Saturday, January 25, 2014

#InstaSLP Roundup

Jenn at Crazy Speech World and Jenna at Speech Room News get us going every month with some fellowship between SLPs all over the country, if not the world, with #InstaSLP.  This month's agenda:

Thursday, January 23, 2014

What Comes Around...

Having been in the field for 29 years, it's amusing for me to see ideas for speech/language therapy and education circle back around.  "Whole language" was the big buzz word in the late 80's-early 90's.  One of the good things about it was that it got SLPs (or "speech clinicians" as we were called back then) out of the therapy room and into classrooms.  We weren't "in our own little world" any more...we learned what the classroom teachers were doing, and they learned things about us, too.  I remember working with one of the Kindergarten teachers in her class:  When the students were "reading" the big book, they got stuck on the word "and".  I simply signed the word, and they got it.  The teacher was amazed.  (I was, too, but I didn't let her know!)  If you walk into a classroom today, you can still see remnants of "whole language".  Of course, it's not called that, but it's there.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Wednesday Waffs

Another short post this week, and these 2 "waffs" are what I've gathered since we got back from break!  If you have anything to share, add them in the comments!

~  As I was walking back to the room with a group of 2nd graders, one of the boys mentioned that they weren't going outside for recess.  When I asked him why, he said he didn't know and that it may be because of the wind chill.

~  A third grade teacher in one of my schools is working on idioms.  When she asked her students to give her an example of an idiom, one of the girls blurted out, "Cut the cheese!"

Monday, January 20, 2014

Letting Go

Sometimes, letting go of students is so hard.  There are the joyous dismissals when students master their sounds, or have increased their language skills to an appropriate level.  Then there are the dismissals that are hard to take:  the students who don't make significant progress to deem continued therapy beneficial.  Especially when you've had these students for a long time.  You've seen these students struggle through the years, and you've worried about them.  You've grown attached...not only to the students, but to their families as well.  You've fought for the students to receive additional services.  You love those kids.
When do you know when it's time to let them go?  For articulation students, I give them 2 years.  If they have made no (and I mean NO) progress within those 2 years, it's time.  If they have any inkling of any progress at all, I won't even consider making that recommendation to the IEP team.  I also take motivation into consideration, and bringing their homework back signed is a huge indicator to me.  I keep a record of when they bring it back with a parent's signature, and will use that percentage to back up motivation (or the lack of).  

Language students are so much harder for me to let go, but testing doesn't lie.  If a student has made no significant progress over 3 years and is receiving additional services (such as inclusion or resource), then it's time.  It's time to weigh the benefits of continued language therapy for 1 hour/week vs. the student staying in the classroom; especially if the student is in 4th or 5th grade, when academics are so demanding.  Can his needs be met through special ed services?    Will the inclusion services along with the resource services be enough?  If the student is requesting that he be allowed to stay in the class instead of coming to speech/language, should that tell the SLP something?  It could be that deep down the student realizes that he's missing things in the classroom.  Would it be beneficial for the SLP to go into the classroom instead of pulling the student?  These are all questions whose answers should be taken into consideration when presenting a recommendation to the IEP team.
While letting go can be a happy time, it can also be a time of grief.  It is important to remember that you, as an SLP, are a member of the team, and it is a team decision.  Bring the facts to the table, and begin the discussion.  And try not to shed tears.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Therapy Week in Review: 01/17/2014

To say that I've been a little unmotivated since the break would be a bit of an understatement.  I'm having a hard time getting back into therapy mode.  (Guess I'm still on "Key Time"!) The first week back after break was a short week (we only went to school for 3 days), and then on Monday I faced an 8:00 observation.  I knew it was coming (ours have to be announced), so there was no surprise.  I was dreading Friday because of a meeting.  It helps to have a supportive Special Ed. Supervisor & principal.  In fact, my principal sent a very encouraging email following the meeting.  The meeting went very well, so it turned out not to be that big of a deal.  Isn't that the way it goes most of the time?  You get so worked up about what "may" happen, but if you're prepared, it will go smoothly.
Enough of that!  Here's what we did in my therapy room this week:
This week was "Bear Snores On" (Karma Wilson, Jane Chapman) week, with activities from Mindy Stenger's Companion Packet.  Oh, how I love this book!  While reading the book to my preschoolers, they found the animal that was introduced and matched it to the "shadow picture".  
My preschoolers that are in the preschool class at school completed some of the activities from the packet.
Since Monday was "5 Minute Day", I had the following stations set up:
1) Articulate It! as a listening station
2) Roll & Color Speech & Language Practice Set (A freebie by Mindy Stenger!)
The students said their target 3 times, then rolled a dice and colored that many sleds.  The 3 cards just above the paper are visual directions:  1) Say word, 2) roll dice, 3) color.  I use those as reminders to the students so they will work independently while I'm working 1 on 1 with another student for 5 minutes.
3) I only did this with 1 group since that is the only group that has 4 students with all of them working on /r/:  The student did their tongue stimulation exercise with a Nuk brush, then used the Smartboard to complete a snowman.  I completely forgot to take a picture of that activity since that was when I was being observed.

For Tuesday, I used the Roll & Color activity, but the students played it as a game to see who could finish their sleds first.

Wednesday and Thursday was "Game Day".  We re-read "Bear Snores On", and played the reinforcement game that is in Mindy's packet:
One student used the verbs that are in the packet to make sentences using the verb in the past, present, and future tense.  He also used the plural cards included in the packet.
Have you ever heard of "Noisy Stories"?   The stories are short and very repetitive, and include sounds throughout the story.  This month, we are reading "The Beautiful Coat".  The sounds targeted are "sh", /t/, /m/, and /o/.  There will be a sentence followed by the target sound 3 times.  For example, "The wind blew.  sh-sh-sh."  I am using this with one of my students who is nonverbal. This week, he imitated /t, m, o/!  He had imitated the /t/ last week, but this was the first time I've heard an /o/!  I was amazed!  He had been watching my mouth pretty intently, so I thought it was just a matter of time before he correctly produced it.
For more in depth information on "Noisy Stories", visit Carrie; she wrote a post last January about using the book in therapy.  She also has some great ideas for expansion activities.
If you use "Noisy Stories" in your therapy, how do you use it?

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Getting Back into the Swing of Things

What an awesome break I had!  Christmas, followed by a camping trip to see the New Year's entrance in The Keys, a side trip to St. Augustine, followed by an extended 3-day break (thank you, Mother Nature!).  I could get used to 2-day weeks!
 Our last sunset in The Keys.
It was incredibly cold & windy in St. Augustine
I played the board game from "New Year's Resolution Race" from SpeechSnacks (FREE!)  with all of my groups on Thursday.  And, I mean all of my groups; even my preschool walk-ins.   We talked about what we did for New Year's Eve, and discussed resolutions before we played the game.   When it wasn't their turn, the students colored the New Year page from colarapp.  If you haven't checked out this free app, do it!  Thank you, Mia from putting words in your mouth for mentioning it in this post! It was a nice way to get back into the groove.
Friday is my day to see some students individually (except for 1 group session), so I had one more day to get back into the swing of things.  I'll have to hit the ground running this week:  I have my 2nd (and last) observation at 8:00 on Monday  (YIKES!)...this will be the first time I've been observed during a "5 minute Day", so we'll see how it goes.  Wednesday is our monthly Speech Meeting, which means doing just a tad bit of rearranging groups, and Friday morning is a meeting by parent request.  We have snow in the forecast for Wednesday, so, with any luck, maybe, just maybe I'll have a free day in there somewhere!
How was last week for  you?  Were you able to slide back into your schedule, or did you have to meet it straight on?
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