Bringing a child into the world is such a blessing.  For me, it was a blessing beyond words since I had been told I would never get pregnant.  We were beyond excited when we learned that we would be parents but then she sent me to the hospital in premature labor at just 23 weeks gestation. Our journey for the next 5 months would be scary, joyful, frustrating, and miraculous and would ultimately give me a different perspective as a parent to a micro-premie that I believe makes me a better SLP.

During our month stuck in the hospital bed, the hospital had to visit me multiple times to share with me the facts of what could go wrong if my baby was delivered at that time.  Now, I am all for being brutally honest and I even understand that the hospital had to give me the facts and make sure I understood.  I even get that they had to have my sign the paper stating they went over the consequences of my medical situation.  However, the constant highlight of all that could be wrong (even when I told them I had been in special education for so many years and knew the statistics) sent me in a spiral of negative which resulted in my emotionally pulling away from the child in womb.  I was so scared of losing her that I found myself falling into a depressive state and detaching emotionally so that any loss that might occur might hurt less (a ridiculous thought from a depressive state). So we need to remember to shine the light of positivity on situations.  Highlight whatever silver lining we can find and celebrate all the accomplishments including the little ones!

I get it.  Sometimes, parents make our job more difficult.  Sometimes, our feathers are a little ruffled because we think they do not respect our professional opinion.  Whatever the reason, take a deep breath and remember we are a team with that advocating parent.  They are fighting for the best services for their child.  Sometimes those services are not warranted or appropriate but they do not always know that.  They simply want to make sure we are doing everything we can for their child.  I learned this as a parent that needed to advocate for my own child when the hospital wanted to move her to another hospital but I refused to do so until they had donor milk at the new hospital for her. I know I was a thorn in both hospital's sides because I refused for 2 weeks to move my child until they had the donor milk.  In the end, my refusal resulted in the second hospital getting the donor milk and my child was the first to receive this service at that location and it provided her with important nutrients that I could not provide nor could formula provide for my micro-preemie. 

Parents need to know that we are on the same side as them.  We are truly a TEAM for their child.  It is sometimes difficult to convey this message if/when our parents have been in IEPs that felt anything but supportive in the past and they come into the new IEP on the defensive.  This is when we really need to reach out to them.  I had so many nurses and doctors telling me how great the other hospital facility would be (and it was with more space and less noise) but they kept the pressure on to move my child even when I expressed my concern over and over.  The doctor that brought her into the world ended up being my biggest support an ally.  While everyone else pressured me to move her and let them put her on formula, he shared with me (as a grandparent) that my decision was really the best for her.  He encouraged me and backed me up against the suggestions of the other hospital staff.  

Every child on my caseload becomes my child too.  I want the best for them.  Therefore, I provide the services that I would want another service provider to provide if it truly was my child. We spent nearly 3 months in the NICU. During that time, my child became eligible for early intervention services and supports and financial assistance for all of her medical care. I knew these services were available due to my years of service in special education.  Not once did the case manager inform us of services that she qualified for or to refer her for these services. In fact, I had to request the information and referrals to be sent to the appropriate services. We need to educate parents on what additional outside services are available or the process to determine eligibility for additional services.

We are use to our jargon.  Unfortunately, sometimes we are unable to avoid using jargon.  When we have to use it, we need to give examples.  For example, when we are discussing with a parent about the different types of stuttering or the techniques to modify stuttering or to shape fluency, we need to give examples. It doesn't do any justice using other words to explain.  If you can give an example or a visual it can help.  As I sat there providing kangaroo care to my child (skin on skin contact), she had many desat episodes due to apnea. All I knew was that bells would ring and her little monitor would go crazy.  Staff had to explain that desat and apneic episodes meant that she stopped breathing and how to read the monitor so that I would not jump every time it rang but when it was important to call out for assistance. 

IEPs can be scary.  Some parents have to go through a grieving process when their expectations for their child's future may not be a reality or they are unsure if it can every be a reality.  I spent 18 hours a day in that NICU holding my child, watching other parents come and go with their babies, and wondering when it would be our turn and what the future may be for her.  Why did other parents get to take their babies home after a day, a week, or a month and I had to sit there day after day?  What would her future look like?  Would she have academic concerns? Would she always have a heart murmur or any heart problems?  I was fortunate enough that the NICU nurses were spectacular.  They listened to my fears.  They cried with me and they gave me encouragement.  We need to do this with our parent's fears too.  We need to listen, be empathetic, and provide support. 

Yes, that includes advocates if parents feel that they need that level of support.  Grandparents, siblings, advocates, prior service providers, etc.. anyone that makes the parent feel supported during the process.  By encouraging and accepting others into the meeting, we are letting the parent know that we really do consider them a part of the IEP TEAM and that we do have their child's best interests at heart.  For my little one to come home she had to be able to take so many meals by bottle within a certain time period.  When the hospital staff sent someone to discuss the matter with me and help me to help her with this task, they sent an Occupational Therapist.  I appreciate my fellow service providers; however, being a Speech-Language Pathologist I was most comfortable with  and made a special request for another Speech-Language Pathologist..  They could have very easily rolled their eyes, gave me a million reasons why the OT was just as capable, and gave me a difficult time about my request.  They didn't. They were supportive so it made me feel empowered and part of my child's team.  

What life experiences do you feel has made you a better SLP?  What lessons did you learn? I would love for you to share your experiences that helped you grow into the therapist that you are today in the comments below. We all grow as a discipline when we actively reach out to educate ourselves and share with others. 

Want more great tips, tricks, and ideas for successful speech therapy?  Subscribe to our FREE newsletter, or visit us on InstagramPinterest, or Facebook.

A few weeks ago, I wrote a post on Top 6 tips for a successful year as a CFY Supervisor.  A colleague had asked if I had tips and forms for working with an SLPA.  I have been very fortunate on my path to becoming a Speech-Language Pathologist. After leaving North Carolina (the first time) and my position as a Special Education Teacher, I returned to California and became a Speech-Language Pathologist Aide.  After working as a SLPA for a year, I decided that I wanted to be a SLP and returned to Grad School to do so.  While I was in Grad School I was fortunate to work with and learn from several wonderful SLP's!  Later, I worked with SLPAs as an SLP. This is what I learned from being on both ends of the continuum.

1.  Open Lines of Communication - Keep the lines of communication open and honest. Share information for the best way to contact each other.  You may need to call your SLPA to let them know the schedule changed at the last minute or that you will need to be at an emergency meeting.  Your SLPA may need to contact you to let you know that they are sick and can not make it. I found the best way is to share phone numbers but I know others who have only shared emails.  I'm not big on checking my email constantly so calls and texts have worked best for me as both the SLP and the SLPA. 

2.  Set Expectations - Expectations create results. When everyone knows what they are expected to complete in the day, week, month, etc.. it makes everything run more smoothly.  Definitely be honest and include the need for flexibility on both your ends.

3. Set Routine - Although flexibility is important so is a set routine.  I always felt better about starting my day or week by knowing that I would be seeing the same adults and students on a specific day of the week. Sure, I knew it might change at any moment but I also knew more times than not it would be the same.  By having the set routine, I was able to establish rapport and build professional relationships with the individuals I provided services to as a SLPA.

4.  Talk About Best Way to Give Feedback- Personally, I prefer immediate feedback but not everyone does. I would definitely have a talk with your SLPA to find out what works best for everyone involved. I found that one SLPA that I worked with preferred immediate feedback while another preferred written feedback.

5.  Treat as a Colleague - You may be the acting supervisor but you are also working as a team to meet the needs of your students (patients, clients, etc..). I found that I worked best with my supervisors that treated me with respect like a colleague instead of just an employee. When you give respect then you get respect. Also, it makes a working relationship that much smoother.

6.  Show Appreciation - This is a must. Sometimes things get so hectic that we run around like crazy and just think about what we need to get done and by when. I know I can't be the only one that gets like that during IEP time, progress report time, and the mad rush when an influx of students all show up right after spring or winter break. It is definitely important to show your appreciation for all the support and assistance that your SLPA provides by being flexible, following the schedule you provided for them, and providing you with valuable data and information about the progress made. I was very fortunate that many of my supervising SLP's were appreciative.

However,  I also had one that never showed appreciation and it made me feel not as excited to go to work. I also found that I was most flexible and helpful to those that were respectful and showed appreciation. Appreciation goes a long way.  Remember, without your SLPA, your caseload would be double.
Do you need forms to help keep you organized and to provide written feedback and don't feel like recreating the wheel?  I created this packet of forms for organization and communication needs and provide it free to my friends on my email list.

    Hope these were helpful tips to you.  Please share any tips you have in the comments below.
    Is this your first year being a CFY Supervisor? Have you been supporting the future of our field for years in this capacity? I have been very fortunate to support our profession as a Practicum Supervisor for several Undergraduate Student Clinicians and as a CFY Supervisor for new clinicians finding their feet in the field of Speech-Language Pathology.  In an effort to grow professionally and to constantly evolve into a better version of myself personally and professionally, I always wrap the year up asking my clinicians for brutally honest feedback and evaluation of my skills as a Supervising Clinician.  What is it that I did well?  What do they feel I need to improve on?  How best did I help them?  How could I have been a better resource on their professional journey? This is what I learned.

    1. Get to Know Your Clinician and Let Your Clinician Know You. When you are just starting out, it is nerve-racking enough! Although we need to maintain professional boundaries, we do not need to make it even worse on them.  Be friendly but set guidelines.  Share bits of your life so that you are personable and so that your clinician feels comfortable asking questions or requesting feedback. Get to know where your clinician is coming from.  What is their background?  Why did they choose this profession? What does their after-hours schedule look like?

    2. Ask What Type of Supervisor that they like, are comfortable with, or require.  However, keep in mind what they say they like and are comfortable with may not be what they require.  For example, I had one clinician that told me she liked a relaxed supervisor that wasn't breathing down her neck. What she requested though through her actions and her requirements (i.e. multiple emails, calls for support, and initial need for hands-on support) was that she needed a very structured relationship with hands-on supervision.  Another clinician requested the structured supervision but it was quickly evident that she required just the minimum supervision supports.  It is great to ask though to help you to understand your clinician just a little better.

    3. Set Expectations.  Be clear and open with your expectations.  No one wants to guess what might be coming down the line.  If you expect that all MDT or Communication Reports will be sent to you for review until you sign off, then state that.  If you expect that you may request an outside assignment such as creating a simple inservice to share with their school staff in an effort to get a better understanding of staff relations and clinician knowledge in a specific area, give your clinician warning ahead of time.  If you appreciate them asking questions but expect by the second time answering the same question that you would not be as responsive to a third time asking the same question or if you prefer your clinician to do the research themselves. let your clinician know at the start of your work relationship. 

    4. Share Knowledge of Materials.  Okay, let me preface this by saying tell them about the materials that help you.  Do you have a favorite Super Duper item that you use again and again?  Are they struggling to keep a group of students engaged in a mixed group and you know of some great TeachersPayTeachers materials that would be helpful?  Tell your clinician where to find the resources and how you use the resources. Do not break copyright. But share knowledge of resources that they may find helpful.  If you happen to make materials yourself (so many of us do, even if we do not all sell them on TeacherspayTeachers), feel free to share any and all of your own materials that you create.  As a new clinician, any materials that you can get your hands on are beneficial and can serve a purpose to help students meet their goals. 

    5.  Be Responsive. Of course you can not drop everything to answer every email or phone call within the 3 minutes of contact being initiated.  However, respond as quickly as you can.  Do you remember when you just started and a "tough scenario" popped up and you just were not sure how to continue and only had a few minutes to answer a question or respond to the scenario? I still get sweat chills just recalling (then again, I have anxiety issues).  Reduce the clinician's stress and respond at your earliest convenience.  Sometimes, the response is as simple as reassuring the clinician that their actions reflect what you also would have done.

    6.  Learn as Much as You Teach. I strongly believe that we should NEVER stop learning and growing.  When we take on the Supervisor role, we have a great responsibility to share our knowledge and experience.  However, we also have a great responsibility to remain open-minded.  Remember, the new CFY Clinician has had the most up-to-date training on recent evidence based practices.  When we approach clinicians with the understanding that it is a reciprocal relationship and not just a "I'm the Expert and Paid My Dues in the Field" boss-lady, it puts everyone at ease and everyone can walk away with just a little bit more knowledge than when the work relationship began. 

    7.  Never Stop Being a Mentor and a Colleague. I can say with a smile that many of my old clinicians are now some of my friends as well as colleagues.  I can also be pleased with the fact that to this day, all of them know that at any time they can contact me to ask a question, get some feedback, or bounce ideas off of me. To this day, several years later, they continue to consider me a resource and a mentor. Likewise, I know that as my colleague, I can now do the same and pick their brain for ideas when I need a new perspective. 

    Need some Survival Forms to help you get through the CFY Supervision Year?  I created my own (although, they did not look as pretty as they do now) and if you would like to download them, just enter your information below and I will send them to you.
      Can you guess what I have been doing the past 6 months?  I just completed a HUGE cross country move from Las Vegas, NV to Asheville, NC!  If you are contemplating a big move too let me share some quick tips to make your life easier!

      1.  Start Packing in Advance!  Yes, start as early as you can!  This will give you time to get rid of the pack rat stuff that you have not used in years.  Yes, that includes therapy materials that are out of date, not used in a few years, and/or that you have multiple copies of that you do not need.  The less that you have to move with you the better!  Trust me!  I cleaned out my therapy garage (yes, garage because sometimes a closet is just not enough room!) and my home and even though I minimized I see that I really need to reduce even more.  I have been here for about 3 weeks now and I'm no where near unpacked yet!  Do Your Licensure Research!  I have moved to two different states now from where I began in Ca.  Each state requirements are different.  Some states are more difficult to get licensure in than others and some take significantly more time to process than others.  Therefore, start several months in advance if possible. Initially, when I moved to NV, I just had to complete the application, send copies of my ASHA CCC's and CA license, and pay the fee to obtain my NV SLP license (not including the additional teaching license).  This move to NC required me to complete the application, have NV send a license verification form, send University transcripts, take an NC SLP online test, and send in my fee.

      To help you do your research, I created a packet with all the contact information (phone numbers and web addresses) for all of the SLP State Boards here in the United States and you can get the download free below.

        3. Research Job Opportunities in Advance!  There are a lot of jobs out there.  I feel so blessed that we can practically pick up a dart and throw it at a map of the United States and we can just about move anywhere with ASHA CCC's and professional experience.  We have a huge range of job opportunities.  Want to work in the schools?  You can research your new school district or speak with the wide selection of Contract Companies to find out that would be a good fit.  Prefer working with toddlers?  There are a lot of private practice companies, regional centers, and organizations such as Easter Seals that can get you into an Early Intervention setting.  Want to work with adults or geriatric population?  I know that many Skilled Nursing Facilities and Hospitals have difficulty finding the right SLP and/or enough SLPs to cover these setting and populations.  So many possibilities.  Find the one for you!  You can start your search using ASHA Careers or Career Resources by State using

        4. Thing Outside the Box! In the past several years a NEW opportunity has made itself available to us.  TELETHERAPY!  I will be the first to admit that I LOVE my job because I get to enjoy the relationship I build in person with my students and clients. I thought that building rapport like that would be difficult via a computer screen between us.  I have spoken with several colleagues in the past year and they have explained and expressed different scenarios where this is simply just not the case. Therefore, I am looking into teletherapy for this school year.  I can continue to do what I love and still be available and home when my little gets home from school or is home ill that day. If you would love to know more about teletpractice ASHA put some information together about it. 

        5. Keep Your License at the Prior State Active!  Okay, not everyone will need to keep their old state license.  However, if you may one day return to that state, are considering teletherapy, or are moving away from one of the more difficult states to get your license- Keep it active! Sure, you spend a little extra every year or two to keep it updated and active.  However, if you have to make an immediate exit back to that state (sick family member, financial reasons, etc..), you will be able to pick up right where you left off with getting a job in that state.  It is also helpful if you are deciding to go into teletherapy.  You will need your license in the state you reside and the state you are providing services too.  Therefore, if you maintain your other state license, it will provide you with a larger net of job possibilities. 

        Hope these tips help you make a more informed decision about a move.
        If you have any additional tips or suggestions, please share them in the comments!  

        I do not know about anyone else but I am ready for THE END.  I mean, I'm ready for the end of the school year.  This has been a tough year.  In all my years, I have never had so many out of state students come in or as many of the initial evaluations. So, YES!  I have been on the count-down wagon for some time. 

        Truth be told, I know the chaos of a fast year is not the only thing that has me stressed.  My family is also looking at a possible BIG MOVE and that requires a lot of preparation. Keeping my sanity has been #1 on my TO-DO List.  Here are the TOP 5 things I have been doing to maintain my sanity and hopefully, they can help you keep yours too!

        1.  LIST IT & PRIORITIZE.  Okay, I am notorious for making lists just so I can cross things off and feel like I accomplished something for the day.  It's true!  Don't tell anyone but sometimes I add simple things on my list just so I can feel super accomplished (get out of bed, feed the kid, etc..).  So I highly suggest you make your list of what you HAVE to accomplish (make a separate list for WANT to accomplish) and put your deadlines next to it.  This will help you prioritize your list and life!

        2.  "I'm HAPPIEST WHEN...list".  I know, it is another list.  My husband hates the mess I leave behind in lists but I am a very visual person.  I feel like if I can "see" it then I can "be" it. Write a list of 5-15 things that make you smile.  If possible, make it be things that will not be unhealthy for you in the long run.  For example, I'm happiest when I am scarfing down a huge 8 inch chocolate bunny (left overs from Easter).  However, although I will be immediately happy from chocolate bliss, in the long run my hips will not be pleased with me. My list contains things like, playing a board game with my daughter, tickling her senseless so I can hear her melodious laugh, or fill the tub with yummy bubble bath and relax with a good book while soaking!  What makes you happy?
        3.  VISION BOARD REWARDS.  Search the internet or old magazines for pictures representing what you will reward yourself with or make another list.  Again, you do not have to break the bank (but feel free to put that family camping trip or pedicure on your list if it is in the budge). For each day you complete your list or after all deadlines are done.. reward yourself!  YOU DESERVE IT!
        Summer: Open-Ended Games
        4. MAKE YOUR JOB EASIER.  By this time of year, planning is about surviving the last few therapy sessions.  Make it easier on yourself.  Teachers pay Teachers has a lot of wonderful end of year products.  Personally, I start Summer a little early using open-ended games and Summer resources.  You know, all the kids are dreaming of it just as we are.

        5.  REFLECT and ENJOY.  On my last session with the kids, I like to talk about what they learned over the year and what they plan to do during the summer to continue practicing. I like them to think of practical ways and when necessary I help facilitate that thread of thinking.  For example, practice their sound while reading aloud to parents for 5-15 minutes a day, play "I spy" in the car for describing skills, inferencing skills, and practicing fluency and articulation. 

        Hope we all SURVIVE THE END with a smile and a feeling of accomplishment!  Do you have any end-of-the-year survival tips or traditions from your speech room?

        Want more great tips, tricks, and ideas for successful speech therapy?  Subscribe to our FREE newsletter, or visit us on InstagramPinterest, or Facebook.

        I love a GREAT FIND.  In fact, I spend too much on my little treasures but I use them so I figure in the end the amount I save is more than the amount I spend (I know, I'm a "retail therapy -therapy materials fanatic").   This is where I go to find "My Precious" (Yes, that was a Lord of the Rings reference you should have heard in your head) therapy material treasures:

        TARGET DOLLAR SPOT (99 cent store, Dollar Tree, etc..)-  Okay, most of us know to check there regularly.  If you don't, I can not stress to you enough to check it out! The cue little felt book in the picture is from the dollar spot at Target.  I also found the cute bunny wand (it lights up like a strobe light and my kiddos with sensory needs will LOVE IT) there too!  I have found a lot of my sensory toys in this section along with some goodies for my speech organization needs.

        GOODWILL-  I go there so often that my daughter asks to go with me all of the time!  I have found two Cariboo games there, Zingo game, and an Operation Brain Surgery Game.  In fact, I have found a lot of my games there.  Just be sure to open and make sure the pieces are all there.  Sometimes they are not.  Also, if you go and you do not find anything of interest just try again a different day or at a different location.  When I was looking for my first Cariboo game it took me 6 months!  I had a routine where I went to three different Goodwill locations every weekend during that time.  However, once I found the first, I found a second one two weeks later (I gave that second one to my CFY at the time).  You can also find cute books there!

        SAVERS-  Do you know Savers?  Do you have one where you live?  Savers is similar to a cross between a thrift store and a dollar store. I have found a few good toys for therapy there.  Especially little bags of manipulatives.  However, the best find I have found at Savers were the storybooks for therapy. It takes a while to sift through all of the shelves of books but I found it was well worth my time! 

        THRIFT STORES-  I do not stop at Goodwill alone.  If I drive by a thrift store I will STOP.  It never hurts to look and I found my third Cariboo game at a small Christian organization thrift store.  It cost a little more than at Goodwill but it was still significantly less than online.  Also, it went to a good cause so it was a WIN-WIN!

        CRAIGSLIST-  Proceed with caution.  The good news is that you can see pictures of items that people have.  The bad news is that you just need to be safe about the deal that you make.  Have them bring the item outside, do not go alone if you can help it, and just be cautious.  I guess, I'm not a trusting person.  I put ads on Craigslist also but I always make sure that my husband is around when I plan to meet up and I always go outside to the person who comes over.

        FACEBOOK-  Yes, you read that right.  Did you know there are a lot of Facebook groups featuring swap meets, personal garage sales, and items that people are simply putting up for sale.  I find many teachers and fellow SLPS put their stuff up on Facebook.  I've been tempted but sometimes it just takes too long to clean the closet if I did it personally.  You can find some wonderful sales that way though! Look up groups and pages within your area that also have the keywords: Donate, Sell, Swap, Garage Sale.  Just use caution when meeting up via Facebook too.

        YARD/GARAGE SALES-  In the day, I was a yard sale weekender.  Not so much now that I have a little I have to get from point A to B to C.  However, as I chauffeur her around and see yard sales in the neighborhoods, I will pull over to check it out or drive slowly to look (as long as it is safe to do so).  My neighbor is notorious for having a yard sale every weekend.  They also have several kids so the kid stuff is always out.  How is that for door to door service.  I do LOVE that! 
        PARENTS & COLLEAGES-  When I say parents, I mean our student's parents.  However, my own mother is a Yard Sale Diva and has called me on several occasions to see if I can use a certain item or two for therapy that she finds at yard sales.  I have also been fortunate to have parents donate toys and games to me.  After explaining to colleagues how I incorporate them, I have had colleagues donate too!  Plus, if you are a parent yourself, be sure to save those certain items that you think could be helpful in therapy.  I do not personally go about asking my parents or colleagues for donations but at times it has come up such as when they are moving or talking about donating books and toys to goodwill that their child no longer uses. I will bring it up then and inform them nicely that I appreciate any donations they may have that I might be able to use for therapy. 

        Why spend so much on new items when you can find great treasures given a little time in a search?  Do you know of another great resource to find treasures?   I'd love to hear where else you have found great finds for speech!

        Want more great tips, tricks, and ideas for successful speech therapy?  Subscribe to our FREE newsletter, or visit us on InstagramPinterest, or Facebook.

        I know that for many of us, we get to a point where we are internally diagnosing or assessing our communication partner's speech or tongue posture.  For example, my husband (and initially my daughter) have a bit of a tongue thrust and it makes me want to reach over and snatch that tongue (only kidding... kind of).  When my daughter's friends come over and speak with me, I am always analyzing their speech patterns ("Ahh.. she is still fronting and reducing consonant blends").  It is enough to drive my husband crazy.  It is just part of me now.  With that being said, I still audio record.  This is why....

        MY FOCUS IS MY CLIENT - I want all of my attention to be on the interaction with the child or adult in front of me.  If I am playing with a child to get a natural speech and language sample, obtaining a narrative from a teenager who stutters, or holding a conversation with an adult, I do not want to ruin the flow of the session, screening, or assessment by pulling my attention away to write down what they say.  First, I would find it incredibly rude as an adult if someone did that to me.  Secondly, it ruins the spontaneity of the moment.  It impacts the relationship and trust that I am building with my communication partner.

        I JUST CAN'T CATCH IT ALL - I would like to think that I am pretty quick but I know if I do not record, I will miss things I am not even looking for. For example, I may be listening for articulation and phonology with a little friend and missing all of the language (vocabulary, verb tenses, adjectives, articles, etc..) that they are providing me.  I had one little come in with "limited language" and just overall difficult to understand.  I was playing with her on the floor and had out certain toys to get a wide variety of speech sampled.  My recorder was on while we played and I focused my attention to her.  When I went back to listen to the recording to evaluate her speech sample, I was amazed at the vast amount of language she used.  She was not "limited" by any means.  She had made amazing growth and we now needed on turning our attention on increasing her intelligibility. 

        I CAN LISTEN AGAIN AND AGAIN -  Sometimes, I find that my ears are just plain wrong.  I can be speaking with one of my students and keep a general checklist in my head.  Such as, I heard part-word repetition, sound repetition, interjections, etc.. However, when I go to do a complete analysis of the speech sample, I will find that I missed some prolongations or revisions. Having the recorders on, allows me multiple opportunities to listen and make sure my analysis of the speech or language sample is accurate. 

        I still use my old recorder as back up to my iPhone recorder.  I am not so trusting with technology and I would rather have a back up than to only use one mode to record and lose it all due to an error, malfunction, or a curious kiddo that likes to play with technology and accidentally turns it off (yes, I have had that happen a few too many times). When I am working with school age children, super curious preschoolers, or adults, I always inform them that I will be recording and why (for the kids, I explain that I'm just old and my ears do not work so well). I have never had any one object to my recording or ask too many questions. The free recorder app I have found the most success with is Voice Recorder by TapMedia Ltd.

        There are some great apps that have built in recorders such as Little Bee's Articulation Station Pro, Articulate It by Smarty Ears, and Outdoor Fun by Virtual Speech Center Inc. When the using an app that has the built in recorder, I use only one other recorder as an on going back up.  I just learned a long time ago that no matter how decent I think I am at catching what is said and how it is said, I just can not get it all.  To be able to provide details while progress monitoring, or evaluating I strongly suggest always having a back up and record.

        Do you still use a recorder in Speech? If so, what do you use?

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        You may have noticed that I have not blogged for some time.  This Winter season has been full of family trips, family illness, and updated materials! Since it has been a crazy time for my family, it has limited my therapy planning time. Work is one place that I do not slack though (unlike my home that looks like a tornado hit it!) since I know I have little one's and families depending on me to give them my best and build communication.  When time is in a pinch, I pull out the following:

        SEASONAL STORY BOOKS- I've shared this in the past and I will share again!  You can hit just about any target goal with a story book! I have used them to listen for, dictate while drilling, and then sending home those same articulation lists.  I love doing this as students can practice auditory listening, fine motor control with writing, and then when they go home they can also share with their parents what the story was about!  I have also used story books to work on wh- questions, pronouns, prepositions, sequencing, yes/no questions, labeling, categories, and functions.  Story books are perfect since they already contain the built in picture cues! PREP SPEECH & LANGUAGE MATERIALS- I have made these No Prep packs that work on the following speech sounds in all word positions and on mixed pages: k, g, f, v, s, l, ch, sh, j, th, and r. They also include rl words, s-blends, l-blends, and r-blends!  The following language skills are also addressed: action, pronouns, categories, antonyms, synonyms, homonyms, and functions.  The BIG BUNDLE includes all seasons and the main holidays.

          MUSIC & MOVEMENT-  Sometimes, you just need to dance or move in speech! Here are a few quick ideas! 
          • PLAY MUSICAL DRILL!  Post or hide drill cards around the room and turn on the music.  All the kids in the group dance around the room and look for their speech sound cards.  When they find one they dance in place until the music stops.  If a student has not found a card, they must sit back down at the table but you provide them their drill word.  For the students that found one of their sounds, they practice their drill word while standing up, and hand you their card.  Then you turn the music back on!  The last kiddo left dancing... wins!
          • HOPSCOTCH ARTICULATION/LANGUAGE.  You could get fancy and get a hopscotch rug but why spend that money?  I simply put pieces of colored paper on the ground in a hopscotch pattern and place the articulation or language cards down on the colored paper.  Students take turns tossing a penny to the square and then hop their way to pick it up and finish the pattern to the end.  No matter if they make it all the way to the end or not without falling, they practice their word or skill.  However, they can only keep the card if they made it through without falling.  Be sure to CLEAR THE AREA of any thing that the students could fall into and hurt themselves (chairs, tables, desk, keep away from filing cabinets and bookshelves).  If you do not have enough room to do this in your speech room, I have taken speech outside when it wasn't too cold or windy, and have used it in the gym/cafeteria. 

          Grab this J sound FREEBIE!
          PLAY DOUGH  and DAUBER pages for ARTICULATION, APRAXIA, CONVERSATIONAL EXCHANGE, FLUENCY, LANGUAGE, and PHONOLOGY- My students love when I pull out my Mash & Mark sets.  I made a whole set of resources to address a variety of needs with  colorful playdough mats and low ink black and white dauber pages. Just pull out the play dough, crayons, or daubers and enjoy!  Planning speech has never been so simple for me!  I have found that having these resources always available it makes quick changes possible (a new student transfers to my caseload, little are too wiggly and need a back up plan, need to change up activity due to lack of progress with planned speech activity, etc..).

          What Low Prep or No Prep materials or activities do you use?

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