Risk-Benefit Analysis in Speech Therapy

Do you do risk-benefit analysis when choosing goals? Risk-benefit analysis is not a new concept. I had a professor who talked about this when I was getting my master’s. She commented on how even doing artic therapy has potential adverse side effects. At the time, the class was perplexed. Negative side effects? In artic therapy? Yes. There are always potential positive outcomes and possible adverse outcomes for treatment. This was a very long post, so I have decided to break it up into three sections. Here is the first part, getting to know your student.

Risk-benefit in speech therapy

This one sounds a bit obvious. Spend some time with your student before you start formally assessing or starting therapy. Get a sense of their personality and interests. I know this is not always possible, but I find that it helps with assessment, choosing goals, and later therapy.

Make sure you read through their file. Again this seems obvious, but I find it if I’m short of time, I tend to skip this part. I shouldn’t. There are often little nuggets of information that help choose goals, consult with other team members, and help with therapy.

Talk with family members and the student’s previous team members. Again, this can be time-consuming, but I find that doing this allows for better meetings with families and goals that better fit the student. Of course, make sure you have all the appropriate release of information.

Getting info will help give you an idea of potential goals and treatment. Are you going to take a more prompt approach with a student who hates having people touch their face? Are you going to take a more of a complexity approach with a student who is anxious and tends to shut down if they don’t have immediate success?

This is the first part of my information gathering process when starting the risk-benefit analysis process. I know that caseloads are ridiculous in most schools, and this is not always possible. But the more information you have, the better decisions you can make. The next post will talk about deciding on a therapy approach.


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