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Winter 2020 Newsletter -> Birthdays

Contributions from your SPG colleagues with winter birthdays. Happy birthday, and thanks for the great ideas!

Tonya Zimring (OT)

For my birthday contribution I’d like to recommend the app Lickety Split.


It’s an animated, interactive timed timer to keep kids on task. Many of the presets are more for things at home, but there are custom settings that could be used at school.

Stephanie Bowar (Behavior)

Here’s my biggest piece of advice for building rapport: It sounds basic, but ask your kiddo what they like and actually take an interest! I think kids spend a lot of time surrounded by adults who dismiss their interests, or are tired of hearing about them. I see a lot of eye-rolling from other adults as soon as my own kiddo wants to talk about/show me Minecraft, Legos, Pokémon, etc. Being the adult who will get excited with a kid about their kid-related interests might net you a few weird looks from adults, but it goes a long way in showing your kiddo that you’re there for them.

Celeste Palco (SLP)

I recommend Legos for middle and older students with AAC devices. They can start by requesting I want LEGO, and add to the sentence of how many legos and what color legos.

Maret Wilson Walker (SLP)

I have been trying to incorporate meditation into my day. I aim for 15-20 minutes in the morning and/or evening, and a few minutes during the workday. In the same way that exercise feels easy when you are in shape, I find that this practice helps me more easily return to a calm, present brain space. Better for me, better for my family, better for my work quality and productivity. If you don’t believe me, maybe Jerry Seinfeld?: Jerry Seinfeld talks TM


Also, for any SLPs who are bilingual or who are interested in serving bilingual populations, I recommend the Facebook group, Bilingual Speech Language Pathologists. Great questions and ideas, and some of our brightest and best are active in the group (e.g. Elizabeth Peña, Cate Crowley). It is fun to see them share their thoughts in this informal format.

Brooke Tierney (SLP)

Consider paying down your student loans faster to save money in the long run. Every extra dollar you send saves you money in the end (especially if you have higher interest loans). You can do it!

Katy Duffy-Sherr (SLP)

Emotional health tip: Chopping crunchy veggies to add to my dinner after a long, stressful day helps me relax, release my aggression (watch out carrots!) and create a healthy meal. It satisfies my belly and the stress of work just melts away, along with the butter I put in the pan…

Julianne Russell (OT)

I use ‘earning a letter on the iPad’ (using the Letter School App) as a reinforcer for younger students who are resistant to non-preferred activities. For each non-preferred activity they complete, they earn a letter.  Each letter takes about 1 minute to complete on the iPad, so I have to make sure I save time at the end to honor giving them the reinforcer I promised. I love the app Letter School with its fun visuals and sounds, it’s ability to grade the assistance in letter formation, and it does not allow students to make the letter strokes in the incorrect sequence.  We keep track of how many letters they earn and write it on our schedule for the session. I prop the iPad up on a vertical surface (balancing on the handle of a file cabinet about shoulder height) for shoulder strengthening, and encourage them to use their helper hand to stabilize the iPad and their index finger to trace.

Stephanie Swinehart (SLP)

The resource I would like to share with the SPG family is one of my favorite speechie podcasts: SLP Happy Hour. The hosts, Sarah and Sarie, provide a refreshing balance of practical tips for work and nourishing discussions about self-care. It can be easy to get overwhelmed by all of the SLP blogs and podcasts out there, but SLP Happy Hour manages to renew my passion for our field without promoting perfectionism.

Rebecca Guevarra (Behavior)

A tip that helps me remain centered at work and off work are “7-8 breaths”. I inhale for seven seconds and exhale for eight seconds repeatedly until I am 100% calm. This helps me remain emotionally balanced and clear-headed.