what’s new at SPG


Summer 2020 Newsletter -> Birthdays

Contributions from your SPG colleagues with summer birthdays. Happy birthday to these amazing colleagues, and thanks for the words of wisdom!

Meghan Brewer (BCBA):

The big 4-0! They say it’s a milestone to turn 40. The definition of milestone reads, “significant event or stage in life, progress, development, etc.” I can’t think of a more relevant term for this year -both for myself and for humanity.


Turning 40 doesn’t scare me, (aging never really has, although I do miss getting carded!), and I look forward to continuing to progress and develop, both professionally and personally. I’m so thankful to be surrounded by people at SPG who promote and encourage that. Cheers to another year of growth!

Kristen Obrinsky (PT):

Oh boy, my 60th year is ending without a bang but with lots of change!


This has definitely been a year of growth, taking a different path and running with it. A baby boomer to a new zoomer, hands on people to hands on keyboard, social butterfly to flying solo. My mind has been exploding with new ways to look at things and to continue all the things I love, with a twist. Here is to hoping and believing the next year will bring more changes with positive outcomes for all of us.

Joy Dunlap (Intranet Coordinator):

This year has been one of major transitions. I cope with the added stress of change by keeping a routine that includes a true mental, physical, and emotional break each day. For me that’s usually a mid-day walk with my dogs and a podcast, no matter the weather! I make sure to look up at the treetops and sky as much as I can, and really let my mind wander. That way I can come back to work with a fresh focus.

Lara Reyes (SLP):

This school year tested my ability to adapt to change quickly!  I thought about my elders who were ranchers in Oregon. I had to “Cowgirl Up!”

I used the strategies from Webinars ASHA provided free of charge (I actually took about 16 courses!). Acquiring knowledge is continuous for SLPs. Our students and families depend on us to help their children communicate, access curriculum, and live their best lives.


What did I learn? I learned from our Principal to thank families during IEPs via teleconference, because parents, grandparents, aunties, older siblings stepped up as educators and opened their homes to me.  I learned to be a source of strength for my students and families, in addition to providing services.

Julia Evans (OT):

One of my favorite teletherapy activities I used this year was a picture Bingo game. I sent the Bingo card to the student beforehand so they could have it printed out and then I had my own card. I also had individual cards of each picture so I could show them on the screen. I picked a card and would show it to the student and have them find it on their card. Depending on their level I would have the student color the picture, make an X over it or put playdough or some kind of marker over it. For students also working on writing I would have them write or type a phrase or short sentence about the picture before we moved on to the next picture card. The kids had a great time and it was always a hit with students who wanted to play a game.

Emily Nielsen (SLP):

This year, I decided to give each month a language theme that corresponded to a craft. My students were motivated to make the crafts and loved to see them showcased on the wall. At the end of the month, I sent a newsletter home with the craft stating what we discussed as well as talking points and ideas for home practice. While making the crafts, I targeted: articulation sounds, following directions, inferencing, answering questions, requesting using polite and complete sentences, conjugating verb tenses, and social skills. Some of the themes I had were: “We are tough cookies” “We are good to the core”, “We walk in their shoes”, “We are thankful”, “We can be the light”, “I melted because”, and “We are sharp.” We discussed the figurative language themes and referenced the theme before each session throughout the month. It took some time to prepare, but definitely something we all looked forward to during therapy at the start of each month.


Elizabeth Uduehi (SLP):

This past year, I had the opportunity to present twice for SPG through webinars, in October 2019 and February 2020. In-person presentations are more within my comfort zone, so I was a bit intimidated to talk to a computer for an hour and a half without being able to pick up on any non-verbal cues or communication the whole time. Then March 2020 happened, and I was amazed how quickly so many of us mobilized to change our service delivery models. Now five months into video conferencing for personal and work related conversations, I’ve become so much more comfortable to be in front of a camera and speak to people, whether they have their camera on or not. It’s pushed my creativity skills even more to expand the ways in which I can still motivate and support staff and ultimately students during this educational culture shift. I’m grateful for my supportive SLP community that willingly shared resources, time, or just a listening ear as we constantly pivoted for the majority of this semester. I know this next year will bring its own share of stories and lessons, but I think the best strategy I’ve learned is to not approach these challenges alone. Community, at work and in my personal life, has been one of the greatest motivators these last few months, and I’m privileged to know every single person that has been in my corner!

Erica Bertolucci (SLP):

What have I learned? I’ve learned that when I’m having an off day to always remind myself to be grateful for all of the small things that bring me joy, and also to remind myself to be grateful for all of the wonderful family, friends, and coworkers I have as well.


How have I grown? I’ve become a bit more patient with myself this year. I’m more accepting of the fact that along with learning new skills comes making a few mistakes. I think it’s all a part of the process as long as I keep trying my best and working hard. My professional growth this year is due to my clinical supervisor, Amy Moore. She shared a lot of her knowledge and experiences with me, and was always supportive.


What has helped me? Teamwork and community have helped me this year. Being able to navigate the school closure and distance learning with the SPG team and coworkers made the process much easier!

Jennifer Dantanavantanawong-Barnes (SLP):

Over the past year, and especially in the last few months, I have learned the importance of taking time for myself.  Even if it’s just a quick walk around the block or a few minutes to sit in a quiet room. Those little breaks help to boost my energy levels and increase my focus. I’ve realized that when I’m overwhelmed, tired, and cranky I can’t help others, whether it be my students, coworkers, or  family.  So allow yourself that time and don’t feel guilty about it!