What Happens During a Therapy Session?
Many individuals who will be attending speech therapy know that the purpose of the therapy will be to help them overcome speech difficulties or disorders but some are less confident that they know exactly what will happen during the therapy sessions. This is a normal concern, given that no two therapy sessions will be absolutely alike.
What happens during a therapy session will depend up on the length of the therapy session, the location of the therapy session, the age of the individual involved, whether the therapy session is private or involves a group and the type of speech difficulty or disorder that is being treated, among other variables.
Length of a Speech Therapy SessionIn general, most private speech therapy sessions last for one hour. Of course this is not true of all sessions and some may last for longer or some may be even shorter. This also does not mean that the therapist will be engaging the individual in therapeutic activities for the whole hour.
For the first five or ten minutes the therapist and client will get settled, perhaps speaking about what will happen in the session and what has happened since the last time they saw each other. For the last ten minutes the therapist and client will likely discuss what needs to be practiced for the next session and what “homework” activities are being assigned. This means that there is only about 40 minutes that will be devoted to therapeutic activities during an hour long appointment.
Location of a Speech Therapy SessionMany speech therapy sessions are carried out in private offices, though some may be carried out at schools, homes, public halls (for group sessions) and/or hospitals, among other locations. Where a speech therapy session takes place will likely impact what happens during the session as it will determine what type of props (including books and toys) are on hand, where the therapist and client will sit (at desks, around a table, on the floor) and how much room they have to engage in activities. All of these variables will impact what ultimately occurs during the session.
Age of the Individual Receiving Speech TherapyThe age of the individual receiving speech therapy will have great bearing on what happens during the session. To begin with, age appropriate activities will need to be designed or else the session will be wasted if the client can not understand the vocabulary used, the activities are too complex or even the directions given are too confusing. For young children, this means that the therapeutic activities are often more like play activities. For older children, this means that schoolwork will often become the basis of the session.
Individual or Group Therapy SessionsMost therapy sessions will either be conducted individually, where the therapist and client (and possibly a child’s parents) are the only individuals involved, or as a group session in which multiple individuals suffering from the same types of speech difficulties or disorders receive therapy at the same time.
Obviously a group session will mean less time for each individual to personally interact with the therapist, but it also means that there may be the possibility for different types of activities such as role playing and/or group singing. For some particularly shy individuals, being a part of a larger group may actually seem less threatening than individual sessions.
Type of Speech Difficulty or Disorder Being TreatedIt seems obvious, but most of what happens during a speech therapy session will depend upon the type of speech difficulty or disorder being treated. For example, a client who has trouble following plot lines or the meaning of paragraphs and stories will work on his or her comprehension skills. But a client who has a lisp will engage in activities designed to practice the way he or she pronounces certain sounds.
In general, activities such as flash cards, working on handout sheets, clapping games, practicing vocal sounds and even simple story telling or conversation may be the focus of a therapy session. Depending on the age of the client, play time activities and school work may also be the basis of a session. If a client does not enjoy the activities, the therapist may be able to change them slightly to make them more interesting to the individual receiving treatment.