This will be a place where therapists can share ideas, problem solve and express concerns. Lets work together to make our jobs easier!
I ran across this fun article floating around Facebook. 33 Activities for Kids That Cost Under $10 Dollars. Some of these activities looked like a lot of fun. While the examples they show look a little too “neat” to be done by kids, with some of the activities you can hand them the materials they need and step back. As a matter of fact it might be a good idea to let them develop their own style of play with their friends. The amount of learning, experimentation and problem solving the kids can do on their own is amazing if you let them try before swooping in to help.
Take a look at the tin foil and hose experiment, what is the worse that could happen. First they could actually learn how to rip foil from the role or they could get a small cut in the process. They could learn how to control or roll up a hose when the were done. Don’t worry it is still OK to drink from a hose once in awhile. Have you done it lately, it is still a fun thing to do.
Several years ago I wrote an article called Play Skills Are More Important Than You Think. With all the changes in our society and education today, emphasis on play has gone by the wayside. The developmental experts are not promoting PLAY the way they use to. I seem to remember much of my initial education in college, focused on the different stages of play. Anyone else ever heard of Piaget?
I hope all kids get to have some fun over the summer, play with their friends, learn the art of problem solving and become creative on their own.
Today I want to introduce my first book!
The School Speech Language Pathologist
An Administrator’s Guide
to understanding the role of the SLP in schools
along with strategies to aid staffing, workload
management and student success.
I wrote The School Speech Language Pathologist to help demystify and define the role of the Speech Language Pathologist in the school setting. The concrete suggestions provided in this book will help to foster more productive speech and language services, aid caseload management, aid student success and guide program development in schools.
The role of the Speech Language Pathologist in the schools is diverse and crosses both medical and educational disciplines. SLPs are developmental experts and have to know how to address the needs of clients from birth to adulthood. Speech and language development is extremely complicated, sequential and neurologically based. For most children speech and language skills are acquired in a typical naturalistic manner and fall within an expected range of development. For those students who demonstrate developmental language disabilities, moderate/severe language disabilities or learning disabilities, school can be especially challenging, confusing, frustrating and just plain difficult.
Speech and language skills are also life skills. Without strong language abilities, students will struggle to succeed in college and in the work place. Poor language abilities and decreased understanding can even effect personal relationships.
Over the past 30 years the role of the Speech Language Pathologist in the schools has evolved. Growing special needs populations, changing curriculums and needed legislation has created larger caseloads and workloads for Speech Language Pathologists without significant changes in staffing levels. We are no longer just articulation experts. Our scope of practice in the areas of language and learning disabilities goes far beyond what most people think.
Thank You for your interest in learning more about speech and language skills and services in schools. It’s a short read but full of good ideas. Pick it up on the Amazon Link or through Booklocker. Link for the ebook coming soon.
***To read and excerpt and to buy the ebook version go to Booklocker.
This past week I saw an interview with Ken Robinson promoting his new book “Creative Schools: The Grassroots Revolution That’s Transforming Education”
Ken Robinson is a speaker and author I’ve been following for several years now. Back in 2012 I reviewed an article interviewing Sir Ken in of all places the Costco magazine. http://www.theschoolspeechtherapist.com/sir-ken-robinson-calls-for-a-revolution-in-education/
As soon as I get a chance I will be reading and reviewing his new book. The reviews look good and I’m sure what he has to say is right on the money.
Sir Ken also gives some pretty rousing ted talks
Sorry it’s been so long since you’ve heard from me. I have another project in the works which I am sure most of the school based SLPs will either be thrilled with or at least agree with. With any luck at all I will be able to announce that project before the end of March.
So yesterday I received and interesting question about the CELF-5 from Dawn, an SLP in the mid-west. Apparently many of the therapists in her district are finding kids are no longer qualifying on the new CELF-5. She was wondering if anyone else having this same experience?
I don’t think I’m seeing this and I’ve given the CELF-5 at least 30 times. However, thinking about it I’m wondering if our “fence kids” are doing a little better than expected. That might not be a bad thing. Now, looking at my testing procedures I always give supplementary testing. I believe vocabulary testing speaks volumes. For my older elementary I might perform the TAPS or TOPS my older students will always get the CELF-metalinguistics (the old TLC). I will seek out other evaluation tools if necessary but these are my standards. I always talk to teachers, special educators and parents before testing if I can. I doubt all therapists have the luxury of doing additional testing and opt for a battery only instead. Because I give additional testing my writing almost always shifts to after hours. Time factors make it difficult to write a coherent and complete report or document at work. [amazon template=iframe image&asin=[amazon template=iframe image&asin=[amazon template=iframe image&asin=
What’s your thoughts on the question. Are fewer of your students qualifying on scores from the CELF-5?
FYI…Still not totally thrilled with the Q-global scoring, are you?
Did you know that Amazon carries a variety of Speech Therapy gifts/Speech Language Pathology gifts. I guess if you went to ASHA you might have seen some of these odd little trinkets. Some are rather cute and some are a little freaky. I love my job but you would have to live a Speech Language Pathology lifestyle to use some of them. I could put links to over 229 items. I’m just going to pick out a few for fun.
“What the he-double hockey sticks is it?” People will be afraid to ask
A little creepy
My tree felt empty without this
This will leave the other guys asking, “Where can I get one?”
If I want to keep the kids and my husband away from my car, I’ll put this on it
Doesn’t Advanced Health Care usually give this stuff away?
Think I could use this to carry my wine to school?
This is rather cute but should it be Speech Language Pathologist instead?
I just hope my family doesn’t find this page on Amazon. If they did I could only imagine my birthday and Christmas gifts for the rest of my life. Come to think of it we use to get my Mother all kinds of nursing trinkets. What were we thinking?
I received a question from a middle school therapist asking if I had any suggestions on how to deal with rude disrespectful students. No other information than that in terms of community, severity of students, size of groups or gender. From my 15 plus years of experience at the middle school level I think I relate to the situation she might be in. I’m going to assume her students are mainly boys and basically language/learning disabled students.
Three things to consider. First, Speech Language Pathologists do not also have to be experts in behavior. We have enough on our plate. Second, the rules have changed just in the past few years and we are not always allowed to use our professional judgement on who will continue to benefit from therapy and who will not. Third, middle schoolers specialize in rudeness, but it shouldn’t be consistent.
As few as 5 years ago I was able to go into a middle school annual review meeting, explain any behavioral difficulties that might be going on. I would proceed to tell the parent that the student isn’t working in therapy and not really getting anything out of it. Parents usually realized the issue because they were dealing with similar behaviors or complaints at home. We kept any language accommodations and modifications in place but the student was officially discharged from therapy. These days students have to “test out” of therapy before they can be discharged. We all know that “testing out” rarely happens for our language kids. Hence our professional judgement is ignored by the system. However, at least at a 3 year reevaluation you can bring up concerns around not continuing to benefit from services.
They are middle school aged children and figure if they keep behaving badly they eventually won’t have to go to therapy. Keep in mind that these children are probably having considerable difficulty in middle school as the language demands in all subjects quickly becomes more difficult. Going to therapy isn’t cool. I’ve been fortunate to work in schools for the past 20 or so years that have been on the cutting edge of integration services. Most kids accept each other and do not pay much attention to the limitations of typical language/learning disabled students. You might want to consider your schools history in terms of special education integration.
I use to be able to tempt the students with food treats once in a while. However, that was before all the food rules schools now have. A granola bar, cookies, dum dum pops or a stick of gum went a long way. By feeding them it showed I cared. It was something special to look forward to and most middle schoolers are hungry all the time.
Some middle school students that were embarrassed to be in speech therapy, especially if someone had the bight idea for me to see them in the classroom. Rudeness could be the result of embarrassment.
If you think you students are embarrassed about having to go to therapy here are some suggestions.
- Talk to them about therapy, what they are working on, who made the decision that they would have to see you (yes include parents), try to do pull out therapy whenever possible. Polling my middle school students over the years, few wanted me breathing down their necks, in the classroom with their friends watching.
- Spend time working gently on raising awareness of their language needs
- Don’t label your door if you don’t have to. If you do just put your name.
- I think all therapy rooms should have windows in their doors but make the student’s seat placement outside the view of the window so their friends don’t see them.
- Explain any scheduling decisions
- Don’t show up at the classroom door to pick them up, make a phone call to class instead.
Here are some other suggestions you might try
- If the groups aren’t working try changing them up (I realize that is easier said than done because our scheduling is based on the school schedule). Are your groups too big to manage?
- Try changing your therapy methods to make activities more fun. Throw in a game once in a while, even if it is a game that has little to no educational value.
- Laugh with your students. I created a joke curriculum that focused on many aspects of ambiguous and figurative language along with vocabulary.
- Occasionally give them a day off, especially if there is something going on in class that they want to be part of. Cut session short once in awhile, they like that. (this of course depends how strict your administration is on comp services)
- Be firm, make it clear that you are tired of their rudeness. It’s ok to use your mean teacher voice when necessary. Follow up with an activity that they like then thank them for their cooperation or tell them this was a fun group.
- Occasionally bring in classwork and let them finish homework, help them muddle through a book they’re reading.
- Design some activities where they can get up and move around. A white board comes in very handy for this.
If these suggestions don’t have any effect, its time to bring your issues to the principal or vice principal. It might be a good issue to pose to teachers at staff meeting. Teachers and counsellors might be able to provide some insight or even support. At the very least you’ll find out if this is a general school issue or individual specific. More than likely these kids are rude everywhere not just in therapy.
As mentioned earlier middle schoolers specialize in rudeness. Our language disabled students have difficulty knowing when it might be ok to be rude and when it isn’t. Most middle schoolers will not be blatantly rude to adults other than their parents but it does happen. Keep in mind they’re a bundle full of hormones and sometimes can’t help it. Rudeness shouldn’t happen on a consistent basis. If you see a problem try talking privately to the student about it or if you know there are issues mention it to the guidance counsellors/school psychologists.
Middle School Therapists, please feel free to add any additional suggestions
As a school speech language pathologist, I haven’t been impressed with outside speech and language evaluations for quite awhile. What I’ve noticed over the past several years, from the outside evaluations that have landed on my desk is that not one has been in-depth or used a variety of unique tests to aid differential diagnosis. The general format for these outside evaluations is now the CELF (Clinical Evaluation of Language Fundamentals) and maybe the PPVT (Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test). The reality is that most school speech language pathologist probable give the CELF more often and are just as good at interpreting the results. Most of the time after reading an outside speech and language evaluation, I have more questions than concrete information. Very few outside evaluations go the extra mile these days. I usually end up finding the language information contained in neuropsychological reports more comprehensive and helpful.
When I first started working in the mid-80ies my school assessments were not as detailed as they are today. Perhaps we could chalk that up to a lack of experience but I think was just the way things were done. Back then we usually recommended that more involved students go out of school and obtain a comprehensive evaluation involving several disciplines. Where I lived many of the hospitals provided comprehensive evaluations focusing on child development and academics.
Those outside evaluations often included physicians, developmental specialists, educational specialists, psychologists, physical therapists, occupational therapists and of course speech language pathologists (then referred to as speech therapists by most). What made these teams special was that they took the time to meet with the children over several sessions then met as a team to compare findings after that presented evaluations and service recommendations to parents. While those evaluations were detailed, the one problem was that those evaluations teams rarely looked beyond the clinical setting. Schools then received findings and recommendations, weeks if not months later. Schools were rarely included in the actual process or the final meetings.
Reading those evaluations was always an education in itself. The speech language pathologist’s report was usually peppered with tests I had only seen in grad school or not at all. It was learning experience to read and compare findings from all disciplines especially the medical and neuropsychological side. Most of the time I felt those comprehensive evaluations were in-depth, provided a key to the students learning style and provided specific information to aid differential diagnosis.
While those evaluations gave us a good insight into the child’s learning style and needs, the outside evaluations often lacked the knowledge on how to design therapy approaches that could actually be implemented in a school setting. I remember the speech and language therapy recommendations (along with most other disciplines recommendations) were often too grand to be carried out in the public school setting. The outside evaluations gave us some very good information but these highly specialized teams had little understanding on how to realistically service students in the public school setting.
Since those days, laws have changed. Schools were made financially responsible for almost all testing. Special education evaluation services in schools had to evolve. Everyone involved in special education had to know how to diagnosis without having the clout to diagnosis.
Schools were now purchasing test material that were cutting edge. Speech language pathologists, special educators and school psychologists were learning how to assess students and look deeper into a child’s overall needs. Schools began offer a greater variety of services and outside evaluation recommendations became fewer and fewer. The school evaluation process became not only more comprehensive but more of a team effort.
While I liked the information obtained through those outside comprehensive evaluations, the way we do it now is better. We know the students we’re testing, we have a feeling on how they will do in the curriculum, we can recommend services that fit the school schedule, suggest services that are best suited to the child and work as a team with the parents. If we need or want a true “diagnosis” we will send students out for neuropsychological evaluations or other specialized testing.
In the past clinical speech language pathologists (and their teams) had the inside track on assessing language issues in school aged children but I don’t feel that is even close to being true these days. Our school assessments have become so specialized that school evaluations teams often know exactly what is going on with a student before testing begins, we are able to consult on what areas to target, talk to teachers about current performance and observe the child in the school setting. Many schools are able to purchase some of the evaluation tools needed to dig a little deeper. However, budget constraints and time factors will keep many school evaluators from being up to date and cutting edge. There is still a place for outside evaluations but clinical speech language pathologists who claim to be evaluation specialists need to step their game and differentiate their approach.
Outside evaluators need to keep in mind the reason why the students come to them in the first place. It’s not always because of schools doing a poor job. Schools may need your expertise or just be limited terms of materials. Outside evaluators from all disciplines should consult with the school professionals, as a courtesy, to review previous work with the student, ask about areas of concern and find starting points for extended testing. Clinical speech language pathologists, please don’t send school speech language pathologists reports containing just the CELF-5 or another similar common test battery without consulting us. Find testing tools that will enhance test results not repeat results. Please keep in mind that sometimes we need your strong but flexible recommendations to support our findings. Be aware of the constraints of the school day. Special education students have a lot of issues to deal with and there are only so many hours in the day. Please do not sent the same recommendations for every student you evaluate, it only lessens the impact of your recommendations.
With our more challenging cases we often want and need outside input. Find ways to make your findings and recommendations meaningful and helpful
This is the third of three (long winded:) articles focusing on the School Speech Language Pathologist and the problems with their changing role. This really goes against what is trending in education. My first two articles “Have School Speech Therapists Lost Their Focus” and “Is the gap widening between school speech language pathologists and clinical speech language pathologists” generated a lot of interest. As always looking for you feedback.
I’m still looking for a few more SLP to complete the Q-Global survey I put up earlier this month. Right now it looks like most of you are not using it, trusting it or can afford it. I’ve worked with Q-Global and they have responded to our needs. However, I am really disappointed with Pearson. Like they will ever care.
If you have a few minutes to fill out the survey please follow the link to my original article. http://www.theschoolspeechtherapist.com/survey-q-global-and-the-celf-5/
Thanks in advance
A few weeks ago I saw this “Buzz Word Bingo Card” floating around Facebook. So much of this buzz word bingo had to do with measuring what students have learned rather than how/what students are being taught. I assumed that that was why it made it on some of the funny education and anti-common core pages. Does any buzz word here actually tell you anything about what the students are learning? I’ll let you generate your own opinion on that. Now compare this buzz word bingo card to the one below.
Here is the Buzz Word Bingo that teachers might have shared in the late 1960’s. Granted someone would have had to recreate it and run it off on on mimeograph machine (which were still used until the early 80ies). It is important to note that using the Buzz Words from the 1960’s, many children received a good solid foundational education. Was it perfect? No. Was awareness yet heightened around learning and language disabilities? NO! However, the good teachers who did not have bulging classrooms did try their best to help all children succeed. I know there was more teaching and less measuring. I know many of you may have hated Dick and Jane but guess what the formula worked for a variety of children, giving them not only reading success but self confidence to read. My favorite three on the Buzz Word Bingo 1960 are PHONICS, HANDWRITING and FOCUS ON MEMORY SKILLS.