Administrators: Know Your SLP’s


The biggest mistake administrators make is not getting to know their professionals.  Often based on the decisions you make, things you say in meetings or even off handed comments you make it is clear to Speech Language Pathologists that you have no idea what we do, how knowledgeable we are, the resources we need to do their job better or even areas we address.  When making big decisions especially those that involve procedure get your staff involved.   You might be surprised at what your staff can offer.  Teachers and other professional staff such as SLP’s can often be a feather in your cap if you listen to them rather than immediately disagree with them.

Learn the roll of every staff member and professional in your building or school.  You never know when someone might have special training or experience to get you through a rough situation.  Listen to what your staff has to say  even if it’s an opinion.  Successful administrators and school boards cannot have a myopic point of view.  I’ve seen this happen and it does not create a strong, successful school system.

SLP’s are extremely knowledgeable.  Our expertise goes beyond articulation therapy.  We have training that goes way beyond academics.  We know how the brain and body function together.  We can pick out specific difficulties in children that can make life long differences if not remediated.  We know about auditory development (not just hearing) and what happens to students who have difficulty with auditory processing, discrimination etc.  We know immediately when your school system has a poor phonics program.  We work on language development with severely autistic children, children with non-verbal learning disabilities and everything in-between.  We work with children who have specific learning disabilities with average cognitive skills and those  children who are severely learning impaired  with low cognitive skills.  Unless you’ve studied higher level language development you don’t have a clue it’s missing until it is almost too late. This list only hits the tip of the iceberg.  I could go one and on ….. but I think you get the point.

Get to know you SLP’s and other professionals.  Ask the questions and listen to them.  It will only make you a better administrator. 

Teresa

 

 

Your School Newsletter and Your SMART Goal

Posted by on Apr 6, 2014 in Administrators Page, pictures, slider, SLP Chat | 0 comments

Your School Newsletter and Your SMART Goal

For the past year and a half I’ve worked for a school district a couple days a week.  When you work very part time in a school you usually get to slip under the radar for many things.  SLPs in my position are sometimes even considered consult types.  You tend to miss a lot of information on procedures.  Anyway, SMART goal writing finally caught up with me.  I was there during the initial explanation of SMART goals at the beginning of last year so I wasn’t totally unprepared.  I had an idea of what I wanted to do and have actually been implementing  my ideas.  I even had a rough draft of my goals.  Last week I was finally asked to input my goals and it was extremely simple.

My one specific professional goal was to share my knowledge with parents by providing 6 articles per year to the school newsletter.  These articles focus on strategies and activities to encourage language development.  I’ve been doing this since October of 2012 and have provided more than my specified 6 articles per year.  While it’s true not many actually read school newsletters, I have received positive feed back from parents, teachers, paraprofessionals and most important my school principal.

Rather than have these articles just sit on my computer, I thought others might want to take these parent focused articles and post them in their own school newsletter.  Figuring out the best way to share the articles has been tricky.  At this time I’ve opened a store on Teachers Pay Teachers.

My articles are perfect for K-5 school news letters.  The articles are very reasonably priced, the first is even free.  At this time the articles are presented in word format so other SLPs or teachers can take the articles and tweak them to fit their schools needs.  In the future some but not all articles will remain in word format (this is something I’m figuring out).

I would love for you to to check out my store on TPT and give me feedback on this idea.  In the future I would be willing to bundle the articles if there is a need for that.

Teresa

Related Articles

What is Your SMART Goal

Share Your SMART Professional Development Goal

 

What is your S.M.A.R.T. goal?

Posted by on Apr 6, 2014 in Administrators Page, slider, SLP Chat | 1 comment

What is your S.M.A.R.T. goal?

Looking in my archives, back in September 2012 I wrote an article on SMART goals and asked people to share their own smart goals.  At that time I had searched and searched and found no specific examples for speech language pathologists.  I would love to know what other SLPs ended up writing for their SMART Goals and if I get enough responses keep a data base to help others.  If you want to share your SMART Goal(s) to help others please pass them along.  I would also be interested in knowing how your goal was developed, who you worked with, if extra time was given to implement your goal, your caseload and if your goal was achieved.  No reason to reinvent the wheel.

Teresa

Just a thought:  I was speaking to a non-teacher friend about SMART goals and her comment was “As opposed to DUMB goals”.  Do you think the powers that be could have picked a better acronym or do you think they did it on purpose?

Lets be realistic about school wellness programs…then maybe they’ll work

Posted by on Mar 1, 2014 in Administrators Page, Parent Information, pictures, slider, SLP Chat, Your Middle Schooler: A Unique Age | 2 comments

Lets be realistic about school wellness programs…then maybe they’ll work

Last week a friend sent me another article on Michelle Obama’s Lets Move Campaign. The article focused a new policies where “unhealthy foods” would not allow to be advertised during the school day. In particular the article referred to the advertising of certain CocaCola company products not being allowed in schools. Keep in mind how much support the Coca-Cola company has given to many causes over the years, especially the Olympics.

“The idea here is simple – our classrooms should be healthy places where kids aren’t bombarded with ads for junk food,” the first lady said. “Because when parents are working hard to teach their kids healthy habits at home, their work shouldn’t be undone by unhealthy messages at school.”  M. Obama

I am a little perplexed by what Mrs. Obama is trying to do. I’ve worked in schools for almost 30 years. I’ve never seen junk food advertising in any classroom. I haven’t seen a soda machine in schools for years. It seems as though she is trying to accomplish something that common sense dictated years ago. I’ve never seen advertising of any kind other than occasional vending machines in any school at any time. So basically Mrs. Obama is trying to achieve something that was initiated and successfully addressed at least 20 years ago. It’s also seems contradictory that advertising of “diet” drinks are going to be allowed. Personally I think the chemicals in diet drinks are even less healthy for children. Mrs. Obama, should we be promoting diet drinks to our school children?

I agree with the basic premise of Mrs. Obama’s Lets Move Campaign. When I look around any school I see many more kids that are heavier than they should be. But she is really missing the mark going after the large companies to decreasing their advertising basically because few actually advertise in schools and none on a large scale basis. Mrs. Obama should look at the name of her campaign and focus on getting kids moving. Schools can modify their schedules to extend recess, spend more time outside, make lunch more relaxing (and social) and provide better school lunches. Why focus on taking away something that is hardly there.

If Lets Move wants to support better nutrition in general, it should start a little closer to home. I’d like to know if Michelle Obama has ever seen or eaten a public school lunch? It’s been my experience to see, small portions served on cardboard or styrofoam trays, food that has been in a warmer for hours (yes hours), unappealing choices, mushy or dehydrated food and frankly poor quality food. Food programs at most schools have switched over from having school cooks to food services where the cooked food is shipped in and kept in warmers. Peek in any trash barrel in any school cafeteria and you will see just how much of “school food” is thrown out. When this much food it inedible or unappealing and not consumed, children have to be starving by the end of the school day. This can’t be good for blood sugar levels.

So how much are kids actually moving in a typical school day? This is going to vary from school to school. It’s been my experience that students have anywhere from 30-40 minutes to shove in their lunch wait for everyone to finish and then run out side to play for 15 or so minutes. Schools rarely provide playground equipment and frankly most kids don’t know how to organize games anymore. Recess is usually inconsistent lasting 15-30 minutes at most. Middle schoolers rarely get recess at all. In the winter time students in cold climates are at times confined to their classroom the whole day. Physical education classes meet for an hour once or twice a week. It’s also important to note that even if schools or principals want to increase their students movement time, the demands of Common Core puts significant limits on time allotted for recess and physical education.

How many exercise opportunities do children have outside the school day? Schools have so much to cover that even with the best intentions, schools can teach healthy habits but cannot provide adequate opportunities to exercise. Perhaps Mrs. Obama’s program should put more effort into developing opportunities to exercise outside of the school day and encouraging parents to take advantage of those opportunities. Instead of alienating large corporations such as Coca-Cola use them to help fund new exercise, sports or dance programs. Children especially from less affluent communities have fewer opportunities to join organized teams, exercise programs or lessons.

Children from all socioeconomic levels are spending an inordinate amount of time playing video games. This is hard to believe but some students actually believe they are playing sports when playing video games. Children are now being raised by video gamers and instead of shooting hoops in the backyard, parents and children now play video games together. If they’re playing video games they are usually not getting much exercise. Perhaps if Michelle Obama and Let’s Move is so adamant about going after corporations that produced less than nutritious food then perhaps they should also go after video game manufacturers since video games keep kids from moving. An awful lot of computer games are used in schools too, some with little to no educational value.

Let’s Move has been in place for 4 years now and other than absurd wellness programs that have infiltrated schools I haven’t seen many changes in students physical well being. These wellness programs have sucked all the fun out of any school celebration since no treats of any kind are allowed. Basically you can’t give a hungry kid a granola bar anymore.  Even students who have yearly physicals are being weighed at school and told they are fat in very public ways.  And to top it off school lunches are still awful.  It’s time to be a little more realistic when it comes to developing wellness programs in schools. Mrs. Obama should put some initiatives together that are realistic, actually have a chance to be successful and might accomplish something.

Setting examples for good nutrition and exercise in schools:

  • Provide nutritious and appealing meals for school lunches
  • Have school lunches prepared at schools and use locally grown veggies and fruits whenever possible
  • Build in more time for a relaxing meal
  • Don’t have kids eat where they work even at snack time
  • Allow wellness plans some flexibility, reasonable treats should be allowed on special occasions.
  • Allow more time for recess, provide typical playground equipment and teach students how to organize typical playground games.
  • Allow longer and flexible breaks after lunch especially for older students where they have some choice on how they manage their time
  • Provide physical education classes at least 2-3 days a week, rather than focus on playing games, teach underlying skills, traditional and other types of exercises, how to organize games and provide cardio workouts.
  • Provide an outdoor recess whenever possible.
  • Encourage students to participate in community based opportunities to exercise, play organized sports or take lessons such as dance or gymnastics.

Thorough and Coordinated Core Evaluations Pay Off

Posted by on Feb 22, 2014 in Administrators Page, pictures, slider, SLP Chat | 0 comments

Thorough and Coordinated Core Evaluations Pay Off

**I learned so much about coordinating evaluations during this time period and I continue to follow the protocols set we set up with every team I work with.  When you are thorough, coordinated and prepared you go to the table with confidence and a plan for the student that actually had a chance of working.

Several years ago I started a new job in s school district that was rumored to have some problems in their special education department.  I was able to confirm the rumors almost immediately.  While going through the caseload files I noticed that there were a high number of students who had gone out for their speech and language evaluation.  Comparing dates I noticed that the outside speech and language evaluations were either part of the initial request or requested after a speech and language was completed through the school.

Now we have all had this happen.  A parent or the team isn’t happy with our findings.  This happens when we find problem and when we actually rule out problems.  We’re never going to make everyone happy 100% of the time.  However, something was different with the pattern I was seeing.  There were just too many outside evaluations.

Reading the evaluations, it was easy to see why this happened.  The evaluations done by the school speech language pathologist were void or any narrative or analysis.  Scores were reported, ranges were given and summaries were sparse.  Most of the school speech and language evaluations were 2 pages at best.  The quality was poor and no supplemental testing was ever given.  I wondered if the therapist was really that bad, never learned the right way to evaluate or just didn’t have time to do the job properly.   I wondered how these reports were presented to the parents.  Was the therapist able to go into more specific detail in the meetings?  The IEP’s didn’t reflect this so I doubted that parents or teachers were given any more information.  Basically the evaluations I read raised more questions than they answered.

Parents talk, even in large districts.  It only takes one parent or team member to say something negative about a report for that opinion to spread.  Pair that with a general lack of confidence in the school’s special education program and you can see how easily a situation like this may occurred.  (I’ve seen poor evaluations from clinics and hospitals but somehow it doesn’t seem to sully their reputation as much.)

With the help of a dedicated staff and a strong team leader this particular school was able to turn around the perceptions of most of the parents.  The first step in this process was to improve testing in all areas.

  • The school administration supported more testing and meeting time, they were at the point where they realized it was cost effective.
  • The team took the time to look over many report styles and picked the best formats and pieces from each one to help develop testing templates.
  • Our program manager developed a uniform heading for our all written evaluations which immediately gave a more professional and coordinated look to our testing.
  • While testing students, we collaborated with the other team members.  The school psychologist often asked me to dig a little deeper in some areas.  I always went to both the regular and the special education teachers to ask them what their biggest concerns were and if there was anything specific they wanted me to try and rule out. 

Because of our efforts, we not only looked more professional and coordinated, we were more professional and coordinated.  Parents were no longer confused when they left the meeting because everyone had their own different opinions.  We did such a good job of coordinating our efforts that we rarely missed anything and our testing almost always dovetailed.

The meetings are another key factor to completing good evaluations.  When reviewing testing, marathon meetings are a must.  It takes a long time to review 3 or more evaluations thoroughly and to develop a good IEP.  When schools take the time to answer parent concerns, parents view the schools as caring and personal.  Sometimes we actually split the meetings into two if the reports were long and involved, developing the IEP a day or two later (if we had the time legally).  This school system was dedicated to improving their evaluation process and hired substitutes so the teachers could stay for most if not all of the meeting.  Nothing tells a parent you care less about their kid than leaving a meeting in the middle of it.

With some coordinated team effort and administrative support we were able to turn this particular situation around, keep testing in house and keep costs down.  Our testing and our reports became more thorough and looked more professional than some of the previous outside evaluations.  In some cases our testing was even better because we often knew the student prior to testing, we were able to include formal and informal observation, we gathered first hand information from parents and teachers to direct testing and we were able to see the kids in a familiar setting over a longer period of time.

Because we collaborated informally ahead of time

  • Our recommendations, accommodations and service delivery were truly team decisions.
  • We were able to look at all factors such as student need, teacher concern’s, parent’s concerns, other school demands, who would be responsible for accommodations and how to fit the needed services into the students day while developing the IEP.
  •  Our IEP’s were some of the best and most individual specific I had ever seen.  

The outside evaluations we had on file contained recommendations and accommodations.  However, they were often generic or grandiose.  Suggested service delivery from outside evaluations did not take the school schedule, the child’s overall needs or other educational demands into consideration.  We were able to suggest accommodations and modifications that were appropriate, realistic and effective.

I was very proud of the work we did in that school district over the three year period that this particular team worked together.  I learned a lot.  Watching parents perceptions change and confidence in the school grow was especially rewarding.  We knew we had a lot to do with that.  Our team leader problem solved and we implemented simple and very common sense changes that made us look good.  Best of all the students ended up with an effective IEP.  With teachers involved in the process they had an easier time following through on classroom accommodations  and modifications.  The teachers also knew they could come to us for support.

Did we keep 100% of our testing in house?  No of course not but our percentage of in house evaluations shifted significantly with very few evaluations in any discipline completed outside of school.  With simple and professional changes we were able to improve the way we did CORE evaluations without a new mandate or law.  Our team leader took the talents and strengths of smart, caring professionals and gave us the time and tools to improve (not change) our evaluation process.  Bottom line we were effective,  we looked good and felt more professional.

Play skills are even more important than you think

Posted by on Feb 19, 2014 in Administrators Page, Parent Information, slider | 1 comment

Play skills are even more important than you think

Several years ago I wrote an article on the importance of play. My slant on the article was more about the importance of learning (or lack of learning) social skills, initiation of interactions and negotiation during play. This week I noted a topic hitting the educational sites on the internet about kids doing better when they get more exercise. The articles were based on a Canadian study called “School-Based Health Promotion and Physical Activity During and After School Hours” that was published in Pediatrics Journal. Now the study itself isn’t that eye opening. It basically states that the school initiatives to promote better health in Canada has worked to get kids moving both in and out of school. All I can say is that it is just too bad that time and money is wasted on something that parents, teachers, doctors and just about anyone else on the planet has known for years. Exercise and other physical activity is good for kids. But in this world of data, data, data it is good press.

In my article “Play skills are more important than you think” I stated,

“If you think kids are getting an opportunity to play at school, think again. Recess and lunch recess is 15 minutes at best these days. Hardly enough time to organize and play anything. Once kids get to middle school, there may be no recess or lunch recess.”

Over my almost 50 years as a student and a teacher, I’ve seen lunch time shrink, lunch recess shrink, extra outdoor recess go away, every free moment disappear from the classroom and gym/art/music cut back (significantly). I’ve also seen the amount of snacking increase, over processed foods sent in for lunch and school lunches reduced to dehydrated unappealing muck served on styrofoam trays that could hardly be called a meal (and quite a bit of it ends up in the trash FYI). With all the school health initiatives here in the United States, all fun activities and celebrations are now food free. Talk about sucking the fun out of everything but that’s a topic for another article.

There was a time when kids were given enough time to eat and play during lunch. Lunch Ladies would make sure you ate what your mom sent in or what you got on your tray but you managed your own time. When you were done eating you could go out. Very few school had play structures, so kids spent their time usually on the black top (parking lot). Guess what, in some schools not everyone stayed for lunch. Students who lived close to school had time to walk home, eat lunch, watch a little tv and walk back to school. Both these scenarios gave students choices and taught students how managed their time from an early age.

Lunch recess lasted as long as an hour in some cases. Kids returning from their home lunch experience would often join in. Rarely did you see a kid standing around doing nothing. Schools provided a variety of simple playground equipment balls, chalk to draw a 4 square and jump ropes. Students could be counted on to organize kickball games, dodgeball games, 4 square games and handball games. Today it is a little pathetic to watch recess because kids don’t know how to organize games and many float around the play area not knowing what to do.

Do kids return to the classroom better able to focus and learn after a longer play time? I would assume so but of course I don’t have any data on that. What I do know for a fact is that kids were thinner and probably in better shape. I know where I grew up not too many kids were taking dance or gymnastics. Organized sports didn’t start until about 6 grade so the exercise we got was from playing. We played at school and we played in the neighborhood. We slurped down regular Coke and Pepsi like water. There was a candy store on every corner and we all indulged. There were several ice cream venues and the good humor man came by regularly. How did we stay so thin, exercise. What a surprise, movement and activity kept us thin. We didn’t even know it was exercise!

What schools could do:
Bring back the cooks and have meals actually prepared at the school.
Add more lunch room attendants so kids can go out when they are finished eating
Provide longer lunch times in general
Add extra recess, especially in warmer weather
Provide appropriate play equipment that must be taken care of and shared
Consult with the physical education teachers on how to teach kids the art of organizing games
Hire lunch room attendants who will encourage students to organize games.

Teresa

Related Articles
Kids Improve with School-Based Physical Activity Interventions  By: NeuroNet
 
StudentsWho Lose Recess Are the Ones Who Need It Most  By JESSICA LAHEY
 

 

 

 

Otterbox is still the way to go…When using electronics with kids

Posted by on Feb 5, 2014 in Administrators Page, Parent Information, slider, SLP Chat | 2 comments

Otterbox is still the way to go…When using electronics with kids

Back in July I wrote an article on Protecting Your Electronics.  I strongly suggested an Otterbox case for iPads, when working with children.  I’ve used this case for almost a year and other than it being a little big and bulky, I am still very pleased with it.

A couple of weeks ago needed to contact Otterbox customer service because the stand up holder inside the removable top broke.  I was still able to use it but it wouldn’t always stay in place.  I believe I broke it not one of my students.  I filled out a form on line and provided them with a picture of the broken piece.  Within a week or so I had a new top for my iPad Otterbox case.

The procedure was simple, Otterbox kept in contact with me and the replacement part arrived on time.  Next time I need a case for anything, I’ll be looking for an Otterbox.

Now they all come in such fun colors!

Q Global follow up

Posted by on Jan 18, 2014 in Administrators Page, slider, SLP Chat | 2 comments

Q Global follow up

Last week I spoke with one of the tech people from Pearson involved with designing the Q Global scoring system.  She contacted me in response to the letter I sent a few weeks back.  I got the impression that her team is dedicated in making Q Global work for Speech Language Pathologists.  We had a nice long chat and went over all of my concerns plus a few other concerns that other SLPs mentioned to me as a result of my initial post.

The biggest points I mentioned were that we really just want scores not necessarily a whole report and the fact that we word very piecemeal and might need some scores before we finish testing.  We might not want to give the whole CELF or we often use other tests in combination with the CELF.  Pearson understands that we often see children over several sessions and may need to go in and change scores/update scores/add the pragmatic information or want item analysis after our initial scoring.

Changes are in the works but because it is an online program updates take time.  Pearson wants to make sure the changes are correct and they understand our needs before the update actually takes place.  I believe she mentioned early February for the next update.

For now I am please with the response I received from Pearson.  They have their concerns also.  The biggest is, if changes are allowed will people go in and score other children to avoid paying the fee.  Sure that probably will happen.  However, in my opinion that’s the main reason why personal software is a better option.

I’m still not happy with the change to Q Global.  Changes are hard but I did my own little study this week.  I gave the CELF 5 to a student and it took me 13.5 minutes to score using Q Global.  I also gave the CELF 4 and using my software at home it took me less than 3 minutes to score and generate a report.  I needed to change something with the 5 and I couldn’t, I needed to add something to the 4 and it took only a few minutes.  Right now I am seeing the Q Global as a step backwards.  I’ve used the Q Global several times now, I am familiar with how it works so newness wouldn’t be the reason for my increased time.  I did send an email to my contact at Pearson pointing out the time difference.  With kids back to back we rarely have time to waste almost 15 minutes scoring, so we’re going to see this as one more thing we have to do at home.

With all that said, my contact at Pearson mentioned that there is a feedback button at the top of the Q Global home page.  She encouraged me to use it.  My guess is unless they hear from the masses, it will be difficult to justify the changes.  So I encourage everyone to use that feedback button and let Pearson know the difficulty you have with Q Global.

My other new question to them was, is customer support available 24/7.  If we can’t complete scoring tasks during the school day we might need extra support after hours.  In my younger days I would be up extremely late working on reports.

Feel free to email me with any of your concerns (or use the feedback button).  I will pass them along.

 

Q-global scoring and the CELF-5

Posted by on Jan 2, 2014 in Administrators Page, slider, SLP Chat | 5 comments

Q-global scoring and the CELF-5

While I am fairly pleased with the changes to the CELF 5, I’ve found the Q-global scoring system to be very inflexible around the way Speech Language Pathologists work.  I expressed my concerns to Pearson a few weeks ago and they suggested I follow up with a letter.  Below is a copy of the letter I sent to ClinicalCustomerSupport@Pearson.com.

I would like to hear from other SLP’s who share my concerns or have other concerns with Q-global.  If you feel the same way, please take the time to follow up with your own letter to Pearson.  If you would like a copy of my letter to use as a template, please email me at theschoolspeechtherapist@gmail.com.

 

 

January 2, 2014

Dear Pearson,

     A few weeks ago I contacted customer service to express my concerns with the Q-Global scoring system used to score the CELF-5.  Your customer service representative mentioned that other SLPs have expressed similar concerns and that I should write a letter to follow up on our conversation.  Basically, the Q-Global system is not user friendly with the way Speech Language Pathologists work. Currently I’ve been using my 10 free scorings that you offered until my school district sets up their account with you.  While I’ve only tested 4 students, using Q-global I’ve burned through 6 of the free scorings.

     There is always going to be a period of adjustment when learning a new system.  Frankly at this point it is easier and quicker to look up scores than to use the Q-global but that will work itself out.  However, it is clear to me from this scoring system that Pearson has little idea about how speech and language testing works and how SLPs work, especially within the public school system.

     While much of what we do aligns with the school psychologist, our testing is very different.  It’s been my experience to observe that school psychologists get most of their testing done in one maybe two sessions.  Because of the variety of skills we assess, decreased attention span of some of our clients, limits of some of our clients, other factors we have to consider and most important our limited time available in the schools to test, we often have to complete our extensive testing over 3-5 shorter sessions.  In the schools we have 45 days to complete our testing.  It is not unusual to have the best of intentions and start testing right away but not finish testing until closer to the end of the 45 day period.

     While the CELF-5 is comprehensive and provides some good composite scores, not all students receive all subtests.  SLPs may want to give a few subtests to begin with, obtain certain scores (or observe manner of performance) then determine what other testing they’ll give.  So here lies the main glitch with the Q-global and the CELF-5.  In order to obtain scores on a few subtests to begin with, I have to generate a report to get those scores.  Once I generate a report it will cost me another dollar to add or change any information.  Considering that most SLP’s are extremely overwhelmed and work very piecemeal, Q-global scoring is going to be a very expensive proposition for schools and private therapists.  Once schools realize how expensive Q-global scoring will be, they will discontinue access for their SLPs.  

    

 This is what I have experienced so far with Q-global:

Example 1:  I gave the CELF-5, scored it out using Q-global, generated a report and put the file back in my bag to work on at a later date.  The next time I picked up the file to work on, I noticed I entered some data incorrectly it cost a credit to fix that.

Example 2:  I decided I needed to include an item analysis (item analysis is something I occasionally attach to my reports) but I had already generated the report to get the scores.  I wasn’t sure if that cost me a credit but I found it very difficult to change the scoring from the raw score to the item analysis.

Example 3:  As part of the CELF 5 evaluation process I asked one of my classroom teachers to fill out the pragmatic profile.  I had most of the report scored and written up before that document was handed back to me.  It did cost me a credit to add that information into Q-global and it took a lot of time to figure out how to do this.

     I believe the Q-global system can work with the CELF-5 but you need to allow more time for SLPs to go in and change data.  Given the way SLP’s work, at this time Q-global is not flexible enough for us.  We need more time to go in and enter data, update date and frankly be able to correct mistakes if we make them.  I guess if I have to I don’t mind paying $1 for each test scored but If I have to pay more than that per student for what ever reason, I will give up Q-global or maybe even give up the CELF-5.

     I’ve been a fan of the CELF since the original came out.  Using the scoring system provided with the CELF-4 made my life very easy.  It was on my own computer, easy to use, saved time and was flexible with changes.  Priced correctly, most SLPs using the CELF-5 would consider purchasing their own scoring system.  I’m also not thrilled about giving over any of my data to Pearson.  I am very careful about the student information I enter.  

     One other thing you should know.  I can’t speak for every SLP out there but I’ve never known an SLP to print out the report generated by a scoring system and present that document at a meeting.  SLP’s are usually just looking for scores and some item analysis.  We tend to write very comprehensive narrative reports, incorporating a variety of test measures.

     Thank you for taking the time to read this.  I hope you will consider making some changes to the Q-global scoring for the CELF-5 to make it more user friendly for Speech Language Pathologists.  If you have any specific questions or other concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact me.  

Sincerely,

Teresa Sadowski MA/SLP-ccc

 

 

CELF 5: First Impression

Posted by on Oct 19, 2013 in Administrators Page, slider, SLP Chat | 8 comments

CELF 5:  First Impression

The other day I was given a copy of the new CELF 5. As someone who has given the CELF since it was created, I was excited to hear a new update was in the works and even more excited when I found out in September that my administrators had purchased one for every school.

As I pulled the components out of the box and laid them along my dining room table, the main items that interested me were the protocol sheets. I assumed I could get an initial impression about the test just by perusing the protocol sheets. I also flipped through the stimulus books and noted some minor changes but a lot of familiar pictures.

My first impression is that they made some nice changes and adjusting to the changes will not be that challenging. Thank you Pearson and Authors because there was no reason to reinvent the wheel.

Looking at the 5-8 year old protocol sheet:

  1. Subtests are in a slightly different order.
  2. The old Sentence Structure subtest is now called Sentence Comprehension.
  3. The old Concepts and Following Directions subtest has been broken up into two separate subtests Linguistic Concepts and Following Directions but here is the best part both have a discontinue rule of 4 (instead of 7).For all of us who have purchased or made up cheat sheets……all the instructions are in the protocol books. No reason to get whip lash as we swing our heads from the back of the stimulus book to the front as we watch our little ones make their choices or encourage carpel tunnel from holding the cheat sheet and protocol together out of the prying eyes of little ones.
  4. Lots of bold font for general directions and correct answers. I wish the regular font was a little thicker or darker but that’s because of my old eyes.
  5. Quickly comparing the Pragmatic Profiles lots of similarities noted, the differences seem to be in how skills are worded. Perhaps the changes in the language will make it easier for teachers and parents to fill out. I will have to look at that a little more closely
  6. The addition of the Pragmatics Activities Checklist looks like a very good tool to help address manner of performance and some subjective pragmatic skills
  7. Expressive Vocabulary subtest is gone. Which really is ok since most of us use other vocabulary testing. It was small pain to give just to get a composite score but occasionally came in handy. I was actually hoping they would beef up the vocabulary portion to include expressive vocabulary. However, it is nice to use a variety of testing material with students. I think using a variety of tests gives you a better overall profile.
  8. Phonological Awareness and Word Association have been omitted. Never used those much anyway, preferring the CTOPP for PA and only used word association with lower functioning kids.
  9. Number Repetition and Familiar Sequences have also been omitted. I never used those subtests very much since my school psychologist always did similar subtests. Plus we always have the TAPS.
  10. Rapid Automatic Naming has been omitted. Not a big issue with the little ones for me but a big thumbs down for the older kids (see below).

Looking at the 9-21 year old protocol sheet

  1. Subtests are in slightly different order
  2. Concepts and Following Directions is now called Following Directions. All directions are in the protocol sheets. However, I could have used some bold print on the Following Directions. The symbols on the protocol sheet are bigger and limited to circle/square/triangle/X.  I think I like the changes to the wording.
  3. There is more space to write the sentences on the Formulated Sentences Subtest.
  4. The Understand Spoken Paragraphs, paragraphs have changed slightly. There are 1-3 more questions per paragraph. I like that. However, I’ve been running into an interesting pattern with my student’s responses which has been effecting their performance in some cases. Worrying so much about restating the question that they forget the information. (Gee wonder why that is happening?)
  5. Phonological Awareness and Word Association have been omitted. Never used those much anyway, preferring the CTOPP for PA and only used word association with lower functioning kids.
  6. Number Repetition and Familiar Sequences have also been omitted. I never used those subtests very much since my school psychologist always did similar subtests.
  7. Quickly comparing the Pragmatic Profiles lots of similarities noted, the differences seem to be in how skills are worded. Perhaps the changes in the language will make it easier for teachers and parents to fill out
  8. The addition of the Pragmatics Activities Checklist looks like a very good tool to help address manner of performance and some subjective pragmatic skills
  9. Rapid Automatic Naming is gone. I am disappointed with that because I often used that subtest to help confirm word retrieval issues. I will probably continue to use that subtest either for my own information or as part of the report noting that it is outdated.

One thing I did notice is that the Item Analysis for each subtest is listed in the protocol sheet. I think that will be helpful when it comes to writing the narrative for each subtest. However, I hope we are able to plug in the correct and incorrect responses in the Q global scoring system to get a list. I occasionally added item analysis to my reports for the Concepts and Following directions subtest.

Scoring…extremely disappointed that we have to go through Q-global and that a fee is charged for every test. Personally I would rather pay for the software and have it on my computer. Sometimes I don’t do all my scoring and writing at once. It better be user friendly that way. My school system is setting up a system for scoring, which I am glad. I’ll have to set up my own for any private practice or consulting. I hope it is easy to use and we can get similar analysis. Note that many of the discontinue rules for individual subtests have changed, for the better I think.

I also noticed that we are going to be able to compare receptive/expressive differences and determine if they are statistically significant. I think that will be a nice addition to the report. I hope the manual give us guidance as how to interpret a difference.
I also have packets for reading and writing supplements. I’m not even going to crack those open yet. At my school the special education teachers tend to take reading and writing on, as they should. If there is a specific issue where we need more data then I will consider giving the reading and writing pieces. Once I get the language pieces of the CELF 5 under my belt then I will look at the reading and writing part of the test more closely. I can’t be all things to all people but I am glad to see it was included but separate.

With all that said my first impression of the CELF 5 is a thumbs up. It should be fairly easy to create a new evaluation template. Hopefully the manual will also give some good information. Once I start using the new CELF 5 and analyze the data a few times, I’ll write another review. It will be interesting to see if the same type of kids are qualifying. I hope and pray the standards have not been lowered. I’d really like to hear from other therapists who are using the CELF 5. What do you think in terms of ease of giving it and overall results? I’m also curious to know how your goals and objectives line up with the CELF 5 and Common Core. Specific examples are welcomed.

 

Applying to Grad School for Speech Language Pathology: How Do I Get My Application to Stand Out?

Posted by on Aug 30, 2013 in Administrators Page, slider, SLP Chat | 2 comments

Applying to Grad School for Speech Language Pathology:  How Do I Get My Application to Stand Out?

By Guest Blogger Kayla Perry

The thought of applying to graduate school is stressful not only to me, but to many of my fellow soon-to-be graduating peers. When I first decided on a major, the average GPA requirement for Speech Language Pathology graduate programs in the New England area was 3.2, which I thought was definitely achievable. As I enter my senior year of undergrad, the average GPA that graduate schools in New England are looking for is now 3.8. My current GPA is a 3.6, not the worst, but not the best either. A lower GPA also means that I must do well on my grad school entrance exams. This is a concern for me because I don’t have the best track record taking standardized tests. I up to the challenge and with some study and practice, I hope to do well.

My concerned hightened when none of the students in my program who applied to graduated school this past year got accepted. So the dilemma becomes, what to do if I don’t get into graduate school upon my first round of applications?

4 out of the 5 students in my program who did not get accepted into graduate school this past year, have been accepted as speech language assistants in various school systems around the area. I’m now questioning if becoming and SLP-A is going to be my only option a year from now. Will working as an SLP- A give me more practical experience the field of speech and language and help to guarantee me a grad school slot the following year? Are graduate schools even looking for this type of experience?

I would appreciate any suggestions on what I could do that might give me an edge during the application and review process. I’ve been doing observation hours at a variety of locations, which I am hoping will look good on an application.

Although I don’t know what the future holds for me at this point in time, I plan continue to pursue my goal of becoming a Speech Language Pathologist. I will keep on doing what I’m doing, stay involved with National Student Speech Language Hearing Association, study/practice for the GRE and look for opportunities that will make my graduate school application stand out.

Kayla Perry is an undergraduate student in the Speech Science Program at Assumption College in Worcester MA. She is just getting ready to begin her senior year.

Related Articles:  The SLP and Grad School Admission, How Can I Look Impressive?