How To Use One Item to Meet Multiple Goals In Mixed Group Therapy

I have been asked many times how to use one item to meet multiple goals in mixed group therapy. I think this is something that many of us really old therapists learned to do out of necessity in the very beginning of our careers. I’m talking way back before Pinterest, Social Media, TPT, Super Duper™, LinguaSystems, etc. I’m talking Peabody cards and creating everything you need from scratch with magazines, rubber cement and scissors. (If you know, you know.) This was a learned skill. In fact, in my training as an SLP I was required to take a course called Methods and Materials in which we had to create materials to be used in therapy!

The Main Idea!

Let me just expose the core of being able to do this. That is being knowledgeable of all the different therapy goals for all the kids on your caseload. And really being knowledge of therapy goals period. (You can make yourself a cheatsheet with the goals listed to help you at first.) You need to know that to be able to readily recall therapy goals on the spot! That’s the crux of it.

The How To!

I’ll give you an example of using one thing to hit multiple goals in a session.

For example- how to use a pumpkin(s) or picture of them to meet multiple goals in mixed group therapy.

Target Articulation-
1. you can target initial and medial P
2. medial K
3. final N

Target Categories-
1. tell what category/subcategory it belongs to ( food/squash)
2. name 3 more things in that category
3. tell me the one that doesn’t belong (pumpkin, zucchini, butternut, watermelon)

Target Attributes-
1. how does it feel
2. what’s it size
3. color?
4. shape?
5. where do we find them?
6. what do we use them for?
7. what are it’s parts?

Target Similarities/Differences
1. How are they like an orange?
2. How are they different?

Target Grammar-
1. Make up sentences using the singular and plural verb form of pumpkins for them to choose is/are, was/were, have/has.
2. Create 2 sentences about the pumpkin and combine with a conjunction.
3. Use the word pumpkin in the present tense, past tense, future tense sentence.
4. What’s the plural of pumpkin?

Target Following Directions-
1. Place the pumpkin around the room as directed
2. Manipulate the pumpkin with another object temporal concepts (before you pick up the pumpkin, touch the table or wink at me after you pick up the pumpkin)

Target Phonological Awareness-
1. How many syllables in pumpkin? squash?
2. What’s the beginning sound? Ending sound?
3. Change the beginning sound to a /b/.
4. Does pumpkin-bumpkin rhyme?

Target Social skills-
1- Ask me for the pumpkin in a nice way.
2- Someone wants to borrow your carving tools but you are using them. How do you respond? What do you say?
3- You are dressing up as a pumpkin for Halloween but your friend thinks that is a baby costume. How do you feel? What can you say to them?

I’m sure you have the idea now of how to use one item to meet multiple goals for mixed group therapy. It just takes lots of practice to do this off the top of your head. It is not anything that any SLP can’t do. You just need to be familiar with speech and language targets, goals and benchmarks. It will come with practice and usage.

TIP: it is easier to pick out vocabulary words and artic words from language activities in group sessions. I suggest you begin there. From there you can take a vocabulary word and have then define it, state a synonym/antonym/homonym, or anything else to fit their goals. Have them use highlighter tape to mark the words that have their sound in them and on their turn practice correct production.

Engagement Tip: Use any open ended game whether a card game or a board game to keep everyone attending. Use open-ended activity sheets to keep little hands busy!

If you have more questions about this please email me at and I’ll help you all that I can!

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