About Me

About Me

 

I’ve had the pleasure of working with children as a Speech Language Pathologist for the past 27 years.  In 1984, I received my Masters Degree from Eastern Michigan University.  Soon after my husband and I relocated to the Boston Area.  I’ve worked in a variety of programs, mostly within the public school systems North of Boston.  I’ve serviced children from birth through high school.

 

In 2007, I started my first blog Your Middle Schooler:  A Unique Age.  At that time there was very little information out there about middle school language development.  My own three boys were going through middle school as I was servicing middle school students, so I came away with a very unique perspective.  While I enjoyed writing about middle schoolers and their language development, I wanted to write about other issues involving Speech Language Therapy in the schools.  I was also becoming extremely frustrated that so few educators and administrators knew what we did and what a good resource we were.  Thus “The School Speech Therapist” was born.

 

Education has changed a lot over my 27 years.  I had the privilege of seeing my town’s first group of integrated preschoolers begin and then graduate from high school.  I can remember when there was only one computer in each classroom.  I can also remember when there was more teaching and less teaching to the test.  That statement should tell you that I haven’t agreed with all changes in education.  The changes within the Speech Language Pathology realm have been just as drastic but the kids we service really haven’t changed at all.  They have the same language needs, we just know how to service them better these days as a team.

 

I am currently employed part time in a public school setting, servicing a small grade school population and testing at the middle school level.  This past year I also provide consultation in a couple of school systems for services and evaluations.

 

Thank you for taking a look at my blog The School Speech Therapist.  I hope you find it informative.  I would very much like this to become an interactive blog.  Feel free to pose any questions or concerns either through the contact page, comments or e-mail theschoolspeechtherapist@gmail.com

Teresa Sadowski MA/SLP-ccc

February 2012

12 Comments

  1. Hi there! I just discovered your very valuable blog today, and I’m so glad I did. You have so much knowledge and experience, and an apparent dedication to the profession…very inspiring for a newbie SLP like me!

    I did want to ask, do you have any information and/or resources/link/materials (ANYTHING really) for speech at the high school level? It’s my 2nd year, straight out of grad school, & I knew immediately upon graduating that I wanted an older population. Unfortunately, working in the NYC public schools, not much guidance, or support is given. There is also a vast amount of activities, downloads, and freebies for speech therapists in elementary schools and middle school, but hardly anything on high school.

    If you can lead me in any direction, I would so greatly appreciate it!

    Thank you :),

    Penny

    my email is: pennylaneslp@gmail.com

    • Teresa Sadowski MA/SLP-ccc

      Hi Penny
      Sorry it took me so long to get back to you. High School can be an interesting place for therapists. Many of our students have plateaued and really may not benefit from traditional therapy or they are ready to move on because of other reasons. This might be just scheduling issues, motivation or just other priorities. Are you still doing pull out or inclusion? I recently started a part time high school position. I’m lucky I am in a pull out model but may do some inclass work and a social skills group in the future.
      What I am seeing the most of are students who haven’t acquired or begun to acquire the higher order language needed to be successful in school and in life and students who are smart but have difficulty with pragmatics/social skills. I’ve learned that with some kids, especially those who have history of language disability the higher order language has to be taught. The pragmatic students are usually able to manage through out school but pragmatic issues become more evident or increasingly different might be better way to say it. My problem with that is trying to determine if the pragmatic differences are language based or behavior based.
      I’ve written some articles on the importance of higher order language development that might point you in the right direction. However, you may be very curriculum based. I know a lot of high school therapists are curriculum based (told to be) in order to help students pass the tests and get their homework done rather than help develop underlying skills that may help them achieve independence. Tell me a little more about your position and I’ll be glad to offer any support I can. Anything specific let me know.
      Teresa
      AKA The School Speech Therapist

  2. Mike Schwab

    Hello Teresa,
    Your website is informative, Thank you.

    1.)Would you have any suggestions for current college students who would be entering sophomore year, Fall 2014. They want to get a Masters in SLP. Their current undergrad school only has a minor in communication.

    2.)Is an undergrad degree in general Health Sciences (minor in communication) and then attend graduate school for a Masters in SLP a good idea?

    FYI, I am students father and found your website via google search.
    Thank you,
    Mike Schwab

    • Teresa Sadowski MA/SLP-ccc

      Hi Mike,
      My neighbors daughter just went through the grueling grad school admission process. Her school did not have a graduate program either which I did think was concerning given the fact that grad school spots are few. She did get in to two programs so I was happy for her. The field of SLP has been marketed well the past several years and there are more students in undergrad than grad school spaces available. The students are being told that they can work as an SLP assistant for a year and reapply if they don’t get in first time through. I don’t think that is a good avenue in. My school just cut 5 SLP assistant positions to hire an SLP. SLP jobs are out there but more are becoming 3 party employers with lower salaries. Not thrilled to see that. What I would suggest is to get some experience volunteering in the public schools or shadow an SLP on a regular basis. I also encouraged my friends daughter to write short articles for my blog. Have her start a blog of her own chronicling her undergrad experiences. Find something that will stick out on her application related to kids, older folks or SLP in any way. I am not sure about the undergrad degree major and minor you mentioned, I would have her speak to guidance about that. Having a health science major might give your child more flexibility when choosing grad school programs, incase SLP is not “the” chosen field two years down the road. Good Luck to them.
      Teresa Sadowski Ma/SLP-ccc

  3. Gail Wiss

    3 years at high school with high population kids with IEP’s. Troubled impoverished youth and unresponsive parents. I do enjoy how hectic it is and the endless bells. I feel that the 30 minutes a week I spend with them is a bandaid. I do try to stop in their classrooms for a short visit to see them in other environments, but I can only do three things at a time. It;s only October and I,m burning out.

    • Teresa Sadowski MA/SLP-ccc

      I Do understand your frustration and so do almost all school SLPs. That doesn’t mean we should have to put up with it. IEPs and schedule are so ridged that it is almost impossible to even try any other service deliverly model or increase services (for even short periods) to see if smoething might be more beneficial to the student. I know this is expecially true with hight school. I find it funny that most schools discontinue therapy once kids get to high school, like there is some imagary line that say high schoolers do not need therapy any more. Of course the folks designing a high school schedule or requirements do not take into consideration (or even understand) adolscent language development. They don’t understand that if a student has not developed or is working on developing higher order language school will be miserable for them both academically and socially. As a profession we should do as much as we can to educate administrators on our role, our training and language development. It is hard for us to do this since we hardly ever work in teams. Check out my new book, I have tried to put together information and ideas to help administrators have a better understanding of language development/disabilities and its impact on academics and life. June will be here soon:)

  4. Darlyn

    Hi Teresa,
    I have a mundane question for you about recommendations made in an SLP report in the school system. What would you say to a district director who wants us all to be consistent about what we include in our recommendations? Do you know of a legal mandate that we need to consider in MA? For example, whether we include the wording that the student is “eligible” for ST, or frequency of ST recommended, considering that the IEP team is responsible for the final say. I usually state that ST is indicated given the results of the evaluation and that this will be discussed further at an upcoming meeting. I’d be interested to hear your thoughts.
    Thanks.

    • Teresa Sadowski MA/SLP-ccc

      Hi Darlyn,
      I don’t know of any legal mandates specifically for us but I believe there might be some within the IEP process. During an initial or re-evaluation it is my understanding that the “team” is suppose to decide and agree upon the need for services and frequency. I usually put in my evaluation in the summery section something like “Based on testing, student could/would benefit (depending on how strongly I feel) from speech and language services” Sometimes I might add in the areas of…. I will also add some recommendations a few things that wil will be writing in the accommodations section. I will also add “specific recommendations will be made at the team meeting” referring to frequency and goals. I have had situations where I haven’t put in the ‘”student qualifies” statement and a team leader will try and argue the need for services. Reality is we can diagnosis speech and language issues and we should have the final say. We just need to play by the rules. Most people we work with and administrators do not have a good understanding of what we do, how we can help and our background. I know I have seen this discussed in depth in other places. Please let me know how your discussion goes. Teresa

  5. Paul Skittone

    Dear Teresa,

    I am a retired High School Speech Teacher from New York City. I was isolated in my ideas though I tried to further what I was doing. I developed an 1-8 station answering station using an ordinary computer that tests can be written for using no programming knowledge.

    Now that I’m retired and the internet is available I’d like to get people interested in this. So far it has been difficult. Do you have any ideas to solve this?

  6. Pat Jones

    Hi Teresa,
    I am a preschool SLP but have had to work at a Middle Schhol the last few years one time per week (about 2 hrs each week) with students in a life skills program. I continue to search for ways to evaluate these students and what to recommend. They vary in ability from non-verbal with limited range of communicative intent, minimally verbal to those who can express basic wants and needs but with very low cognitive and academic skills. Some are able to take care of their own ADLs and can perform basic functional routines (load the dishwasher, make snacks etc.). I have no problems with preschoolers but am struggling with what to do/how to assess these students who have received special Ed and SLP services since preschool and continue to have such low skills. Can you recommend any resources that may help?

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