Reviewing Last Year, Preparing for Next

If you are reading this your school year is either over or almost over. If it’s over, the first thing you should do is exhale.  Whew! If it’s not over yet, hang in there; you are almost at the finish line. Either way, you should be proud of yourself.

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What I Learned Doing Teletherapy

Like so many of us privileged enough to soldier on during school closures, I got to embark on a new adventure amidst all the chaos by trying my hand at teletherapy for the first time. 

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AAC Teaching Principles

AAC (Alternative and Augmentative Communication) devices are becoming more and more prevalent in the lives of students with complex communication needs. Students who in the past would have had no way to communicate now have a device full of words that they can use to express themselves. The problem is that too often students are given these devices and not taught how to use them, leading to them getting left in backpacks, in desks and at home.  

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Managing End of the School Year Stress

When I first signed up to write this post, I never imagined that end of the school year stress would begin as early as March for many of us, so I was a little uneasy about what to write. After much thought and consideration, I finally said to myself, regardless of the type of stress or when it began, we still must implement the same mindset and behaviors to close out the end of the year. Whether you or finishing this year in May or June, in the actual building or at home; all you can do is your professional best. 

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Carryover For Speech Sounds

Every morning I begin with a neatly ordered to-do lists of goals for the day. But when the students arrived in my therapy room, those expectations for the day must apply to meaningful interactions with my students. Helping a child to generalize their speech production feels the same. We start with goals and hierarchies. Then we have to show the child that the structured practice they’ve received is integral to their phone call to a friend, the letter sounds they learn, the part they play in the school musical. How do we help children apply goals into their everyday life? 

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Autism Awareness - Therapy “Magic” Tricks

As of 2018, approximately 1 in 59 children will be diagnosed with autism as early as age 2 (although most aren’t diagnosed until after age 4). With the rising prevalence in Autism, it feels like most of our caseloads are being dominated by this high-need population. Fortunately, I have found some “magic” tricks to help me with my low-verbal kiddos. 

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Being a Mother and a Therapist

Does my training as a therapist or School Psychologist make me a better parent? I feel that I might be more educated on child and adolescent development and have read many more parenting and self-help books then the average parent. I feel that I really have a lot of tools in my toolbox, and can deal with any situation that can arise when at work, but when at home it is a different story, especially when dealing with my own children. For my own children, I have to be their mother – I am the one who tucks them in at night with a kiss, the one who cares for them when they’re sick, and the one who loves them on a daily basis when they need my love. I wear two hats, mother and therapist, separate, but informing each other. 

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Using Social Stories at School

Most people in education have heard the term “social story”.  It seems to be another one of those catch phrases particularly among the special education population.  However, have you really considered how beneficial these stories are for certain students in your schools?  Among children with identified Autism or other developmental delays, having an individualized social story can be the difference between a successful school day or a dreadful one.  These stories empower students to envision themselves doing the right thing or managing a stressful situation with greater poise. 

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Diets: Teaching Children to Love What They Are Eating

I have two children and it is hard for them to try different foods, especially if it is “weird” looking to them or if the texture is different. My sister in law has three children and they love to eat their vegetables and don’t give their parents a hard time about eating what is given to them on their plate. I questioned the way I was handling my kid’s food choices and why my sister in laws children were eating so healthy and why my children were not eating vegetables like their cousins.

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Behind the Scenes: What Therapists don't see

I'm sure most of us reading this are therapists who work with children and if you aren't, you might have asked yourself, "Why does this child behave this way?" "What is happening in their home that I'm not seeing?" "What has happened in their young life that makes them think this way?"

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