22 November 2015

I do NOT have the easiest job in the world {and why I wouldn't have it any other way}

I recently saw an article floating around Facebook listing 13 jobs for people who don't want to work a a lot. And right there smack in the middle was the listing "Speech-language pathologist". I'll be the first person to tell you that any time I see my job title pop up anywhere I get excited because "someone knows what I do!" is a fun feeling. I chuckled, and kept scrolling.

But as I moved on from the article,  I found I really couldn't move on.  I'm not one to take offense easily to much--I roll with the punches pretty well.  Here was my thought process, though: "I work a lot. Am I doing something wrong? It's fine, it's just an internet article. Yeah, but do they know what I do? It's. just. an. internet. article.  Yeah.....but sometimes my job is really hard! I should write something. Maybe I'll write something."

So....I'm writing something.

Some days my job is really easy. Just the other day, my height was used to help decorate the top of my school's Christmas tree we put in the lobby, and I got to sit with some of my favorite little friends during an assembly put on by the local orchestra. Sometimes Often, you'll find me in the toy aisle of some of any given store in my town hunting for new therapy materials and ideas. I drink a lot of coffee, and wear silly t-shirts on casual Fridays. I get a winter, spring and Thanksgiving break not to mention summer. 

Other days, I'm exhausted because it's IEP season, and I have 12 case conferences in a single day (and those IEPs just don't write themselves!). More often than I'd like, I walk into school on a Monday to find a child on my caseload has moved away over the weekend and I didn't get to say goodbye. What's more, is we had just started to make headway on his severe stutter. Or, I walk into my clinic job after school to find the tiniest baby on my caseload is in the hospital with pneumonia. Again.  Other times, my kiddo at school is having another screaming meltdown because he needs something, but can't express himself enough to tell us what it is. 

I write a lot of paperwork. A LOT. I take work home in the evenings, and spend many a Sunday afternoon curled up on the couch with my laptop, a blanket and watch football with my people. Even if you're part of the "I don't take work home forever and ever amen" tribe (teach me your ways!!), I've yet to meet an SLP who responds to the question of "Do you have time in your day to XYZ" with "My whole day is wide open!".  I evaluate, plan, treat, problem solve, take data, problem solve again, trouble shoot technology, hold meetings, and attempt to get to the bathroom.
This picture from my girl Meredith at Peachie Speechie sums it up so, so well:

I work. So very much. And I wouldn't trade it for the world. I'm so blessed every day to wake up and help change children's lives. I cherish every "thank you" from parents, every "we're so glad you've been a part of our lives" card, and every "Ms. Jones, do you see me today?!" from my little loves in the hallway at school. If you ask me, I have the best job in the world. But if you want to tell me it's the easiest? Come hang out with me for a day. And bring a cup of coffee along with your running shoes.

11 November 2015

ASHA15!! (Or, so much excitement I can't handle it)

The last time I was at ASHA, I was in grad school still trying to wrap my head around all that is speech therapy (let's be real, that's still me most days)....and it wasn't snowing.

NOW in a few hours I'm jumping on a plane to meet up with 14 of my blogging besties....and thousands more of new friends I just don't know I have yet! YOU!
Want to know where you can catch me while I'm in Denver?
(I've also got loads of conferences lined up to attend, so you'll likely see me there, too!) 

Seriously, Booth 429 is going to be THE place to be. Want to know who all will be there? Check out this post to get to know us all a little better. (Click the photo for the link)
Thursday night we're having a MEET & GREET, where you can meet all 15 of us and have a little more time to chat at the Embassy Suites. We've also got loads of things to give away, so maybe just show up for that ;) 
Make sure you follow all of my Social Media accounts to stay up to date with what's going down--you don't want to miss out! 
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Letstalkspeechtherapy/
Instagram: @letstalkspeechtherapy

Are you not headed to Denver? My TPT store will be 20% off Thursday-Saturday so you don't have to miss out on the goodies! And trust me--I'll social media enough things that you feel like you're there....without the cold & snow.

19 October 2015

Speech Therapy Gives Back--how I brought a lesson in gratitude to my speech room

Halloween is right around the corner, but in my speech room it's already Thanksgiving.

This year,  most of my students are writing letters to soldier's overseas who won't be home with their family for the holidays. I was on my way to work in the morning when I heard about a program called "The Big Thank you" on the radio. (Click the link to find out more) I thought it was sweet and was about to flip the dial until I thought "Wait! Why am I NOT getting involved?!" By lunchtime I had my plan together and was so excited I e-mailed the rest of my building to see if any other classrooms wanted to participate, too. I expected a cute mini-writing activity, but what I got was much better.

Each time I introduced the activity, I could hardly finish my explanation before my students' hands were in the air. "I'm going to say they're brave!" "How do you spell encourage?" "My dad is in the military, but he's home now. Those kids must feel so sad with their dads being far away!" I was completely impressed at how a simple activity had sparked so much language and conversation! My students were not only motivated to write (a less than preferred activity for most of my caseload), but they were perspective-taking, working together for ideas, and eager to jot down their ideas. After our letters were finished, I shared some with classroom teachers and some I sent with students who receive occupational therapy in order to perfect handwriting.

I so wish I could show you their letters, but some of the first information they wanted to put down was their name, where they're from, and where they go to school :) Here's how I worked these letters into my students' IEP goals:
Articulation/Fluency: writing words with our sounds, and then reading them from our letter (at the word, phrase or sentence level)
Language: vocabulary, sentence formulation, grammar of all kinds, describing, asking questions
Pragmatics: Thankfulness, empathy, perspective taking

If you click here, you can download the template I used (both primary and more advanced). You don't have to go through any organization or affiliation to write letters in your own room, but if you do, here are links to some that might be in your area:
Operation Gratitude
A Million Thanks
Operation We Are Here