Create calm out of chaos- the SLP’s guide to themed therapy

Create calm out of chaos header

Stop planning therapy haphazardly! If you really want to calm the chaos of 60+ students with different goals and needs, you must plan themes.

I learned to do therapy by themes several years ago, and I have never looked back. Themes provide a way for you as the SLP to focus your ideas and planning. They help you to streamline your therapy. In short, themes create calm out of chaos. There is nothing that I do for my lesson planning that is more helpful that having a theme for the month and knowing where I am going. You can also divide themes by the quarter or season.

Themes can vary depending on your needs and the needs of your students:

1. One general theme that you use for all students for the month:

  • Season
  • Animal
  • Holiday

2. Multiple speech related themes depending on the goal area(s) of the groups:

  • Social skills themes: small talk, body language, expected behavior
  • Language themes: irregular past tense, complex sentences, vocabulary
  • Articulation themes: books with target sounds, flash cards, board games with drills


Setting up a theme:

1. Decide what would work best for your students (general theme or multiple speech related themes).

2. Write a list of at least 10 theme areas (or less if you want to keep one theme for multiple months)

3. Assign a month to each theme.

4. Create a board in Pinterest for each theme. Label the boards.

Create themes in your speech therapy to calm the chaos! Ideas on themes as well as the step by step process to putting themes into action!

5. Pin as many ideas to that board as possible. I suggest at least 20 to each board so you have many ideas from which to choose. Check out the video clip below from my recent webinar, in which I show you how to create a Pinterest board and find ideas by theme.Create themes in your speech therapy to calm the chaos! Ideas on themes as well as the step by step process to putting themes into action!


6. Before each new theme begins, print out materials from that theme and file them. I file them into a crate with labels for each area. Jenn from Crazy Speech World puts hers into boxes. I love her idea so much because you can store the boxes at home if you don’t have room in your speech room. Or, if you are a traveling SLP, you can store them at home and put one in your car trunk to use for the month.

Screenshot 2016-07-05 10.01.42


Poof! Like a magic fairy, you have just created yourself lots of calm and saved so much time off of haphazard therapy planning each morning!

Comment below and tell me: What are your favorite themes for speech therapy?


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  1. Great info! Thank you for this post. I love using themes for therapy and connecting them to book units.

  2. Ellen Martin says:

    I love your article and I strongly agree. I did a transportation and travel theme that went over well. I also did a camping theme. I love to use themed playmobil sets to go along with the themes. I think spending a month on the team reinforces the vocabulary. I like to have students complete a theme based pre and post vocabulary test.

    1. how fun!!!!

  3. Great ideas!

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