Motivation, humor, and ideas that every school-based
speech-language pathologist will love!
Some school-based speech-language pathologists work in school districts that have a large amount of money allocated to speech therapy materials. These are the districts that give each clinician a yearly spending budget in order to purchase new materials. I'd imagine that this budget, no matter how big or small, often invokes a feeling comparable to winning the lottery. "OMG, I just won $100 speech therapy dollars from this speech therapy slot machine! Sweet! I can't wait to buy some new materials that I know all my kiddos will adore!"
And then there are those school districts that don't have spending budgets.
These are the districts that don't have extra funds to distribute to their clinicians. SLPs who work in these types of environments are forced to spend a large amount of their own personal finances in order to have a speech therapy room that's filled with materials that are both fun and functional.
Which type of school district are you a part of?
Sadly, my colleagues and I have noticed that more and more school districts are shrinking their budgets (or even eliminating them). It isn't too uncommon to hear administrators say, "There just isn't enough money right now." So, it wouldn't be to crazy to think that a majority of clinicians are currently in the situation where they believe that some of their speech therapy materials are lacking or outdated. They wish they had the hot, new tech thing everyone is talking about. They wish they had an iPad filled with all of those cool apps everyone keeps talking about. So on and so forth.
If you're in that boat, don't worry.
If you find yourself frustrated because you don't have that sizable and impressive budget like the other SLPs have a few towns over from you, don't let it get you down. I wanted to write this post specifically to you to remind you that you don't need that fancy budget or those fancy materials because you're an awesome SLP. You really are.
And awesome SLPs are magical, with or without that stuff.
LeBron James is arguably one of the best basketball players and even if he wore basketball sneakers covered with holes, he would still rock because basketball is in his DNA. Miles Davis was arguably one of the best jazz musicians and even if he played a beat up trumpet with cracks all over it, we would still rock because jazz was in his DNA. And you, you're arguably one of the best SLPs out there and even if you don't have the newest materials or an iPad or whatever, you still rock because those things DON'T make you awesome, your brain does.
Being an SLP is in your DNA!
Speech therapy is your jam. You get speech therapy. Sure, all those bright and flashy materials are nice to have, but they are never a necessity. What is a necessity is you. You and your knowledge. You and your thought processes. You and your ability to solve complex problems that relate to communication. You and your ability to build rapport with your students, their parents, and their classroom teachers. You and your natural way of motivating each youngster on your caseload that they are destined for big things. You. You and your brain. You and your DNA.
In closing . . .
I love flashy speech therapy materials and iPads just as much as the next person, but let me go on record as saying that none of that stuff can hold a candle to you. It's never about the vehicle. It's always about the driver. You're a magical SLP and your school district just wouldn't be the same without you. Thank you for all that you do. The next time I see you, coffee is on me. ;-)
Most clinicians would agree that the iPad is a fantastic addition to almost any speech therapy setting. It's a powerful tool that can be adapted to so many different aspects of speech and language development. So it really isn't a surprise when I hear that more and more speech-language pathologists are using iPads as a material that can help to facilitate effective communication.
But sometimes when you combine iPads and children, the result can get get a bit sloppy, messy, or just plain gross! Haha!
As an SLP who adores using an iPad here and there, I've had my fair share of unpleasant situations that have revolved around the use of my iPad. In fact, I'm sure that many SLPs would agree that sometimes, there needs to be a great deal of teaching students HOW to actually interact with the iPad so we can keep the iPad nice and safe. So, in an attempt to make light of the situation and to inject it with some humor, I've come up with 10 iPad related comments that I'm sure no SLP has ever said before.
- 1. Instead of coughing into your elbow, you coughed into my iPad. I love it!
- 2. Oh, your fingers were just in your mouth and now you're tapping all over my iPad? I love it!
- 3. You had the choice to sneeze into the tissue in your hand or my iPad and you chose to sneeze into my iPad. I love it!
- 4. Licking my iPad is exactly what we should be doing. I love it!
- 5. Hmmm, I see you've stopped using your quiet hands and have now chosen to punch my iPad very hard. I love it!
- 6. You just dropped my iPad on the ground because I told you we've run out of time. I love it!
- 7. You just threw my iPad against the wall because you are a bit frustrated with the app. I love it!
- 8. Oh, you thought my iPad was thirsty so you decided to pour water into its mouth? I love it!
- 9. I'm so happy that you just spilled juice all over my iPad because I've always wanted it to be sticky and smell like grapes. I love it!
- 10. Oh, drawing on the screen of my iPad with a black marker is totally fine. I love it!
In closing . . .
Here's to you, my dear iPad. You are a terrific little digital device. Thanks for being so tough and surviving each and every situation with grace and elegance.
P.S. Speaking of iPads, have you downloaded my latest speech therapy app called Word Search Articulation? You totally should because it's a blast. Click HERE to download the app from the Apple App Store. ;-)
I have two words for you: Word. Searches.
I have two more words for you: Are. Fun.
Now, I have four words for you: Word. Searches. Are. Fun.
Yes, word searches ARE fun!
Didn't you love doing word searches when you were a child? I know I did and that's exactly why I created my latest app called Word Search Articulation. This fun and exciting speech therapy game allows you to practice your searching skills WHILE working on your articulation abilities. Word Search Articulation is jam-packed with over 1,000 sound-specific articulation words that can be hunted for. These puzzles contain hidden words to use with individuals who exhibit difficulty producing the following speech sounds: S, Z, R, L, S/R/L Blends, SH, CH, and TH.
Exercise your eyes!
Have your students take Word Search Articulation for a spin. Then, watch as they happily give their eyeballs a serious workout as they try their hardest to find their hidden articulation words.
A round of hide and seek, anyone?
Word Search Articulation is so easy to play. At the start of each round, the given word hides in a grid filled to the brim with jumbled letters. In an attempt to discover the hidden word, children must concentrate and focus their eyes on the grid to spot that sneaky word. These puzzles demand great detective work because each and every single word is fantastic at hiding.
But don't worry, there's always a hint!
If a student gets stumped and is unable to find the hidden word, the 'hint' button is always an option. This could be pressed at any point during the word search and it causes the first letter of the hidden word to become highlighted. This child-friendly feature ensures that all students will experience success as they participate in this wonderful word hunt adventure.
Give it a try!
I guarantee that you will fall in love with Word Search Articulation. And if you hate it, don't worry because I'll come over your house and wash your dirty dishes for you. That's how I will apologize to you. (Please note that I can only come over if you live within a 15 mile radius from me, hehe!). So, I invite you to use this game to spice up your speech therapy session. Click HERE to download the app from the Apple App Store. Enjoy!
There are just so many things I love about the field of speech-language pathology. I adore the smiles and laughter that come from my students, I simply can't get enough of collaborating with parents and teachers, and I truly enjoy pushing my brain to the limits to come up with the best and most unique speech therapy ideas out there.
But ya know what else I love?
I love the fact that, as a school-based speech-language pathologist, I get to wear so many different hats!
Different hats?! Huh?!
For sure! Think about it. As an expert in communication, I'm not just another body in the building. I'm so much more than that. I'm a potpourri of sorts. A delicate mixture of all the right ingredients that enable me to help all children to grow as confident and effective communicators. SLPs are a rare breed, and below I have attempted to describe a pair of my favorite hats that I find myself wearing almost every single day.
My stand-up comedian hat!
The most effective educators are the ones that make it a priority to bring humor into the speech therapy room whenever possible. Now, of course I know that humor is subjective, but when I preach that we all should try to be a little more funny while teaching, I'm simply encouraging everyone to not be afraid to look like a goof ball, here and there. For example, I often show my students embarrassing pictures of myself when I was in elementary school. I'm the first one to joke about my crazy hair and my uncool clothing (haha!). With this comedic attempt to share my past with my students while teaching them, we all share a chuckle and those giggles usually transition perfectly into the day's lesson. I believe that my comedic attempts help to make my speech therapy room a more interesting and relaxing environment. And that totally increases my students' motivation. So do me a favor, rock your stand-up comedian hat with pride because you sure are one FUNNY SLP!
My game show host hat!
I recently came across an article online that was titled The Top 5 Things that Every Game Show Host Needs To Do. It really struck a cord with me and I couldn't help but notice just how many similarities there were between the role of a game show host and the role of an SLP. As mentioned in the article, "a game show host single-handedly has the ability to make or break a game show by controlling the experience of each participant or audience member. The host controls a game show's rules, pacing, audience involvement, and more." Doesn't that sound familiar? Just replace the words 'game show' with 'speech therapy session' and replace the words 'participants' with 'students.' SLPs can create a fantastic experience within the speech therapy room by remembering to explain every single piece that pertains to the lesson, recapping to make sure everyone is up-to-speed with everything, and by making sure that every person is involved in the session, even if it's not that specific person's turn to answer. So do me a favor, rock your game show host hat with pride because you sure are one SPECTACULAR SLP!
And there's even MORE hats!
By no means do I consider this post to be an all encompassing list of hats that I wear. It's just a short list that begins to make mention of my personal favorites. Can you think of some other hats that YOU wear? Perhaps a coach hat? (Your pep talks might be the best!) Or maybe an artist hat? (Your art activities might be pure magic!) Or maybe even a police hat? (Like that one time that you broke up that fight in the middle of the hallway! Haha!)
In closing . . .
Either way, regardless of your hat or when you wear it, one thing is certain: we SLPs are special messengers. We carry valuable knowledge and deliver those precious gifts to the minds and hearts of our students. As SLPs, we posses a vast amount of information that allows us to successfully connect with our students in order to appropriately diagnosis and treat a variety of speech, voice, and language difficulties. We truly understand that teaching our students to shine as communicators is one of the most rewarding missions that we could ever be a part of. So do me a favor, rock any and all of your hats because you sure are one TERRIFIC SLP!