Contributions from your SPG colleagues with fall birthdays. Happy birthday to these fine folks, and thanks for the great ideas!
My number one tip is to become a complete expert on your client. Learn absolutely everything you possibly can about them, so you may gain a greater understanding for who they are and where you can fit into their lives. It works every time!
My number one tip is to try and remember what it felt like to be my client’s age. How would my 4th grade self have reacted in this situation? What would I have said or done? Working in the same district where I grew up, this comes very naturally – and I often find myself impressed by how a student handled a new situation or environment.
I recently discovered Artic Smash Mats that you use with playdoh and they’re the biggest hit! I use it with my preschool through 5th and they all love it!
I love reviewing whole body listening using a poster visual before every language or speech session. It’s also an opportunity to talk about why we care about our speech/language skills and how they help us achieve our school and friendship dreams.
I love Jill Kuzma’s blog with perspective taking ideas. It gives great ideas on how to help kids understand others’ feelings!
I’ve had success in facilitating conversations for my high school social group by working on jigsaw puzzles. The activity takes the pressure off of engaging in eye contact or monitoring body language, which seems to encourage students to talk about whatever is on their minds.
It also helps with teamwork and regulating emotions and thoughts. While it takes about a full quarter to complete a 500-1,000-piece puzzle, it is rewarding to see a sense of accomplishment on students’ faces when they see the completed picture.
I follow Cari Ebert Seminars on social media. She has tons of tips and tools, especially for the birth-three population and for kiddos with CAS. She’s creative, realistic, and hilarious!
I have a phenomenal one pan Autumn Chicken Dinner recipe that is perfect for the fall. My family asks me to make this as soon as the weather starts to cool, and we can’t get enough of it. I hope you enjoy it too!
Amethyst de la Peña
My number one tip for maintaining emotional health is prioritizing time alone. We often spend much of our time working with others, working with our clients, making time to spend with our friends and family, and on top of that we’re always caught up in our phones. A social life is most definitely important, but sometimes turning your brain “off” and finding peace in solitude is good. Whether it be doing a hobby, shopping alone, or being able to read a good book in complete silence – alone time is the best time to relax, clear your mind, and find balance. Self-care is the best care!
When our group of adults with brain injury (HTSP) where I volunteer was asked if they’d like to share any recent accomplishments, a member said, “I woke up!” After we all clapped and laughed, I took a moment to think about how important it is to celebrate the little things. So, whenever we’re going through a rough patch at work or at home, or life becomes overwhelming, I hope we can remember to be like this member and celebrate the small, but very important things!!
One of my favorite people to follow is Peachie Speechie (you can find her on Instagram). Her posts include therapy materials and activities. She also sells really cute SLP merchandise.
My tip would be to smile and have fun. If you’re feeling stressed, definitely reach out for support. You’re not alone!
I like to channel my perception and understand my students’ perspective, in order to understand their m.o. at the moment and build rapport. Don’t be afraid of being silly front of them! Have fun!
I purchased kinetic sand and tools to go with it this summer.
I am finding that it provides many opportunities for language activities with my preschool and kindergarten students.
It has also become a reward for my fourth/fifth grade students – two minutes in the sand at the end of the session for successful work.
My tip is to share a bit of yourself with the children you’re working with. When they have an inside look at how you might have had a similar situation or how to handle something, it can build trust and connection and lead to positive outcomes!
The biggest tip I have would be really getting to know a student’s interests, and using them as a jump off point to work on more challenging skills. Students really respond well when we take time to get to know what they like and who they are, especially when we incorporate that knowledge into our therapy sessions. When our students have fun, we get to have fun too!
Also, for bilingual students, when recently testing an Amharic-English speaking child, I encountered this ASHA page on Phonemic Inventories and Cultural and Linguistic Information Across Languages. Lots of great info on some of the languages we might encounter in our California schools.
Sensory bins are a great way to increase engagement and hands on experience with students. I have used sensory bins to target numerous goals such as joint attention, imitating actions, practicing prepositions, and verbs. They are easy and inexpensive to make. All you need are plastic bins with lids and any filler (e.g., beans, rice, noodles, leaves, sand) and objects (e.g., plastic eggs, toys, spoons). For older children, I used them by hiding therapy targets (e.g., articulation cards, task cards) for easy drilling. I hope you give it a try!
I have found double or polyhedral dice to be a great and simple tool for eliciting a high number of repetitions while maintaining student engagement during articulation drills.