For several years, “therapy” and “therapists” have been viewed by parents and professionals as mediums of intervention outside a classroom environment. Traditionally, a child with special needs receives intervention in a specialized room or setup, away from his natural environment or curriculum for a specific amount of time to address his/her goals. The basis of these goals is and has always been language and communication. That being said, what better place to address these goals than the child’s own classroom wherein the content is both meaningful and essential for his/her growth and development? The pull-out model, although an essential step to teach specific skill sets, may not be a favorable approach to facilitate generalization of newly learned skills (i.e., practicing these skills across different settings).

Classroom Based Intervention (CBI) is gaining popularity as a preferred service delivery model in schools to facilitate integration and promote holistic education. In this model, therapists and classroom teachers work collaboratively to support the students’ needs. Goals are tied to the academic curriculum and therapy is planned around the student’s classroom schedule. The aforementioned strategies, when used in conjunction or as stand-alone strategies, serve as excellent aides for our students with Dyslexia, Dysgraphia, Dyscalculia, social communication deficits, Intellectual Disability, language difficulties, ASD and other learning disabilities.

  1.  Graphic Organizers are visual displays that show the relationships among facts, terms and ideas. Graphic organizers aide students in tasks such as comparisons and contrasts, note taking, writing meaningful descriptions, problem solving, story sequencing and summarizing ideas.
  2. Video Modeling is an evidence based practice wherein therapists and teachers model and video record a desired classroom behavior or skill. Next, they replay it for students who in turn, are required to observe and/or comment on the skills they observed and model the same when presented with a similar scenario.
  3. Skill of the Month is a collaborative practice we have adopted at The Aditya Birla Integrated School, where teachers and therapists address a given skill through various activities for the entire month, to facilitate generalization. For example, in a Math class, multiplication is addressed as the “skill of the month” through activities such as role play, field trips, classroom experiments, etc.
  4. Pre-teaching curriculum based vocabulary within the speech room and transferring the learned skills into the classroom during a lesson helps boost confidence and address issues related to auditory processing. The Speech and Language Pathologist (SLP) may be present in class during instruction to prompt or provide feedback to a particular student.
  5. The writing lab approach is one where SLPs and teachers work collaboratively to foster language growth using inclusive, curriculum-based, computer supported instruction. Students engage in writing projects with teachers and SLPs using recurrent processes such as organizing, scaffolding, revising and editing.

A systematic review of research showed that students who received a comprehensive classroom teacher and SLP collaborative intervention program achieved higher scores in listening and writing, and higher abilities in understanding vocabulary when compared with control peers (Farber & Klein, 1999).

Our classroom teachers are experts in curriculum planning, classroom management and group instruction whereas SLPs have abundant knowledge about individual language and communication development, individualized intervention strategies and communication disorders. It is the marriage of the two sets of complimentary professional skills that can add power to an integrated service model.

Ms. Bhairavi Sohni Speech Language Pathologist The Aditya Birla Integrated School