As a school speech language pathologist (SLP) we are lucky to be a part of some wonderful SLP success stories. After all, that’s why we do this job; we love to be able to make a difference.
This is a really cool little story with a happy ending. A few years ago we got a new student in one of our functional skills classrooms. He was really quiet and when he did speak, he was very difficult to understand due to a severe phonological disorder. Little Ivan (not his real name) had also gone for years with an undetected hearing loss.
With time we were able to correct a lot of his phonological errors. As people begin to understand him, he became more confident and less shy. Ivan was a very kind student and quickly became the leader of the class. So much so, that we started to wonder about his diagnosis of moderate intellectual disability.
When he was reevaluated, sure enough Ivan’s former diagnosis did not fit. Turns out he simply had a learning disability. I guess that the learning disability paired with the extreme shyness, the inability to be understood, the language impairment and the hearing loss had all combined against him.
Our team slowly transitioned Ivan into the resource room and general education setting. We took it slowly and had lots of supports in place. The first day he took the regular bus home (instead of the sped bus) the school psychologist and I followed the bus to make sure he was able to independently get off the bus and go straight home. (He was).
It wasn’t an easy transition and we had to stand up against a lot of people that didn’t believe us. But it was so worth it!
I’m happy to say that Ivan has is still in a general education classroom with resource support. I still get tears in my eyes telling this story, we were able to change the course of his life. That is so powerful!
Let’s celebrate our wins together! Today is the start of a new feature. I’m sharing one of my SLP success stories today and in the coming weeks I’ll feature yours. I’d love for you to submit a quick story, just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’re interested. I can’t wait to hear what you have to say.
P.S. You can read more inspirational stories about SLP bosses here
. I’d also love for you to come and join the fun on facebook
, you can be the first to see live videos where I share SLP tips and tricks.
Do you love planners as much as I do? I created a special SLP summer planner just to help you make sure your summer doesn’t slip away.
And the best part…it’s FREE!
WE made it through another year! Now for a well-deserved summer break. If you’re like me you start the summer with very well-intended plans of projects, revamps and things-to-do. Sometimes the transition from flat out running and wrangling kids all day to summer relaxation can be a little tricky. SLP Summer Planner to the rescue.
So you take a few days to adjust. You make some vacation plans and you sleep in. Binge watch Netflix and before you know it, summer’s over. If you’re happy with that then great.
But… what if you start the summer knowing how you want to feel at the end of it? What if we a take little time to reflect on the past year and celebrate our successes? Let’s make time for what we really want to do with these precious months and use the SLP Summer Planner to make it happen.
What can you do to take care of yourself and refill the well? Who do you want to spend your time with? Figure out if you really want to do projects. If yes, pick ones that will make you feel good. Maybe you just want to sit under a tree and get lost in a book.
Give yourself what you need. The work you do is so very important. You really do make a difference. Because you “SLP”-ed Like a Boss all year, you deserve to be the boss of your summer.
I hope you use this SLP Summer Planner with a sense of play and intention. Then when summer comes to an end (which it always does) you can use the final sheets to transition into the coming school year.
Wishing you an incredible summer,
Beautiful Speech Life
P.S. Watch for the SLP Like a Boss School Planner coming soon.
At this busy time of stuffing Thanksgiving turkeys, holiday parties and Christmas shopping, life can get a little frantic.
Why not take a few minutes with me now to stop and reflect on what you are truly thankful for?
I’m always curious about what other SLPs are most thankful for about our profession. So I asked some of my SLP friends from across the U.S. and Canada this question. “What are you thankful for in your profession and your life?” Here’s what they had to say:
Linda Look, Looks Like Language
Professionally, I am thankful for having such a varied set of experiences during my career and for all of the SLPs and teachers who have given me such lovely feedback at my store. Personally, I am always thankful for having healthy children, and this year, for having my beautiful daughter-in-law join my family.
Collette, Alberta Speechie
Professionally, I’m thankful for working with amazing colleagues. I learn so much everyday and have a great support system. Personally , I’m thankful for my friends and family who are always there when I need them.
Ashley, AGB Speech Therapy
I am beyond grateful for the opportunity I have to work with, encourage and impact families. The fact that I am paid for this work still blows my mind most days. Personally, I am thankful for the support I have received from family and friends to jump out on my own with my private practice.
Jennifer, Speech Therapy Fun
I am thankful for this profession because of the options that it gives us! I was able to take this year off to be with my newborn and two children. I am able to work part time or full time depending on what is best for my family at that time. Not many professions let you do that! I am also thankful for this profession because it has allowed me to help so many children and meet so many other amazing SLPs!
Lisette, Speech Sprouts
I am thankful for all the doors this wonderful profession has opened for me. I would say I was a reluctant introvert in my younger years. I truly found my “jam” in learning how to help people with communication disorders. Along the way, I discovered more confidence in myself, and the ability to step out of my comfort zone to try new adventures. I am thankful I get to work with both children and adults who need help expressing themselves. It makes me treasure the gift of communication. I am thankful for the opportunity to learn something new each time I am faced with a new student or challenge. I am thankful this profession values my creativity, ability to problem-solve for my students and patients, and gives me the freedom to set the course of my therapy, armed with a solid knowledge base and understanding of my student’s individual needs. Finally, I am thankful for the many amazing students, families, SLPs, and teachers this profession has given me the privilege of meeting. They inspire me each and every day.
Tamatha, TLC Talk Shop
I am thankful to have a career that I truly love and the opportunity to impact others lives by helping to open the door of communication. I am thankful that the same career provides me with so may possible avenues to pursue that I do not grow restless and can continue to grow professionally and help children, adults, and families. Personally, I am thankful for a supportive and loving husband and a beautiful, smart, funny, creative, sassy miracle (my daughter)!
Marisha, Road to Speech
I am thankful for my husband being supportive of all my crazy endeavors. I am also thankful for the sweet, awesome kids that I get to work with.
Sarah, SLP Toolkit
Personally, I am thankful for an amazing family that loves me and supports me and believes in me! They have been so patient with me as I’m trying to balance so many things and I couldn’t do anything without them!
Professionally, I am thankful for the advancements in technology that allow us to know and do more than ever before! We literally have resources at the tip of our fingers that can help us to be out best! I am also grateful to be associated with smart, creative women that are working hard to make a difference!
Kim, Activity Tailor
I’m so grateful for parents who work tirelessly to get the support their children need and are willing to learn a new set of skills so their child reaches their potential and their children who make me laugh. Every. Single. Day.
I’m so appreciative my online friends and colleagues who’ve made me a much better clinician than I would have been on my own.
I’m so thankful for my family, all of whom are taking on huge new challenges, rather fearlessly, and inspiring me to take more risks in my own career.
Hallie, Speech Time Fun
I am thankful for my family (especially my 2 year old daughter), my friends, and having a job I love! Wine and coffee are bonus loves too!
Felice, The Dabbling Speechie
I am thankful for parents that believe in me and instilled the idea that all people are worthy of respect and dignity. I am thankful for my husband and children as they put up with all my shenanigans!
Doesn’t that make you feel all warm and cozy inside? I LOVE being in the company of these engaging, smart, caring women!
As for me, I’m grateful for you. I so appreciate you taking the time to read what I’m writing and listen to what I’m saying. I love interacting with you and sharing ideas. Our profession is so important. We play a pivotal role in the education of thousands of children and their families. That is such an honor and a privilege that we share.
What about you? What’s on your gratitude list? I’d love to know…please share in the comments below.
Wishing you and your family many blessings,
P.S. I’m also thankful for cute shoes, red wine, can’t-put-it-down novels, Instagram, Brad, my family and laughing out loud.
Going to the American Speech Language and Hearing Association (ASHA) convention can be a little overwhelming. It sure was for me the first time I went (and the second time too); I felt pretty alone. I had no idea what classes to take, what to wear, what to bring or who I would talk to.
Fast forward five years to now, when I’m lucky enough to be going again for the fourth time (San Diego, Chicago, Denver and now Philadelphia). It’s the perfect time to share this list of must-do tips for successfully navigating the ASHA convention.
Plan your courses.
You’ll want to go through the pocket planner or the program guide several times. Here’s a little video on how I do it. Besides your area of interest, it’s always good to choose one course that will challenge you or is something you wouldn’t normally take. Because it’s good to just shake things up. I got this idea from Activity Taylor blogger, Kim Lewis. Now I do this every year.
Several of the school SLP bloggers are presenting this year; I put together a Here’s a list of the ones I know about. You’ll definitely want to consider these.
- iPad & EBP: Transforming Toy into Tool in Education, Danielle Reed , Saturday 8-10 am
- Lyndsey Zurawski , Saturday 8-11
- Use What You Have: Practical uses for common objects to target all areas of communication, Felice Clark, Hallie Sherman, Natalie Snyders Saturday 4-5
- Social Media: Harnessing the Power & Avoiding the Pitfalls, Jenna Rayburn, Saturday 1:30-4:30
- Practical Tips to Manage Your Pre-K Through Fifth-Grade Caseload: How to Maintain Your Sanity, Felice Clark, Rachel Nortz,Thursday 3-4
- Progress Monitoring in the Schools, Lisa Kathman, Sarah Bevier, Friday 10:30-11:30
- Apps and EBP-How to Succeed in the Quest to Identify Research-Based Apps, Mai Ling Chan, Mary Huston, and Jessica Solari, Friday 10:30-11:30
Show up early for your courses
You’re going to want to get to your classes a little early. This is super challenging for me since I tend to run about five minutes late for everything. But some of the sessions are really crowded;if it’s a two hour session, you’re going to want to be comfortable. Seating is limited as well. So get there 20-30 minutes early, then maybe someone will save your seat so you can go grab a cup of coffee. Everyone is super nice (of course).
Food is important plan ahead
Plan ahead for your lunches. If you have back to back courses it’s pretty tricky to leave the convention center and get back on time. Because, let’s face it, everyone’s got to eat, so the restaurants get really crowded. I usually do a combination of the ASHA prepaid lunches and snacks. Keep some snacks in your purse. If you’re like me you’ll need them to keep your energy up. Nuts, trailmix, and protein bars are all great. (Okay, add a little chocolate to keep things interesting).
What to wear
Really consider your footwear. You’re going to be walking a lot. My choice: boots and booties. I love boots and they’re great for walking around. (And they’ll be warm for this Arizona girl). Of course, you can dress however you want. Remember you’re going to be sitting a lot, so you want to be comfortable. But you’re going to want to look professional too, (at least I do). It looks like a coat will be in order for this year’s Philadelphia location (Weather forecast highs in the 50s, lows in the 30s). I definitely recommend using the coat check instead of hauling your coat with you all day. I plan to dress in layers, because you never know what the temperature’s going to be like in each room. There’s nothing worse than trying to concentrate when you’re freezing or roasting.
Tackling the Exhibition Hall
The first few times, it can be a little overwhelming because it’s HUGE. Get the floor plan that comes with your registration packet and have a look. Does that sound geeky? I just remember my first time. I didn’t have a plan and I ended up getting completely overwhelmed and exhausted. So last year, in Denver I did it differently. I went through the floor plan and highlighted all of the booths I knew I wanted to go to. Then I made sure I went to those first. I also scheduled myself a nice block of time to look at things. All the things! Remember, if you only go at the end of the day, after you’ve taken all those courses, you might just be a little brain-dead. This is a great opportunity to check out some of the big vendor’s booths. There’s always tons of swag. Super Duper has a huge area (it’s like a store), where you can actually purchase therapy materials. They also give you a big huge tote bag to carry everything in. Again, plan ahead, you don’t want to be caring that huge bag with you all day to all your classes.
Be sure to go visit my SLP Blogger friends at their booths. You can learn more about their products, say hello, get more SLP swag, and sign up for prize giveawys.
- Booth 514, Danielle Reed, Hallie Sherman, Jenna Rayburn, Natalie Snyders, Felice Clark, Shannon Werbeckes (This group is hosting the ASHA Blogger Meet n’ Greet on Thursday night at the Marriott Hotel, Grand Ballroom, Salon 1 from 7:30 to 8:30)
- SLP Talk, Speech Paths and Speech Language Pirates at Booth243
- Lyndsey Zurawski has a booth
- Peachie Speechie Booth 528
- Lisa Kathman and Sarah Bevier from SLP Toolkit Booth 739,
- Kim Lewis at 3DSLP’s booth
- Marisha McGrorty Lesson Plan Membership Booth 743.
I have one last tip for you. Reach out to some of the SLPs that you know from social media. Maybe you can meet up with one or two of them. I’ve made some great friends that way. One of the best things about going to an ASHA convention is connecting. We all work so hard, it’s nice to have time to socialize with people who speak our language.
That’s all for now. I hope you find these tips helpful and I would love to see you in Philadelphia! I’ll be posting on Instagram (Beautiful Speech Life) and maybe even Facebook Live.
Wishing you more joy, less stress,
If you want more informative SLP info, tips and freebies join the tribe by signing up below.
In this series I’m interviewing SLP boss women who work by day as a speech language pathologist, but at night (and on weekends) they are building a business. I’m talking about websites, blogs and therapy materials for their fellow SLPs and teachers. These are women I admire professionally and who inspire me. I write this series because I feel we can all make our practice as SLPs better and stronger by connecting with other SLPs.
Can you imagine interviewing a guru? That’s what I felt like when I had the great pleasure of a phone chat with Dr. Carole Zangari. Not only is she is a professor of Speech Language Pathology at Nova Southeastern University(my alma mater) where she teaches AAC classes at the master’s and doctoral level; she also supervises AAC clinical services for children and adults, and administers an AAC lab. She has presented and published on AAC topics in national and international venues. She is a past coordinator of ASHA’s AAC Division. I could go on and on. Suffice it to say, she has opened the doors of AAC for thousands.
Tell me about yourself in seven words: passionate about aac, support colleagues + next generation
Where did you go to grad school?: Doctoral degree from Purdue University (where I spent most of my graduate time), Masters degree from College of New Jersey and undergraduate degree from the University of Pittsburgh.
What are your top three SLP must haves (other than your own amazing materials)?:
“Well, Anne, I learned not to get attached to therapy materials early on. I was working with adults with pretty significant behavioral and cognitive impairments during my CF. My supervisor was pretty old school and of the belief that an SLP should be able to do therapy with (almost anything). Periodically, she would meet us at the door as we were going in to do therapy, hold out her hands and we’d have to turn our materials over to her and then go do therapy. We learned pretty quickly to focus on strategies. But if I did have to choose I would say internet access, a laptop and a mobile device, then you can access just about anything.”
What do you love most about what you do?:
“At this point in my career, every day is different. I spend about one third of my time with the autism grant and then teaching with the AAC clinic. For my hobby I have Praactical AAC. I love the diversity and being able to touch the next generation of SLPs.”
Tell me your advice for the newly minted SLP: (Anne’s note: This is GOLDEN)
“Mindset. Commit yourself to being an excellent clinician. It can take a long time. Give yourself time to learn, but commit to being great. The real prize is in the outcome.”
Tell me about your blog:
“I started it in 2011 with my dear friend Robin Parker who passed away a few years later. We decided we would write blogs we wished we had when we got started. Although we started it for SLPs, it has broadened to include parents and other professions. We receive 2800 page views every day, with an additional 2300 mailboxes that receive a daily post as well. At this point there have been over 1500 posts.”
What SLP-boss inspires you? :
“Jane Farrell in Australia. Her energy, her ability to lead teams and change entire schools. I’m inspired by every conversation we have or post I read.”
What is your favorite children’s book?:
I don’t know if you remember Caps for Sale? It’s a oldie but a goodie. I read it when I was a kid. It’s so fun for describing and acting out.
What about picture books?:
All of the Alexandra Day books about Carl, like Good Dog Carl. They are so language rich, with a cool take on absurdities. They have almost no text, just the beautiful illustrations.
I feel so inspired now! How about you? If you’d like to know more about AAC, please go to the award winning blog Praactical AAC.
Let’s commit ourselves to being great,
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I want you to think about the school year during summer?
Yes I do. Just hear me out for a minute. Don’t worry, I still want you to enjoy your summer.
Summer is a time I always look forward to. Two months off to relax, regroup, travel and even do a little planning. Did June fly by for you too?
However, just taking a little time now to reflect on what worked for you last year will help you continue that trend. Did some new therapy materials get amazing results? Or did you find a new organization tool? You want to keep that good stuff going.
Take a moment right now. Close your eyes and think about going back to work. What’s the first thing you think of that fills you with dread? Or that gives you that “oh yuck” feeling? You know, that activity that you wish you could pay someone to do for you?
Really, I’m not trying to bring you down. I’m suggesting you take a look at what you can do to make it better.
I’ve been chatting with a lot of other SLPs this summer. Here’s a sampling of what some of you said when asked about professional roadblocks:
“It can get bit crazy with the testing and paperwork that is required. You feel like time is being taken away from your students.”
“I hard time finding the balance between paperwork and making sure my kiddos get the attention they need.”
“…lack of time.”
Hands down lack of time and too much paperwork were the biggest obstacles.
I know it can be overwhelming at times. So what I’m suggesting is that you take a little bit of your down time, even if you’re just making some mental notes from your beach blanket, to put some systems into place that will make the coming school year run more smoothly.
During the next few weeks, we will explore some systems and thought processes that will help you free up your time. So you can get your school year running smoothly and spend more time doing what is really important to you…spending time with your students and making a difference in their lives.
We’ll explore it all from IEP’s to scheduing to progress reports to billing.
But for now, let’s start off nice and easy with a thought provoking question…
What is your why?
Think back to why you chose to be an SLP. Specifically a school based SLP. What are your top three reasons? Really think about it and dig deep. Don’t let yourself off the hook with “I don’t know”, this is important. Are the reasons still the same? What results do you want? You can do this, it doesn’t need to be perfect; you just need to be clear.
Here’s my example just to get you started. My top three “why’s” are:
- Connectedness. Making the world a little better place than when I got here (lofty, I know)
- Independence. (I like having a lot of autonomy to make my own decisions)
- Diversity. I love how diverse the profession is, with the continuous learning curve.
- Honestly, salary and vacation time does have something to do with it; I’m pretty happy with mine, considering the amount of time I have off.
- Creativity/Play. Helping my students learn through play and creativity is another aspect of the job that I really love.
(I know that’s more than three, I’m having a tough time narrowing it down.)
So here’s your “homework”… figure out your top three reasons for being an SLP. I’ve created a few fun worksheets for you to help get you started, just click on the image below.
Stay tuned for next week, when you’ll figure out how to get more of what you want (from your 3 things list) and remove some of the obstacles.
SLP Like a Boss,