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Cover image of blog post: 3 great ways to provide push-in speech therapy efficiently.

How to Provide Push-in Speech Therapy Efficiently

PUSH-IN SPEECH THERAPY is my favorite way to provide speech/language services to preschool students. However, time flies and it can be difficult to serve every student before your time is up! Here are the 3 excellent ways to use your time more efficiently while providing Push-in Speech Therapy. By incorporating these three ideas, you’ll easily provide every student with 30 – 60 minutes of speech therapy.An image of preschool students interacting with an adult during a Push-in Speech Therapy session.

Before we get started, leave the notion that you need to see each student individually behind. Whether you are providing push-in services in an inclusive setting or a self-contained classroom, it just isn’t possible.  Service time written into an IEP counts whether you see students one-on-one or in a group. When it comes to Push-in Speech Therapy, this is a lifesaver!


The NUMBER ONE BEST WAY to provide Push-in Speech Therapy Efficiently

This is a picture of me at the beginning of my career providing a push-in speech therapy session during circle time.
This is me at circle time during my early years as a Push-in Speech Therapist.

This is easy and it’s obvious. The absolute best time to provide Push-in services is during CIRCLE TIME! If you play your cards right and choose appropriate goals for your students, you’ll be able to provide at least 30 minutes of speech therapy every time you’re in the classroom.

What do I mean by, “…if you choose appropriate goals?” In my experience, 95% of my 3 and 4-year-old students exhibited limited vocabulary and/or delayed language skills. 95%!  Take advantage of this and focus IEP goals on increasing vocabulary and language skills.

You can individualize the written IEP goal for each student by tweaking it here and there (as appropriate for the student). Then when you work on vocabulary and language skills during circle time, you’ll be providing speech therapy to almost all of your students at the same time. This will simplify lesson planning and increase your efficiency while you’re in the classroom!

If you want to learn more about the specifics on exactly how to do this, sign up for my free guide 5 Easy Ways to Optimize Push-in Speech Therapy below, OR purchase my 34-page ebook: The Push-in Playbook, available at my TPT store, Sound Advice for Kids.

Cover image for a 34-page e-book for providing push-in speech therapy in the preschool classroom.

THE NUMBER TWO BEST WAY to Provide Push-in Speech Therapy Efficiently:

The second best way to provide Push-in Speech Therapy efficiently is during SNACK TIME. Snack time is when I focus my time on increasing utterance length, or communication attempts, as the case may be.

Since preschoolers are normally very motivated when it comes to food, snack time provides a perfect environment to encourage communication. Depending on the classroom, I might sit with the students and model requests and comments, or I provide the food after they make a request.

In either case, I make sure students need to communicate frequently by providing a small amount of food at a time, usually one or two bites. This typically results in lots of utterances or communication attempts by the students.

Push-in speech therapist interacting with students during snack time.

Snack time is also a perfect time for nonverbal or students with extremely limited language to use AAC. Students can practice making requests, commenting, and turn-taking. Over my career, I’ve used low and high-tech options.

I prefer low-tech options for preschoolers, such as PECS or Core Vocabulary. Students who may not use AAC in other situations are often motivated to use it here first. The skills learned at snack time frequently generalize to other classroom activities.

THE NUMBER THREE BEST WAY to provide Push-in Speech Therapy Efficiently:

The third best way to provide Push-in Speech Therapy efficiently is during FREE PLAY/FREE CHOICE. This is when you can work one-on-one or with a small number of students who have goals other than vocabulary and language.

I often set up a fun play area to entice my students to join me. With dolls and a doll house, for instance, I might work on joint attention, taking turns, understanding and/or using pronouns and spatial concepts, following directions, and ‘wh-questions.’

Of course, you can always work on these additional goals for a few minutes during circle time or during transitions from one activity to another. See my Push-in Playbook on TPT for an in-depth look at how to do this.

By being efficient, a 30 to 60-minute session of push-in speech therapy is absolutely doable in a preschool classroom.

If you provide push-in services during a 30-minute circle time and a 15-minute snack time you’ll be providing 45 minutes of IEP services to EVERY STUDENT IN THE CLASSROOM. Additionally, if you can work individually or with 2-3  students at a time during free play, you’ll be at 60 minutes of service time. Add in transitions and you’ll be ahead of the game!




Cover image for free article on how to get the most out of Push-in Speech Therapy with 5 easy strategies.