SLP Like a Boss: Dr. Carole Zangari from Praactical AAC

SLP Like a Boss: Dr. Carole Zangari from Praactical AAC

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.
slp-like-a-boss-october
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,
 Signature
Did you like this post? Comment below and scroll down to the bottom of the page to subscribe to the Beautiful Speech Life tribe, we’d love to hav you! 
Check out the books Dr. Zangari likes here: Caps for Sale, Good Dog Carl
New Transfer Student with IEP due? How to Gather Information Easily

New Transfer Student with IEP due? How to Gather Information Easily

Today I’m welcoming my colleagues (and friends) Sarah and Lisa from SLP Toolkit, to share with you how they quickly and efficiently gather data for a transfer student.  You know…the one that shows up with an IEP that expires in three days. It’s happened to all of us right?

 

Just for a little background info, SLP Toolkit is a web based software program that was created by two speech language pathologists. Lisa Kathman and Sarah Bevier. I’ll provide some links at the end of this post so you can learn more. Let’s jump right in and see what they suggest.

picture1

 

The transfer student is the bane of every school-based SLP’s existence.  The student pops onto your caseload, often with an IEP that is expired or soon to expire, with about 12 goals that you have no idea how the previous SLP even measured.

So what if that is the case? The IEP is due immediately and you don’t know the student. The school year is in full swing and you are way beyond the start of the year “getting to know you” activities.  How do you get the data you need to write a new IEP for a student you just met?


Well, if you have  SLP Toolkit in your arsenal, there’s no need to panic! First, you add the student to your caseload and open up a Present Level Assessment (PLA).  As a new student, giving all components of the PLA will provide you with a really comprehensive communication profile. These assessments contain both descriptive language (e.g. language sample, narrative or expository retell) and specific skill based (e.g. vocabulary, answering questions, grammar, problem solving) measures. The software scores everything for you, noting areas of strength and need, as well as provides an auto-summary of results that can be copy and pasted into the present levels section of the student’s IEP.  

With a comprehensive present levels section, the rest of the IEP writes itself since your goals and service time are driven by this information.  You can probe areas of weakness further using criterion referenced tests in the ‘Progress Monitoring’ section of SLP Toolkit.  Criterion referenced tests measure the student’s performance against a fixed set of predetermined criteria.  You will use this information as baseline scores on your IEP goals and then re-test at each grading period using the same measures.  To ensure you are writing measurable goals that unfamiliar readers can understand, the SMART goal drop downs in the ‘Goals’ section of SLP Toolkit makes writing an objective, measurable goal a breeze.  If any of the students needs can be met through accommodations versus goals (or if these are needed in addition to specialized instruction), you can browse a wide variety of options in the ‘Teacher Strategies/Accommodations’ section of SLP Toolkit.

Once your goals are created inside of SLP Toolkit, you can hit the “print” button to access pre-populated data sheets (one less thing to create for this new student!)

Transfer students only cause panic if you don’t know what to do with them.  With SLP Toolkit on your side, you have a step by step guide to ensure you can develop and carry out a comprehensive treatment plan for any new student on your caseload.

 

Lisa & Sarah, SLP Toolkit

One of the most used tools in my bag of tricks! SLP Toolkit has saved me HOURS of work. Now I can easily assess present levels and give accurate, helpful progress reports. And the goal bank to die for.   I know and trust this awesome resource so much that I’ve teamed up with SLP Toolkit to provide you this code.Use my code BSL16 and you’ll receive:

$19 to apply to either one free month or towards an annual membership. Just click on the pink rectangle to learn more and sign up.  Remember the code is BSL16 for your special discount.

 

yes-i-want-to-try-it

 

This link is an affiliate link, which means, if you choose to purchase through this link, I’ll earn a commission. This commission comes at no additional cost to you.. Please understand that I have experience with this company and I recommend it because it’s helpful and useful, not because of the small commission I make if you decide to purchase.

 

 

 

Behavior Management in the Speech Room

Behavior Management in the Speech Room

How do you deal with behavior issues? Behavior Management for the SLP is so important. I know when I have groups of busy, excited, talkative students sometimes they don’t automatically do what I want them too.
I don’t want to spend my whole session dealing with behavior. Pretty sure you don’t either. But the reality is, many times you will have to teach students how you want them to behave.
Behavior Management in the Speech Room
Have you got four minutes to help you manage behavior in your speech room? That’s all the time it takes to read these tips on using visuals and routines to set-up and maintain good listening behaviors in your students.  The listening visuals are included as handouts in the FREE School SLP Like a Boss Smart Start Kit. (If you don’t have it yet, no worries, just click on the pink rectangle below)
Yes Button
Today I want to give you a quick read  (seriously less than 5 minutes) giving you an idea of how you might want to use the behavior handouts in your speech room. The tools I use for classroom behavior management are included in the kit: listening posters and whole brain posters. These visuals are a life-saver, they serve as a constant reminder and have the added bonus of being easier for our language impaired students to understand. (Sometimes you know they’re just hearing our words sound like “blah blah blah”).
 It’s important to set expectations from the very beginning. By this I don’t mean just pointing to the posters once. Now’s the time to teach the meaning of the posters and foster a group connection. For example tell them, “In the speech room we are good listeners. We listen with our heart, our eyes, our ears, our mouth and our bodies.” You are giving them specific information so they know exactly what you want from them. Much more clear than “you need to be a good listener”
Here’s what you need to get started:
 Listening Posters (pgs 10-15)
 Print and laminate these posters.  Place them where your students can see them from your therapy table. These are great for the primary grades.
Explain each poster.  For example: “This is  what we need to do to be a good listener.”  Point to each picture, read caption and demonstrate. Have the students show their eyes looking, ears listening, etc.  After you go through all the posters, have students say them with you as you point and show you again.  This is so worth taking the time to do.  Remember you want to set them up for success. 
As you go through an activity, catch your students doing the right thing.  Don’t wait until you have to say “where are your looking eyes?”. Give some positive feedback. “I like how Johnny’s eyes are looking right at me.  I know he’s listening.” Kids need ten positive statements to every negative.  Positive praise helps children become more aware of what they’re doing well, and more excited to continue trying. 
Make your feedback specific.  It’s so easy to just say “good job”. But when we give specific praise, students know exactly what they are doing right  and why you are happy about it. So instead of “great job”,try,  “You are sitting quietly and looking at me, I know that you are learning”.
When you do need to give a verbal reminder to get the behavior you want, point to the poster while you say “Remember, mouth quiet”. And then fade the verbal prompts and just point.
Whole Brain Teaching
I also have had really great success with the Whole Brain Teaching posters. I use these to give my busy little friends a routine to follow right when they come into the room. As soon as they sit down, we go through each rule.  This is really fun and kind of bonding. Once they learn them, I let a different student be the leader each time. I use these with primary students. But you can use them with older students too. You just need to have different posters and a more age appropriate way to say the rules and make the motions.
 Go to the FREE Whole Brain link on page 9 in your School SLP Like a Boss Smart Start kit. Print and laminate the Whole Brain Posters. Click on the video link to see an example of how they are used. 
I hope these tips have you on your way to great behavior management. Following these will help you foster better relationships with your students and help them feel secure knowing exactly what the speech room boundaries and expectations are.
You’ve got this,
 Signature
Want to know more?   Here’s what two amazing school SLP bloggers do for behavior management:
Cheri from Super Power Speech shares some great tips on using visuals.  Check out her blog post here. (Plus there is a great visual freebie)
Nicole Allison at Allison Speech Peeps wrote a really great article on how she uses Whole Brain Teaching during therapy.
Here’s a quick little article on ADHD and positive reinforcement
School SLPs! Feeling overwhelmed and frazzled?

School SLPs! Feeling overwhelmed and frazzled?

Two weeks into the school year and already feeling a tiny bit overwhelmed?

It happens!  With IEPs, evaluations, scheduling, team building and oh yeah, THERAPY, you’re probably wishing there were more hours in a day.  Believe me, I’ve been there.

But, if you’ll remember, we’re working on building ourselves some systems; an SLP foundation that will provide an evergreen underlying structure. This way you don’t have to reinvent the wheel every year. You’ll feel calm and collected whether you’re walking into a meeting or walking into your therapy room.

That’s why I created the FREE School SLP Like a Boss Smart Start Kit.  Using it will help you feel more organized and on top of your game in no time!

 

This 62 page kit includes some super helpful resources that you’ll find yourself using year after year.School SLP Like a Boss

 

You might want to read this before you print anything.  Let me walk you through the best way to use this step by step.

 

Step 1: Read Letter to a Young SLP-get inspired!

Letter to a Young SLP

 

Step 2: Print Listening Posters: Print and laminate these posters.  Place them where your students can see them from your therapy table.  Explain them. For example: “This is what we need to do to be a good listener.  Point to each picture, read caption and demonstrate.  After you go through all the posters, have students say them with you as you point. (eg.”Eyes looking, ears listening, etc.”)SLP Listening Posters

 

Step 3: Go to the FREE Whole Brain link on page 9. Print and laminate the Whole Brain Posters. Click on the video link to see an example of how they are used.  I use these to start every session for my K-4 students. I still use it with my junior high functional skills class, we just do the movements in a more “adult-like” manner.

SLP Prize Jar

 

Step 4: Choose the Speech Punchcards you like and print them. Now, I use the color version because kids love colorful things. I also include a black and white version because of Murphy’s Law-color copiers are most likely to break, jam, or run low on ink when you just have 5 minutes to print something.  These are such easy prep,  just two cuts per page and you are ready to go. 

Step 5: Get yourself a prize jar or box. Make a trip to Target and/or the Dollar Store for some cheap, fun prizes. Read my tips for how to keep it interesting on page 17.

Speech Language Difference

Step 6: Print the “Speech Language, What is the Difference?” posters.  Decide where you want to put them. Some ideas are: speech room bulletin board, staff room, and conference room. They are also handy for parent teacher conferences, staff development days and evaluation meetings.

SLP and Academics

Step 7: Look through the parent teacher handout section. Choose some of the “What’s Speech got to do with Academics?” handouts to have on hand for IEP and eligibility meetings. These can be used as posters too.  Bonus: I included on to use in May 2017 for Better Hearing and Speech Month.  See?! Look how on top of the game you are already.

Speech Snapshot

Step 8: Choose the Student Snapshots you like best.  Print one for each student on your caseload, plus some extras to fill out as IEPs are reviewed and revised. (I just keep the extras in a file folder) Follow the instructions on page 32.

SLP Evaluations

Step 9: Read through “But What Does it Mean? 10 Tips for Explaining Speech and Language Evaluations in Parent Friendly Language”. This is important stuff that will help you to make that all important connection with parents (a big part of being an SLP Boss). If you’re a paper person print it out.

SLP Parent Log

Step 10: Print 3 copies of the Parent Communication Log sheet of your choice. Use this all year.  See instructions on page 51.

SLP Bonus

Step 11: Print and laminate testing sign.

Step 12: Print and frame (or laminate) you’re favorite SLP Like a Boss Poster. It’s my little present to you, a reminder that you’ve got this.SLP Planner Square Cover

 

Step 13: Click this link if you need an SLP Planner. This planner is by my side all day.  At the affordable price of $5.00, it is chock full of resources. The front cover is the only color page; the rest of the pages are black and white.  You provide the color, because doodle borders and coloring pages are included. Yes, it’s true, I do love to color-that might be why I included these fun pages.

SLP Toolkit

Step 14: This step can be a game changer.  If you are really ready to up your game, have I got a tool for you.  It is one of the most used tools in my bag of tricks! SLP Toolkit has saved me HOURS of work. Now I can easily assess present levels and give accurate, helpful progress reports. And the goal bank to-die-for! Go to pages 60 and 61 to read more about it.  You can also click here and here to read the articles I wrote about SLP Toolkit.

So there you have it! Everything you need to feel more joy and less stress as you get your school year off to a brilliant start.

Click here to get your FREE copy.

Yes Button

ALL my best,

Signature

 

 

SLP Like a Boss with Nicole Allison

SLP Like a Boss with Nicole Allison

 

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.
SLP Like a Boss Nicole Allison
This summer I was so thrilled to meet Nicole Allison in Florida at the Teachers Pay Teachers Sellers Conference. Nicole has been listed by many other SLP bosses as truly inspirational and she lives up to her reputation. Not only are Nicole’s therapy materials thoughtfully created, they are evidence based and many are linked to Core Curriculum standards. Her blog features  inspiring articles and helpful resources for the busy SLP. 
Let’s jump right in and get to know her better.
Tell me about yourself in seven words: Blessed, mommy, clumsy, quiet, author, coffee-addict 
Where did you go to grad school?: I went to the University of Akron in Ohio. Go Zips! 
What are your top three SLP must haves (other than your own amazing materials)?: 
I would say every SLP needs to invest in a good old fashioned generic game (one that can be played with just about every student such as Candy Land, Trouble, or Jenga), a laminator (because we all know that if we CAN laminate something, it WILL get laminated). And last coffee-even better-a Keurig machine for your office 🙂
What do you love most about what you do?
Oh man, these are the hard questions, Anne! I lf I HAVE to narrow it down to one, I would say I absolutely LOVE that I can be a positive influence on my students. So many times, our reach extends beyond “artic, language, and grammar.” We can truly make a difference and be a light in our students’ lives. That student you thought you were getting nowhere with all of a sudden gives you a hug at the end of the year or my group of girls that told me when they grown up they want to be “speech teachers” just like me. Those moments melt my heart and keep me coming back for more. 
Tell me your advice for the newly minted SLP: My number one piece of advice is to befriend a few teachers. Being the only SLP at my district I often felt isolated. Being an introvert didn’t help matters. Stretch yourself by eating lunch with teachers and truly listen to them. Often they know a lot about our students and can be a HUGE help to us! 
 Tell me about your blog: 
Lol where do I even start! I starting blogging back in 2012 because, like I said, I was the only SLP at my district and I NEEDED support. For REAL friends-I probably wouldn’t have survived without the support I found through blogging! I want my blog to be a safe haven for other SLPs. A place they can come and truly feel rejuvenated about our profession and walk away with fresh ideas and resources. 
 Tell me about your TPT store: 
TPT  came about because of the encouragement of my husband. I started blogging with no intention of making or selling resources. I remember the summer I spent SEVERAL hours making my Common Core aligned goals. I created it because I needed it. My husband was the one who said, “Well, if you need it, maybe others do too.” Since then, that’s been the whole philosophy behind my TPT store. I create out of a need for my own students and hope others can benefit from as well! 
 What SLP-boss inspires you? Just one?! I have sooo many that I truly look up to! I saw Jenna’s Speech Room News way back when and said “THAT’s want I want to do!” but I would also say Lauren LaCour from Busy Bee Speech. This girl truly walks the walk when it comes to her relationship with Christ. It’s a beautiful thing when you can find that special friend who pushes you in your own faith. 
What is your favorite children’s book? 
I LOVE Fancy Nancy books so much so that I even own the Fancy Nancy doll lol!  They are the best for working on vocabulary while still having relatable stories. 
What about picture books? I really like the book (and so does my toddler) “A Ball for Daisy.” It’s perfect for working on story-telling and interpreting emotions. I always reach for books that you can incorporate multiple goals into! 
Isn’t she great? Thanks Nicole for all you do for our profession.I’m so glad I got to meet you and am looking forward to connecting again soon. ( And I think we should all thank her husband for encouraging her to get started on TPT.)
Be sure to follow Nicole’s blog and check out her TPT store by clicking on these links.
Until next week,
School SLP
P.S. I wrote a guest blog post for Nicole about stepping outside of our four walls as SLPs click here to read.
School SLPs: Read This Before You Start the New School Year

School SLPs: Read This Before You Start the New School Year

 

What?!
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?
School SLPs Read This
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:
  1. Connectedness.  Making the world a little better place than when I got here (lofty, I know)
  2.  Independence. (I like having a lot of autonomy to make my own decisions)
  3.  Diversity. I love how diverse the profession is, with the continuous learning curve.
  4.  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.
  5.  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.
 WhyIChoose2BSLP
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,
 School SLP

Pin It on Pinterest