Are Transfer and Generalization the Responsibility of SLPs?

February 16, 2020 12:00 am Published by

A School Psychologist recently shared with me an interaction he had with his school SLP. She was dismissing a student who had the /r/ sound in therapy but wasn’t using it in conversation. Her rationale was that he knows how to make the sound and it’s his responsibility to use it.

This always gets me agitated when I hear this as I think it is lazy and irresponsible on the part of the SLP. Thinking more kindly, it probably wasn’t taught in their professional training and it should have been. Transferring and generalizing speech sounds takes work, skill and knowledge and is part of the therapy process.

Using the SATPAC Approach, I begin transfer with phrases that are part of the SATPAC Program and have a prevocalic and postvocalic target sound in each phrase abutting all the various possible consonant combinations. The student is given a tally counter and has to push the button whenever he says the target sound. When I first began doing this, I was shocked by how often my students did not know when they were saying their target sound. Using this technique gets them to consistently self-monitor which is necessary at first for transfer. As they get the hang of it, the rate speeds up to a normal conversational rate which should be your goal. Often the student who has learned a speech sound, does not have the motor skill to be using that sound in conversation at a normal rate. This takes time and practice. The student is given a tally counter to take home and to use with homework.

From there we go to short sentences again monitoring with the tally counter. We do longer sentences then short stories. I use the S-CAT stories by Secord and Shine which have entertaining drawings to go along with the stories. Finally, if necessary, we work on conversation. At all of these levels, the student is using a tally counter to monitor their speech and is using the tally counter at home as part of their weekly homework.

If the student is not remediated, we continue by using their classroom reading texts and discussing their stories with the student continuing to self-monitor with the tally counter and then self-monitor without it.

When they are dismissed, I will do stability checks usually after 1 month and 3 months to make sure that they have not slipped back. If they have not, they have finished therapy.

All those steps might be necessary to get to conversational competence and are part of our responsibility as SLPs!

Stephen Sacks

P.S. In case you didn’t read January’s newsletter, that’s my granddaughter Abby in the picture.

I’m doing less private workshops recently and more professional development presentations to school districts. If your district is interested, contact me for details.

Because I want SLPs from all over to use and understand my program, I have a .6 CEU ASHA webinar that is basically the same as my live presentations. Go to the SATPAC website for details. Here is the link: