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Episode #094: 10 Ideas To Increase Student Engagement


haven’t done a solo show in a while and I am excited today to share my 10 strategies to increase student engagement. I had a client, let’s call him Adam for today, and when I started working with him, he did not communicate or even engage at all. I would bring different toys and objects to try to get his attention through play-based learning but we would just take a toy and leave. About after 4 sessions with him, his parents started asking me when am I going to use a more structured approach and really work on his communication skills. Truthfully, I felt defeated and anxious.

But at 20-plus years into my career already, I have done so much research about joint attention and how valuable this is to ABA and Speech Therapy. On our 5th session, I brought Mini Objects in a bag and although Adam’s engagement was still fleeting then, he picked up a toy from the bag and it was a shoe. Adam exclaimed, “Shoe!” and we were all so excited because that was his first word during his sessions! It was in this moment that I realized that Adam has started his journey with communication and when we realize that these small steps in every session matter, it opens up a path for spontaneous communication. So today, I share and break down my top 10 tips I applied to help increase Adam’s engagement in therapy.

  1. Start with something fun that your student enjoys.
  2. Work on shared activities.
  3. Use books for your students.
  4. Use a song.
  5. Analyze when your student needs a break.
  6. Target the IEP goals.
  7. Take the data and be specific.
  8. Get up and moving.
  9. What does your student love and enjoy and how can you embed that into your sessions?
  10. Where do you see the student? What environment do you work in?

Every student is different so with these strategies, you really need to be creative and discern what works for your student at the moment. What works for one student may or may not work for another. If you have a student in mind that you want to help start communicating, these strategies will really be beneficial to improving your relationships with your students and increasing their learner engagement. For more tips and information on helping students with communicating, check out our ASHA-approved 5-hour course, Start Communicating Today.

#autism #speechtherapy

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What’s Inside:

  • A case study about a student who had zero engagement.
  • Why play-based learning and joint attention is important.
  • My 10 strategies to increase learner engagement.
  • How to apply these 10 strategies to your therapy sessions.

Mentioned In This Episode

ABA Speech: Home
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