Tips for Your Clinical Fellowship

Congratulations! You’ve earned another degree, passed the Praxis, and will be starting a new career- that’s reason to celebrate.  As a Speech- Language Pathologist, you’ve selected a career path that will change you and the way you view the world. Whether you’ve decided to work in a rehab facility, hospital, private practice, or school setting, you’ll have the unique privilege of helping others in amazing ways. You will be challenged in new ways, you will learn so much, and the reward of helping others will keep you going. Going into my fourth year of this amazing career field, I’ve come up with 10 tips I hope will carry you through your first year as an SLP. Best of luck, you’ll do great things!

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Tips to Avoid Summer Learning Loss

Summer is almost halfway over and the stores are lining shelves with back to school supplies, but you haven’t practiced your child’s speech and language skills since the last bell. Don’t fret, it’s not too late to start practicing, refreshing, and getting back on track! If you can’t remember goal areas, it’s time to dig up that IEP, progress report, or if possible see if your kiddo remembers. No matter what the specifics are, most (not all) goals focus on specific sounds (articulation) or on words/vocabulary/sentences (language). Even if your child’s skill area is slightly different such as stuttering or social skills, these tips and tricks can be applied or modified slightly to provide a boost to all areas of speech and language. Here are some quick, easy, and fun activities with a language or sound-based focus to spruce up the last half of your summer!

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Podcasts You Should Add to Your Playlist

Sometimes I feel a bit late to the party.  The most recent party I have become aware of is Podcasts!  I know I may not be the only one who has joined into the auditory fiesta of podcasts, and the buffet is overwhelming with choices of what to tune into.  As someone who collects data as part of my job, I collected some polling data from special educators across the country to find what they are listening to.

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Tonsils--what every SLP should know

Tonsils are often overlooked, often undiagnosed, often troublesome part of the human body.  A visual look at a patient’s tonsils should be included in all oral mechanism evaluations done by speech therapists because enlarged tonsils can cause a variety of speech-related issues such as unintelligible speech, uncontrollable drooling, restless sleeping, or untimely eating. Tonsils are located above the “throat” where the trachea leads to your lungs and your esophagus to your stomach.  The tonsils hang out way in the back of the mouth, one positioned on each side of the uvula, which hangs in the “middle” and back part of your mouth. Tonsils are supposed to be minimally visible when a mouth is opened widely and the tongue is down (think--say “ahhhh”), but they do swell with infection and contact to germs because it’s their job to stop the germs from getting further into the body.  

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Can We Start Again Please? - Reasons to Set Goals for Next School Year Now

You’ve made it to the end of the school year.  You can finally reap the rewards of working in a school and cash in that summer freedom.  Time to pack up, check out, and go, right?  WRONG!  Didn’t you read the title of this blog post?  Before you take a summer-long breather, I challenge you to delay your exit by 10 minutes (maximum 30 minutes) and set 3-5 goals for next school year.  Here’s why I think now is the time:

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Practical Tips for Preparing for Next School Year (Now)

As therapists, we know preparation is king. Summer is around the corner, but before we go, we always want to wrap up the loose ends so we can rest easy during the break and make the transition back in the Fall is as easy as possible.

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Autism Awareness Month - Tips for whole team collaboration to treating the whole child

The number of students with autism on our caseloads is rising. It can be difficult to manage all of the different students that present in many different ways with different needs. This is why a whole team approach is critical in treating children with autism. For anyone who regularly treats children with autism we have all had those cases where we feel stuck. We feel like we are not making adequate progress and feel frustrated. Being in regular communication with all members of the IEP team can help us from this feeling of getting stuck and can also help us to a faster solution and faster carryover to all settings.

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Spring Break Therapy Ideas

If your caseload is anything like mine, your students might shout out, “Christmas!” or “Wednesday!” when you ask them what the season is. For this reason, I always reinforce seasonal concepts throughout the school year. I change out my speech room décor, keep the same visual cue visible for reference, and plan therapy units to continuously target the seasons. Spring break is the perfect opportunity to discuss the exciting transition from chilly winter weather to the warm, often rainy weather of spring.  Use these therapy activities before or after your spring break to teach your students all about the season ahead.

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Executive Functioning and Speech-Language Therapy

Executive functioning is set of cognitive-based skills that help an individual plan, direct, and execute actions in their daily lives. Executive functioning skills require the ability to utilize working memory, cognitive flexibility, inhibitory control, planning, and interference control. While the exact parameters of executive functioning are still undergoing research and characterization, the core areas listed above can be agreed upon by many researchers (Diamond, 2012). In regard to our daily activities, executive functioning skills assist with the ability to manage time, sustain attention to a task, switch focus, organize, recall details, plan responses/actions in social situations, and multitask throughout the day.

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The Rhythm is Gonna Get You: Ways to Use Rhythm to Turn-Around Your Day

NOTE:  The ideas presented in this blog post are inspired by the Neurosequential Model developed by Dr. Bruce Perry.  If you want to learn more about the underlying neuroscience and theory, https://www.neurosequential.com/nme will connect you to resources related to implementing this model in the educational system.  

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