The Pitfalls of 30-Minute Group Therapy at School

According to the ASHA Leader, a shift in the typical school paradigm of providing 30-minute group therapy sessions is increasingly being recommended to be adjusted to a more individualized and intensive frequency of service. In a school setting, because children are theoretically accessible for seven or more hours in a day, over five consecutive days in a week, the traditional, “one size fits all” therapy recommendation for providing 30 minutes a week to a group of 2-5 students at once is said to be limiting to a child’s overall progress and their individualized attention. It is said that 30-minute group therapy sessions do not fit with the guidance and philosophies from the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) nor the American Speech Language Hearing Association’s standards which govern the field of speech-language pathology.
Instead of this group therapy approach, taking advantage of many school’s block scheduling to provide individualized/intensive therapy in shortened windows of 5-10 minutes is a new suggested service delivery model. It has been reported that in an intensive 5-10 minute period of individualized service, a child could theoretically “drill” for specific treatment targets in the same amount of time  many children take a restroom break. Providing  “Short burst speech-language therapy” in a school is reported to be more individually tailored to student needs and more conducive to progress and dismissal from speech services. In addition, it is reported to better align with the structure of typical classroom instruction and can provide a means of flexibility so that services are not reduced/missed.

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