When you start back at school running speech therapy groups, it’s kinda of hard to know where to “begin” with your sessions. You know some students from previous years while others on your caseload are brand new to you! The ultimate goal of the first week of speech is to build rapport with your students and help them understand why they come to see you!

And this is the time when you can begin to set up processes with them for therapy. For example, if you want them to have a speech folder, you can create those together during that first week of treatment. There is also the situation where you are not sure “where” to start in therapy because you don’t have current baseline information on goal progress since the end of the school year.

Navigating all the components of your therapy groups at the start of the year is increasingly overwhelming because your speech schedule has changed what feels like a hundred times. Planning therapy for the first week of sessions can be stressful. So, I am here to help you with some ideas to help you have a successful first week of speech!

If you need more tips on setting up your caseload at the start of the school year, check out this blog post.

Low Prep Activities for The First Sessions

Grab a set of index cards or these free speech time reminders from Miss V’s Speech World, and have your students write in the day and time they are coming. You can tell teachers to tape them to the student’s desks to help them remember.

Spend the sessions reviewing routines and expectations. Check out this blog post to get more tips on setting up speech routines.

You can also play games and have a list of questions to discuss while playing to learn about their interests and family. For younger students, have a station rotation where they get to play with one of your toy sets while you collect baseline data on the other students.

For younger students, some of my favorite games include Sneaky Snacky Squirrel, Pop Up Pirate, Zingo, and Candyland. If you need toy companion cheat sheets for these games and more toys, check out this play-based resource to help you navigate sessions with ease!

With your older students, use a Bamboozle game, Kahoot, Apples to Apples Junior, Bubble Talk, Farkle, or any game that gets the kids interacting! One of my favorite mixed group games is the Name it! Game that I created in my TPT store. 

Low All About Me Themed Mixed Group Games

You can play mystery square games from the August Themed Unit in the Themed Therapy SLP membership. First, you print the game mat and cut out post-it notes (affiliate link) to cover the squares. Pick one mystery winner number. Your students pick squares to see if it is the mystery number. Whoever gets the mystery number wins!

This game helps you get to know your students while targeting category groups and verbs, answering wh-questions, building sentence structures, and working on articulation carryover. You can see a demo on Instagram.

First Week of Speech Therapy Ideas with Crafts

At the start of therapy, we want to focus on increasing our student’s awareness of “why” they come to speech. That’s why doing a craft that can reference their goals can be worthwhile. Try out this FREE backpack craft from Speech Sprouts that allows them to write the goals they are working on the craft.

You can also have students make a speech or language wallet. These speech wallets can help keep hands busy while you are collecting baseline data. Once your students finish making the wallets, they become warm-up or quick drill material for future sessions.

Try the kindness wallets or the final /l/ and /s/-blend templates for free.

Have the first week of speech activities that are easy to prep and help you get valuable information about your student's interests and get the ball rolling with practicing their speech and language goals.

Digital Getting To Know You Activities

Looking for digital first week of speech therapy ideas for your speech therapy sessions? Check out this blog post for some digital options!

If you are tight on prep time and need engaging first week of speech therapy ideas to use ASAP, here are some great digital getting-to-know-you activity options:

All About Me Getting to Know You Boom Cards
Sound Loaded “Would You Rather?” Boom Cards – All About Me Theme
Would You Ever? Boom Cards
All About Me from ABCYA
All About Me Games on Baamboozle

What is your favorite first week of speech therapy ideas?

Do you have first week of speech therapy ideas that you use with your caseload? Share what activities you have planned in the comments to help inspire other SLPs with engaging speech therapy materials.