As I was laminating and cutting out all of the cool free stuff I printed out from the blog hop, I started thinking about when I first started working. There were no iPads, no computers in the room, and not even a phone in the room. I relied heavily on picture cards and materials that I made and colored myself.
Let's say you're a brand new SLP. It may be your first year out of grad school, a new school, or a new school system. You're excited to take on this endeavor: it's a new job, new people, new challenges. You're shown your room (or your space), and you realize there are little to no materials. What are you going to do? Where are you going to start?
1) First, you need to be creative. I was lucky enough to have a mother-in-law who owned a bookstore; she gave me a couple of the Dr. Seuss' ABC books that I cut up, put on index cards, and laminated. I still use them for my artic cards at one of my schools.
2) If I described you in the second paragraph, you're lucky that you are working in this day and age of computers and iPads. There are a lot of free apps out there. Appshopper is a great way to make a wishlist of apps you want; they'll notify you when there is a sale.
3) Dollar Stores are your friend. I've noticed that some speech bloggers find things at Goodwill. I'm planning on taking advantage of it as well as a couple of other thrift stores we have in my area.
4) TpT: You wouldn't believe the free materials I've made from this site! I just can't thank those creative minds enough. If I see something I could use and it's free, I download it and save it on a file on my computer just in case there may be a fee for the license later. Of course, you do have to buy the cardstock, ink cartridges, and laminating film (at least I do!), and that can get costly. The key is to not get carried away. It's hard not to get excited when you see all of the amazing stuff. But then there are:
5) Grants. Our local education foundation gives us opportunities to write "mini-grants". I haven't tried, but as soon as we get that email, I'm going to try to get some funds for the materials for TpT.
6) Another good thing about being in the field in 2013 is the amount of speech blogs and, of course, Pinterest. Don't limit yourself to speech blogs and pins; you can get some great material from teachers.
7) Amazon Prime. You can get a free 30-day trial, then it's $79/year. You can borrow books and use on your tablet, iPad, Kindle, even your computer. I'm guilty of not using books as much as I should, but this may help me use them more.
8) Don't be afraid to ask coworkers for help in finding the right materials for your students. I'm not just talking about other SLPs, I'm talking about the teachers. Are you the only SLP in your system? Cozy up to the SLPs in neighboring systems. You may even be able to attend their meetings.
Not having materials can be stressful, but with time you will build your library. Talk with other SLPs, raid closets (only your own unless you have permission!), and visit the local dollar store. You'll be amazed at what you can find out there!