Getting 100 trials in a speech session can be that elusive goal, right? So why do we need to think about dose? What’s so important about aiming for a set number of trials?
You CAN be great in your teaching moments. You can be that ‘R’ boss, or the Queen of Lisps. But you need maximal dose to be effective.
Now I want to be clear here, that just because you aim for 100 trials in speech, DOES NOT mean that your job is done. For a great overall review of treatment intensity (as well as specific references to pediatric speech sound disorders), please read up on this blog post from The Informed SLP.
IDEAS for getting 100 trials
First of all, let me say that I like to mix ‘n’ match these ideas to keep engagement and motivation high. One activity might allow me to elicit 40 trials before we have to move on, so use your clinical knowledge about your own students.
The free app TxTools, by PediaStaff is my personal go-to for getting 100 trials in speech. It’s not only an app-based tally counter, but it generates percentage correct data for you too. I like to keep the app on my table to show my students that we are going to aim for 50 practices (and sometimes I’ll let them tap buttons).
Along similar lines, these metal clickers are amazing! I’ve seen some colorful ones, but I really wanted to invest in a clicker that looked sturdy and unbreakable (I’m linking the brand that I personally bought). Make sure to have a couple of spares as your students will want one of these!
I have found that keeping kids’ hands busy can be really motivating. This abacus from IKEA is so colorful, and with 10 beads and 10 rows, it makes it easy to get 100 trials in speech. My kids especially love being able to choose their color and flick those beads across. It’s so VISUAL too! They can see how much work they have done, and how much is left to finish. I’ve also made my own DIY abacuses using beads and pipe cleaners.
Filling up an empty jar with small objects (think pom poms, mini erasers and beads) is another simple task. If you don’t have the time (read: I DON’T have the time) to count out and section off your mini objects, just use the clicker or TxTools app to keep track of your number of trials. you can always say 3 practices, and put a pom-pom in vs. a 1:1 ratio.
Repurpose tongue depressors or craft sticks using stickers. I have a jar filled with these, and my students LOVE seeing what stickers they get (they are double-sided). They simply tap each sticker as they practice their speech targets, flip it over, and practice again.
This tape that is compatible with LEGO was such a hit! I made it go the length of the table, and students were given small LEGO pieces to stick on. Again, I like to use this with another type of counter, and I usually encourage multiple repetitions to earn a piece of LEGO. I’m linking the exact brand that I have and found that the four studs (as opposed to the two studs) were more effective.
You gotta love 100 charts for this exact purpose. I have a free set for my newsletter subscribers which have mini pictures set out as ten rows of ten pictures. I find that it’s easier to say, “let’s finish this line” and keep track of how many practices we’ve done. You can also find free 100 charts on Teachers Pay teachers from the Peachie Speechie and Ashley Rossi.
Simple things can actually work best. Give a child a dry erase marker and a whiteboard… then teach them how to tally their sounds! You can keep track of how many practice trials you have said, so it’s a great addition to your therapy room. This has been such a hit, that I made a minimal pairs resource all around counting tally marks.
I know that you probably use dice to get more practice trials, but have you seen the dice that go higher than 6? Yes, they exist, and yes, they are awesome. They’re usually called ‘polyhedral’ dice and have twenty sides, or twelve sides (with variations). These sets are great for groups where every child can have their own dice and roll big numbers! You can also get dice within dice for double the number of trials. Combine these dice with tallying, or 100 charts to speed practice up.
Do you know that simple jar idea? Well, adapt this for feeding mouths. Hop on Pinterest and you’ll find a range of ideas for turning tissue boxes into monsters or sticking googly eyes on mini trash bins bins. Use the same pom poms, beads, or mini-figures to put into the mouth. This is particularly fun for your preschool-aged students.
And finally, my last motivating way to get a lot of trials is to use a magnetic wand and magnetic chips. We lay down sets of five or ten, and then swipe them all up. My students love to do this over, and over again, so I find I can usually get between 30-50 trials in a session using these alone.
FYI: This blog post contains affiliate links to the resources that I use in my own therapy room.