of goals that they are addressing in speech/language therapy. You can create these categories and save files in Google Drive and the online Boom Card platform. You can start building your library with FREE resources by searching for activities that you need. Click here to start a Boom Learning account. Here are some recommended categories:


speech fluency



basic concepts/following directions


general language (WH/HOW Questions)

pragmatic language

fall activities

Additionally, speech/language pathologists may access my free Technology Resource Guide here as well as my BOOM Learning store here for ready to use digital materials. Many of you most likely have numerous Digital resources from Teachers Pay Teachers (TPT) that can be easily used during teletherapy and in person services. Just select the products that you believe are most effective to use during screen share time during ZOOM or another teletherapy platform. For your in person students, I recommend projecting those PDF activities on your white board in your speech room. Remember save these files in your GOOGLE drive for easy access.

4. Continue to take data during sessions as you normally would pre-pandemic season.

During Digital Learning or teletherapy sessions, speech/language pathologists can use the first few minutes to take data on articulation, language, or fluency goals. You may also record data as children take turns during group sessions on a variety of goals. Just write down data as you typically would. SLPs should do the same for in person speech/language therapy sessions. I recommend using my progress monitoring tools when you can to make your life easier with ready to use data elicitation probes. I have a ton of data recording forms with elicitation questions in my TPT store. Get your digital downloads here. I recommend saving these in your Google Drive so that you can easily print them off when you need them. These may also be used as editable PDFs to record data if you prefer on your computer.

5. Organize your speech/language caseload by groups and use simple planning sheet.

Over the years, I have worked in an outpatient pediatric hospital clinic, elementary schools, middle school, and pediatric private practice. In all of these settings, I have found that it is quite effective to use file folders for each speech/language group or individual session. In each folder, I staple an attendance sheet and parent contact log in the inside cover of the folder. Inside the folder, I have my quick therapy planning sheet, data sheets, and any upcoming worksheets or progress monitoring forms that I will use for that group. At the end of each session or at the end of each day, I write down what each group will do in the next session. I usually list 2-3 ideas. It is perfectly fine to make adjustments to what you planned during a session. Each day, just pull your therapy files for the day and you’ll be ready to go. Just open the tabs on your computer to your Google Drive and Boom Learning account with all your easily accessible materials and you’ll be ready to provide engaging, functional, and meaningful speech/language therapy each day.

I hope that these Speech/Language Therapy Success Tips were helpful to you. When speech language pathologists implement these tips, most children and adolescents will be happy to come to therapy and make progress on speech/language goals during this different pandemic season. Keep up the great work and remember that you can do many things BUT you don’t have to do it all in one week. Enjoy the rest of your Sunday and have a wonderful week! Make sure that you subscribe to my website because I’ll be sending out new information soon to my followers.

All the best,

Tamara Anderson, M.S., Ed.S., CCC-SLP

Speech Language Pathologist

Education Specialist

Special Education Consultant

Building Successful Lives Speech & Language Services


  • Dena Kittelson says:

    I appreciated the referencing of the language hierarchy when addressing vocabulary goals. Overall, your tips for telepractice were straight-forward and useful! Thanks for the post!

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