Sunday, December 1, 2013


What's in Your Cart ? Linky Party!


I'm linking up with Jenna over at Speech Room News!


So, this is really about...what is in MY cart!  Happy to share some thoughts about what I look for in a product.

1. Portability. Itinerant SLPs will understand this concern. I have 3 schools and work with ages PK through grade 12.  Yes--that is ages 3 through 18! 

2. Versatility. Can multiple goals be addressed with a product? Can it be used with multiple age groups? I keep those concepts in mind EVERY time I design a product.

3. Value. Value and versatility go together. 'Nuff said.

First---shameless plugs for my own products!


This is my newest book companion and it is FULL of activities for SLPs! The emphasis with this packet is both receptive and expressive language---but--expressive language is the true focus. Understanding and using multiple meaning words, irregular and regular past tense verbs and creating complex sentences are a few of the materials included.  Go check it out!

For upper elementary, middle school and YES even high school students, I have a comprehensive, holiday, themed language packet that is NOT cutsy, yet still fun!




This packet is comprehensive and everything in it is related to Christmas! In this packet, are enough tasks for your older students for several sessions! 

Lastly, my newest eBook!  This is for younger students....check it out!



I started writing my own books because I was concerned about possible copyright violations. This is a guaranteed way to avoid that since I am the author of the story! The file for the book is separate from the activity packet so the story can be used on an iPad or tablet.  This is a cute story about animals decorating a community tree. There are sequencing cards, wh-questions, yes/no questions, prepositions, story props and grammar activities.

Now, on to my recommendations:


My students LOVE this game! It meets ALL of my criteria, too.  It is portable---two mats and 2 deck of cards and you are on your way! It is versatile--can be used with ANY other card sets to target various sound, AND you can have students with multiple goals in the same group playing this game together while targeting different sounds.  That is HUGE in my book.  Value--at only $2.00 you simply can't go wrong!  Go check it out!


This packet also meets all of my criteria and there are action-oriented verbs included for each phrase listed. That will get your students up and moving while practicing their target sounds. This packet focuses on articulation in connected speech---which promotes generalization. I also like the idea that gross motor skills are involved which adds to the level of difficulty. 


This CCSS tool will help you get ready for the big change in standards. We have to align all IEP goals to standards, and Nicole has already done that for you with this product.  Go grab it! 


Have fun making your purchases!


Tracy


Friday, November 1, 2013

Speech Skills in Conversation


In the world of speech therapy, the ultimate goal is for the student's speech to be correctly produced in conversation. We start with mouth movements, single sounds, words, sentences and finally conversation. The key to success at the conversational level boils down to two simple concepts:  responsibility and routine. 

Responsibility: Recently, I sent home one of Crazy Speech World's carryover sheets with a 6th grader. He is working on R, L and Th in conversation. When I saw him the next week, he told me he had lost the sheet.  This prompted a brief conversation about organization, which is challenge for many students. So who is responsible here? Ultimately, the student must be responsible, however the parent must also be involved. Over nearly three decades, I have heard nearly every excuse from both students and parents about why practice does not occur at home. The reality is that speech is simply not a priority. However, for elementary students, the parent is the "bottom line." If for whatever reason they do not take responsibility for practicing speech at home, carryover will likely not happen.  Once in a while, the student will spontaneously begin using error sounds correctly in conversation, but usually that is not the case--especially with older students. Once a student gets beyond 6th grade, they must assume at least part of the responsibility. If you have a student and/or parent who is willing to be responsible, then what do you do?

Routine: The obvious answer to the above question is practice!  But how, when, where? The two best ways to accomplish practice in connected speech are:

 1) paying attention while talking at the dinner table; 

2) reading aloud with correct speech production as the major goal.

If you have a student or parent who is willing to take responsibility for working on speech, then you can use a checklist similar to the one provided by Crazy Speech World (sponsor of this linky). I ask students to read aloud for 5 minutes every night. Similarly, I ask students and their families to pay attention to speech at the dinner table for 5 minutes every night. They can do one or the other or both!  There will be more success if you ask for manageable amounts of participation.

Nothing works: This all sounds good, but what do you do when none of these ideas work? Yes, been there and done that more times than I care to remember! I tell students and parents: it is YOUR responsibility! If they do not follow through, then we continue to practice in speech--during conversation and reading aloud--so I am modeling what I want them to do at home/in the car/etc. Yes, I have had students who get to this point and do not make progress in conversation. Yes, I have had to dismiss students for lack of progress--which does not make one feel good about the job--but sometimes there is nothing else you can do. Right now I have a student who is a SENIOR in high school and still has not taken on responsibility for speech in conversation. Often, emotional issues are the underlying cause and if those are not addressed successfully, then responsibility becomes a greater challenge. 

Fortunately, most students do make progress and are eventually exited from speech successfully!

Exit criteria: Recently, I have begun discussing exit criteria during IEP meetings(for articulation students). What are your exit criteria? Reply below!

Happy November!

Tracy





Thursday, October 17, 2013


Facebook Frenzy Hop!


Here is a map of all of the fabulous SLPs who are donating a FREEBIE to the Blog/TpT hop!

Instructions:

1) Click on the  map below which will take you to the list of SLPs. 




2) The link takes you to another clickable map---just like this one. 
3) Click on one of the squares.  It will take you to that person's Facebook page.  
4) Look for the tab on their Facebook page that looks like this: 


5) When you click on the tab and LIKE the page, you will be able to download the FREEBIE.  

COLLECT ALL 20 FREEBIES!!!!!


Happy Hopping!

Tracy
GoldCountrySLP

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Time Savers = Sanity Savers!

What?  The basic concept: Paperwork that has to be signed is done IN PERSON.  It is NOT sent home--which was the way it has been done for years. Now, the parent must come in to sign. So far this year, it has worked beautifully. Yes, there will be exceptions, but this approach has saved my sanity.

Why?  Paperwork that is sent home usually does not come back. This creates more work if you hope to retrieve it.

How?  Here is my procedure:

1)                  Call the parent and make an appointment for them come in to sign the paperwork.  During that phone call, I also get a few prospective IEP meeting dates from the parent.

2)                Between that phone call and the time they come in, I talk to the teacher and principal and we agree on a meeting date/time that matches one of the dates given by the parent. Often, I do this via e-mail.

3)                When the parent comes in to sign forms, one of those forms is the meeting notice with the agreed upon day/date/time. 


Result: So we have the prior written notice, assessment plan and meeting notice ALL signed before I have even tested the child. The parent also receives copies of everything-on the spot. It is really quite simple, effective and efficient. 

Such a time saver!

Tracy

Monday, September 2, 2013

SEPT SLP Link-Up

September means many things, but if you are a
school-based speech-language pathologist it means you are VERY busy.  Here, we have completed three weeks of school already! 




S - SCORPION! This creepy arachnid stung me last night! 2 inches long. It was on the bed. No, I'm not kidding and yes, I am fine. BTW-I absolutely LOVE the German rock group The Scorpions!


E - Extra time ! I have a WONDERFUL SLPA this year for two whole days. I lost one day a year ago when I was asked to absorb a retiree's one day caseload--with NO extra time allowed! This made the last school year a nightmare. 

P - Planning! We all do a lot of planning. Planning time was non-existent last year, so it feels like a luxury to have some time to plan. 

T - Therapy! It's what we do! I'm busy organizing and making materials.  What's on the horizon? Halloween!  Check out my Spooky Speech Fun activities: 


Blog hop? I am hoping to get in on the next blog hop...hint, hint! 

Happy Fall!

Tracy

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Scheduling in the Schools...UGH!

It is before 6:00 AM on a SATURDAY and here I am writing about another aspect of our jobs-for those of us who are school-based SLPs. This is my 30th year and I have seen just every possible situation in the school system! This year, I am working at 2 K-6 elementary schools, one of which also houses a state-funded pre-K class AND I have a high school with some very challenging students. I have some tips for you regarding scheduling, though the overall challenge truly does not get any easier with experience (in general). In other words, I have the same challenges that the newer clinicians have--some things just do not change just because one has more experience. So here is my list...

Teacher communication

1) Have the teachers meet you in the staff room one day BEFORE school. You can have a list of all students and your time slots. Assign students to a time slot based on teacher preference.

2) Send each teacher a note with their students(s) listed and ask for time slots they do NOT prefer or that absolutely will not work. I find this more helpful than simply asking what times they do want.

3) Go personally to the teachers who are more challenging to accommodate.  If you have worked for more than a year or two at a particular school, you will know what I am talking about! Sometimes you just have to talk to some of the teachers individually.

Working Around Other Schedules

1) One of my schools has a LOT of extra programs during the day including music, computer lab, PE, a traveling storyteller, etc. This school also has two 40-minute periods during which I can not schedule kids. One of those periods restricts the time I can work with 1st-3rd graders and the other restricts access to 4th-6th graders.  AGHHH! Get the schedules for all of these ahead of time. If you are located near one of the rooms where one or more of these programs take place, pull kids as the end of that scheduled time.  For example, I am next door to the library at one of my schools. I schedule students who are from the class furthest away to they come to speech right after library.  Saves time for everyone. When you are ready to tear your hair out, remember that IEP services take precedence over everything else...our district folks understand this.

2) If any of your students also receives PT or OT, consider doing therapy together WITH those folks.  It is a BLAST!  Last year, our OT came in to the speech room and we worked together with a group of students. Her schedule was insane and I was happy to accommodate both her schedule and the needs of our shared students. I have also worked together with our adaptive PE teacher...what a a hoot! He set up the game or physical activity, I joined in and added the language goals as we all played together.  FUN, FUN, FUN!  I highly recommend you try this!

High Schools and Middle Schools

High schools and middle schools are much more of a challenge. If you serve one or both, you know what I mean. I have significant experience at both.  Class schedules vary widely.  Some schools have a straight-forward multi-period day that does not change from day-to-day. Others, like the high school I currently serve, may have something called a rotating block schedule where four class periods happen on the "A" day and a different set of four class periods happen on a "B" day. The A/B days rotate every other day.  No, I am NOT kidding.  Now, just imagine you have a student who is at the top of his class academically and can only be seen during ONE particular period...on a "B" day in the afternoon....you get my point. Nightmare!!

1) Get to know the school academic counselors! These are the people who schedule classes for your students. If you can talk to them before the end of the school year, they can accommodate you to some degree when looking ahead to the next year. One counselor actually contacted me at the beginning of this school year when looking to change a speech student's schedule. Take this time to get to know these people!

2) At the beginning of the school year, send an e-mail or leave notes in the teacher's boxes explaining who you are, what you do, and which of their student(s) you serve. Even though a high school can be intimidating, you will find most teachers will be accommodating and appreciative of the service you provide. Having this information will also lead to greater flexibility in scheduling and improved communication.

3) Pull from PE class!  Let me tell you that one year I had a middle school PE teacher track me down and verbally tell me off (in front of a student!) for pulling someone out of PE.  Guess what...that was about 20 years ago and I STILL pull kids out of PE whenever possible.  Sorry, but academics take precedence over PE--every time! Pulling students out of academic classes is to be avoided as much as possible! Most parents will totally agree with this approach. Talk to your school administrator (and the student's parents) about this if you have any difficulties.

Grouping Students

I just have to say that at this point, I group students by classroom NOT by disorder. Yes, you must be ready to address multiple goals at once. Frankly, I find that a significant amount time is wasted trying to fetch kids each day with similar goals from different classrooms. It also drives teachers crazy when kids come and go frequently.

In my TpT store, you will find that most of my products are designed to address MULTIPLE goals simultaneously.  Now you know why I design my materials in this manner! My store is located HERE.

Happy Labor Day!!

Tracy

Saturday, August 24, 2013



Medical SLPs.....Here is a tool for those of you... who conduct MBSS (modified barium swallow studies). This idea came from another hospital, but was not used at our local acute care facility. I discussed using this with the folks in the dietary department. They really liked the idea. When I received an order for an MBS and the study has been scheduled, I fax (from home) the following completed form. The dietary staff put the test tray together and it is ready when I go down to pick it up! They LOVE the form.  I LOVE that the tray is ready exactly when I need it! The other benefit to using this form is that is gives them a way to track the use of food for the MBS studies. Once I take the tray into the radiology suite, all I have to do is mix up everything and we are ready to proceed.


You have my permission to copy this....however, if you post it on a blog (or Pinterest or anywhere else), please give a link back to my blog.

Happy testing!

Tracy







Friday, August 23, 2013

Let's Get Organized!

Many of us have a ton of TpT materials....so now that we have all of these downloads...how do we get organized? Here is a photo of what I do with my materials.



You don't even have to have everything laminated or cut.  Just print out your downloads. Determine what size envelope you will need.  Is there a game board? Are there full-sized worksheets? Maybe you have a set of cards that do not require storage in a large envelope. The next step is to find manila envelopes! I try to have those on hand in two sizes: one size that fits 8.5 X 11 sheets of paper and a smaller size that is roughly half that size. Earlier Jenna over at Speech Room News wrote a post about printing. I print each cover page included with each download-full size if a larger envelope will be needed, half size if a smaller envelope will work.  Next, the cover page is glued onto the appropriate envelope. Finally, I take the envelopes to school to laminate. The personal laminators do not work well for this due to the thickness of the envelopes. Put your materials (ready or not) inside and voila...you are good-to-go!  With items that are not yet ready to use, they are at least labeled and in one location when I need them. 

For book companions, or other materials that are theme-related, I used large plastic bags. One of my schools (I'm at THREE), they have a room that is basically a dumping ground. There are many heavy-duty plastic bags left that used to contain materials that are out-dated. I collected a lot of those and you can see below how I use them.  Here is a picture of my materials for the Jan Brett book "The Hat."


Now you are probably thinking: "What does she do with ALL of those envelopes?" Yes, well, the easiest method to organize those is by season or theme. I have bins for each. For the "bigger" seasons, like Christmas, I have more than one bin.  The bins are small enough that I can put one on the back seat of my car and haul it easily from school-to-school. Sometimes, I have to go to three schools in one day, so it has to be portable. If I am working with one theme, say arctic animals, a bin may not be needed.  I have a enough different materials to meet virtually any goal for PS-6th grade and can put those into one large bag. 

So that is organization....for now!





Tuesday, August 20, 2013

S...Peachy Feedback Linky Party-Time!


Feedback is wonderful!  For those of us who work so hard to make therapy materials, it is GREAT to get detailed feedback!  We also know it takes a lot of TIME to write out those comments, so we are offering FREEBIES for those who leave great feedback.  I am sooo happy to join in on this...was going to do it on my own, but this is more FUN.  

One of my buyers left some awesome feedback and she will get the item of her choice from my store FREE!   Check out what she said below:


Julie Graham...email me with your choice from my store!

Thank you to Allison over at SpeechPeeps for setting this up!




Monday, August 12, 2013

Back to School FREEBIE !

Many of you enjoyed my Sticky Note Bundle, so I decided to offer one page of it for free!  This will help you all year long. Those of you who work in the school system know how difficult it is to send for your students, so this is a way to make that easier for you. I often send a note with a student from the group I am finishing with to send for the next students(s). Now you won't have to write any more notes!  Just print these out on 2" x 2" sticky notes, add the students names and you are good-to-go.


The FREEBIE is in my TpT store.  Click here ! If you download, please leave feedback!



Saturday, August 10, 2013

Corduroy!  No, not the fabric, the BEAR!  If you work with children, you probably know all about Corduroy. He is an adorable, lovable character who is the central character in several books written by author/illustrator Don Freeman. The original Corduroy book was published in 1968. Corduroy is innocent and loving--characteristics that appeal to all--especially children. Freeman wrote two other books, "A Pocket for Corduroy," and "Corduroy Lost and Found." All three books are very appealing both in terms of the characters and the inner messages conveyed.

Books are a favorite tool of speech language pathologists who work with children. The series of Corduroy books are a wonderful resource to engage children in speech and language tasks. With that in mind, I created a book companion, which can be found here:


The packet contains what I consider to be essential elements when using a book for language and speech therapy. One important aspect is the ability to understand the vocabulary used in the book. It can be very difficult to understand a story if a child is unfamiliar with the vocabulary. There are a total of 32 vocabulary cards and definitions.  Eight of the cards are key words with pictures that are essential to comprehending the story. The remaining vocabulary items help refine the details of the story. The second task is sequencing - which I consider to be the heart of teaching with a book. This packet contains eight picture sequencing cards depicting essential elements in the story. I also included a set of frames containing 8 connector words-samples shown below:

The child takes the sequencing cards and can either place them on top of the connector words (which you will cut apart) or below them while USING the words before they describe the card. Many of you already know that children with language difficulties overuse "and" when telling a story. This activity provides an opportunity to teach other, more useful connector words. I would emphasize inclusion of the connector words every time a child retells the story. BTW-this skill transfers over to written language-like many other verbal skills.

This packet also contains 30 comprehension questions derived from the story. You can use these as a simple drill task, or you can use the generic game board included for reinforcement and motivation.

Social skills and pragmatic language have become an important part of speech and language therapy.  The story about Corduroy offers many opportunities to pose situations and questions for children to think about and discuss. A total of 18 questions and scenarios that relate to the story are included.

Children need the opportunity to retell a story in their own words, as stated earlier. There are 11 story props included for use with retelling the story using a role-playing approach. These could also be used with a reader's theater activity.



Many children need practice with straightforward YES/NO questions, so there are 24 included. The cards have icons for children who need a "point-to" format.



Next, there are 2 types of story maps included. One is for children who are not yet ready to write out their answers. This story map contains the basic elements- characters, setting, problem, events, resolution of the problem-all in picture form. The pictures can be used as a cut and paste task, or laminated with velcro attached so they can be re-used. The second story map contains the same basic elements and allows the child to write down answers.


Finally, there is a grammar activity using three characters from the book. The activity focuses on pronouns + has/have verb forms (He has a book, she has a book, etc). Many children have difficulty with this task and this provides an opportunity to practice using characters from the story.

I hope you enjoy this packet!

Tracy
GoldCountrySLP©








Thursday, July 25, 2013

Data Collection - Made EASY !

Admittedly, this is NOT my fave topic, however it must be done. Collecting data is how we discover where our students/patients/clients are at the beginning of treatment.  It is how we measure their progress during treatment.  And finally, data tells us how they did at the end of treatment or perhaps when it is time to end treatment.

That said, there are many ways to collect data, which is easy to do when you have only one person you are seeing at a time.  Try having a group of 2, 3, 4 or more kids at once!  Yikes!! What do you do? How do you do this efficiently? What if your students are working on totally different sounds?  Can you even collect data for that many students and sounds at the same time? YES, you can. This method is MUCH better than the scraps of paper, random sticky notes, full-sized data sheets that you madly flip back and forth to....

Data Collection made easy:



This is a template for 2" by 2" sticky notes.  You print them out - 6 at a time. If you look closely, you can see that these were designed with your artic students in mind. At the top, you put the student's name, the date, the sound they are working on and the level of practice (W=word, P=phrase, S=sentence). Across the top of the form, you can score one sound in the three different positions (I=initial, M=medial, F=final). You track correct and incorrect responses and tally the results--all on ONE 2"x 2" sticky note!

Now, when you are preparing to take data, you can either peel off the sticky note from the template and use it elsewhere OR you can leave them on the template, which is often my choice.  This gives you a TON of flexibility--multiple sounds can be measured for multiple students.

When you have collected the data, you can then place the sticky note in the student's chart or file for easy reference when it is time to write up progress and you are done!!

I love this and am so glad I have found a way to collect data quickly and easily for multiple students and multiple sounds.

The packet featured also includes two other templates I use ALL THE TIME, so that is 3 templates for $1.00.



Sunday, July 7, 2013

A Pirate's Life for Me - Mini Book and companion activity packet!


Ahoy Mateys!
Arrre you ready for the pirate invasion? Well, ready or not, the pirates are here! My newest project is an original story book with a full set of receptive and expressive language activities to accompany it. You don't have to buy a book---because it is included!
The activities are:  1) Comprehension Questions, 2) Sequencing Cards (12 of them!), 3) Auditory Memory Treasure Hunt Game, 4) Vocabulary Picture Cards, 5) Vocabulary Definition Cards that match the picture cards, 5) I Spy (or should I say Aye Spy!) Look & Find activity, 6) Fun Facts about pirates (did you know there were lady pirates?), 7) Pirate Jokes & Riddles, 8) Pirate Prepositions, and lastly, 9) Pirate Grammar!

This is a HUGE packet of thematically related activities!  Everything coordinates with the story, so it will make sense to you and your students/clients!

It is on sale right now, so hurry over to my store.  You can also enter to win the giveaway below.  Don't forget to like my page on Facebook, because that is where I post new items first!  Also, follow me on TpT--click the button on the right side of this page.  It will take you directly to my store.

Have fun!

Tracy

Giveaway of new product!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

 Themes!

Those of us who work with young children are very tuned into various themes.  One of my all-time favorite themes that kids LOVE is dogs and puppies! Even a child who may be a little reluctant to talk will talk about animals, especially dogs. I have several activities that are built around this theme. First, I would like to share a gem that I stumbled upon on amazon.com.  See the photo below...Where Is Puppy? This a basic lotto game with an audio CD and colorful photos on game boards. The speaker is clear and uses a slow (but not too slow) rate of speech when she describes which puppy the child is supposed to locate on their board. I always stop the recording after the speaker gives the instructions to wait for each child to determine if they have a match on their board. This activity is GREAT for working on basic prepositions, although kids who do not need this type of instruction enjoy it, too. Listening activities such as this one also promote good turn taking behavior for preschoolers, which helps them get ready for kindergarten. See the link below the photo to find this item on amazon.com.
Listening Lotto "Where is Puppy?"
See above for link.

Continuing with the dog and puppy theme, my youngest students really needed activities specifically designed for Childhood Apraxia of Speech. What better way to work on beginning sounds than to use dogs and puppies to help encourage participation and enthusiasm?! Below is my Playful Puppies packet-link is below the photo. In this packet, there are cards for working on the P, B and M sounds-in all positions of words (beginning, middle and end). Children this age often need help with basic concept words (similar to the listening activity above) so there are cards for the earliest developing prepositions. I also designed bingo boards with the clip art used for the cards. Additionally, there are cards that depict basic shapes and colors.  Those could be used for a matching or go-fish type game. Lastly, there is a game board which I use when working on articulation. The gameboard can be used as a reinforcer for any task. 
http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Playful-Puppies--604094
For those of you who need a few more activities using this theme, I suggest Janelle Publications "Dudsberry" character sets. They are GREAT! Also found on the Janelle site are magnetic playsets entitled "Create-A-Scene." There are several themes, including "Pet Shop" which fits in nicely with the dog/puppy theme.
Here is a link to the Janelle Publications site: http://www.janellepublications.com/

Have fun!  

Tracy



What Would You Do?

As a long-time SLP, I can't begin to tell you how many times I have been in public and have noticed someone with a speech-language difficulty. What to do? Well, of  course, 99% of the time I do not say anything. Yesterday, however, was different.

I heard her voice before I saw her face.  You do not have to be an SLP to notice that there is something unusual about her voice. To be truthful, "unusual" is not an appropriate description. She has a voice disorder. Her voice calls attention to her-and not in a good way. How did I approach this?  Not very creatively. I asked her if she had laryngitis.  She said "no," that she had a voice problem. I told her what I did professionally and that voice was an area of our field that I had both experience and interest in. She seemed open to talking about it.  Very nice person, sweet disposition.  She described her attempts to get help and without specifics, she told me she was very discouraged that no one had been able to help her.

Before I go further...for the SLPs in the group...here is what I heard:  aphonia, pitch breaks (which seemed to get worse when she tried to speak louder), diplophonia (is there such a thing a multiphonia?), breathiness, harshness. My training:  I was VERY fortunate as a grad student to have been taught by Dr. Rebecca Leonard. She runs the voice clinic at UC Davis Medical Center. She was an incredible professor of voice disorders--one of the toughest classes I ever took. Loved it.

Now, back to the situation at hand. The person told me her voice had always been this way. She described that she had undergone 3 direct laryngoscopic exams. By her description, the last one was done with the intent of  performing surgery on her vocal folds. However, the surgeon decided not to do anything about it for fear that he might make her voice worse. Her frustration and discouragement with this was palpable.

I suggested she seek treatment at one of two centers: UCDMC or SacENT. I gave her the names of several ENTs I am familiar with any of which would be excellent (also gave her Dr. Leonard's name). I did my best to encourage her NOT to give up. Gave her my contact info and told her to call me anytime for help. I can only hope that she decides to pursue further treatment.

So, a 5-10 minute errand turned into a 25 minute stop and a lively conversation about voice disorders. :)

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Future SLPs.....Can You Work in both the schools AND the medical/clinical world?  Yes, you can!

When I started out as an SLP in 1984, I had not decided whether I wanted to work as a school-based SLP or as a hospital-based SLP. Those were basically the two choices. Several of my colleagues had decided one way or the other. I absolutely loved the medical part of our practice.  However, I am the daughter of two school teachers, so the school system is a place where I am totally comfortable and to which I gravitated. Now it is 2013 and I still have not made up my mind which side of the fence I am on! Guess what....it is OK not to make a firm decision. I have practiced in both venues my entire career (add to that list private practice and home-health).  Currently, I work full-time for the local school system and per diem for our local acute-care facility. As many of you probably know, each site requires a very different skill set. There are pros and cons to both. Before I list the pros and cons for each type of work, I will tell you this: Working as a medical/clinical SLP gives you knowledge that transfers to the school setting and enhances your skills as a school SLP. Having said that, here are the pros and cons for each setting.

The School System

Pros: A steady paycheck.  Benefits that are unbeatable in terms of quality and cost. Lots of vacation built into your schedule.

Cons: Paperwork. Work overload. Undervalued as an employee.

The Medical System

Pros: You can negotiate your pay rate. Flexible scheduling. Workload is not nearly as overwhelming as the school caseloads. In general, I find that medical folks have high regard for what I do.

Cons: I can't think of any, frankly.

So, how do you do both? It makes for longer days, but it can be done if you are in close proximity to all of your sites.

If you can swing it, I highly recommend doing both. Please feel free to ask questions!



Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Today I helped a high schooler.  Well, I do that every week, but today was different. Students in California are required to pass the CAHSEE.  What on Earth is THAT? CAHSEE stands for the California High School Exit Exam, which is required to graduate from high school.  Some of our students who are language/learning disabled have difficulty passing this test. Note: It is NOT because they are not intelligent.  It sometimes happens because they have difficulty using words to express themselves. Does that mean they should not graduate?  Of course not. So, what exactly did I do to help a student in this situation? I identified her problem and because of that she will NOW receive some assistance in passing.  No, that does not mean she gets out of taking the test.  It simply means that she will receive specialized tutoring to help her compensate for her difficulties, and, hopefully, pass the CAHSEE! Yes, all of this seems like it should not be that big a deal....but it could mean the difference between participating in graduation and not participating.  Can you imagine not "walking" with your class at graduation?  Of course not.  So, even though few people really know how SLPs impact the lives of others...today I hope I did just that...made an impact. At the very  least, I set a student up for success.  There is no greater goal.  And...I will be there to watch her "walk" with her class.  How is that for positive thinking?

In a future post, I will share other ways SLPs help high school students....stay tuned.

Monday, March 18, 2013

To my fellow SLPs and any interested others...sometimes there is help for your child or student just around the corner! Today I enlisted the assistance of a parent helper at one of my schools.  I have a student who has multiple needs--in SLP talk--she has a severe lateral lisp and grammar issues.  We all know that schools are very short of money. Thankfully, we have parents who volunteer at our schools.  There is a parent in the classroom next door to my office (at one of my 3 schools) who is a registered nurse.  She is in training to become a teacher and is assisting in a classroom twice a week.  I asked her if she would be able to sit down with my student for five minutes both days she was here.  I explained our rules for confidentiality--being a nurse, she was very familiar with HIPAA, of course. She offered to work twice weekly with my student--what a great resource! So, while I would not ask just anyone to help out a speech student, sometimes you can find wonderful helpers by just inquiring!  Looking forward to seeing faster progress for my student!

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Childhood Apraxia of Speech (CAS)

Hello!

While I am very new to blogging, this being my first post, I am most definitely not new to speech - language pathology! I am about to complete my 29th year in field (at the end of March). Many things in this field have changed since I began practicing in March, 1984.

Fairly recently, I have been treating several Pre-K and kindergarten-aged children for Childhood Apraxia of Speech-CAS. While this disorder has been around as long as I have been practicing, recent studies and seminars have brought new information to light. In a nutshell, here is what I have found to be necessary for children with CAS to make progress:  1) PRACTICE--more is definitely better; 2) cueing for correct placement (I will post a video I made for a parent about this), 3) specific feedback (e.g. "you put your lips together-good job!," 4) motivation-activities must be engaging and motivating.  To that end, I have created a packet designed specifically for young children with CAS.  I will post pictures demonstrating it in action next week.  While I have given suggestions for use, come up with your own uses and let me know what works for your students!  So, I proudly introduce the Playful Puppies! This packet includes articulation cards for the /p/, /b/ and /m/ sounds as well as cards to address comprehension and use of prepositions, basic shapes and colors.  There is also an open-ended game board and bingo cards all featuring the "puppies" theme. The link to this packet is here: http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Playful-Puppies-

I have freebies on my TpT store, so please check them out and PLEASE leave me some feedback!  My TpT store is here: http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Store/Goldcountryslp

Tracy W. Morlan, M.A. CCC-SLP

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