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SLP Competitive Culture

Picture this, you’re still in your undergrad classes, taking notes and trying to get a good grade on all your assignments. The professors are already warning you how hard it will be to get into grad school. You see the other students in the room as your competition, not not as the peers who you will one day be working in the field with. Like the jungle, each time tests were handed back you could cut the tension in the room with a knife. From the very beginning of your SLP journey, you have put up barriers to make sure you get to accomplish your goals.

I was lucky enough to have a great undergrad study group, who helped support each other. Without them I don’t know where I would be.

Now you might have the personal experience or a friend’s story of the professor who told them they wouldn’t make it in the field. The supervisor who made a comment on what you wore to the clinic, or how they would have done something complete different with a client. You start off your therapeutic career often with lots of scrutiny and second guessing everything you do with clients. For some that helps shape them into amazing therapist, but for others that adds a life long toll of seconded guessing their individual therapy techniques.

Undergrad and grad students are fresh and excited and just what our field needs. They need to know that what we do isn’t cookie cutter, and we are excited to support their strengths when they join our field. Help push away the negativity, and loneliness that our undergrad and graduate programs sometimes create (even if it’s unintentional).

Practicing SLPs and SLPAs we need to work harder on realizing we are not alone, and we can lean on each other to create a network of support and change. You may be the only one in your building, district, office, nursing home, or hospital, but that doesn’t mean you have no one in your corner. It’s ok to do therapy different than others, it’s ok to ask for help, it’s ok to not always know the immediate answer.

I challenge everyone to take the CUEs needed to become a mentor for future SLPs and CFs. To reach out to those via social media, snail mail, conventions and repair some of those competitive feelings that may impact your willingness to find support today. Hopefully our schooling can make some change by allowing more students in graduate programs in order to increase acceptance into our field. Either way, the little things you can do to help go a long way.

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Elementary Speech Room Behind the Scenes

Having a speech room is a blessing that I wish was guaranteed for all speech therapists. This year I changed districts, and am lucky to be supported by having an amazing speech room! Check out some of my favorite behind the scenes info on my speech room ⬇️

Small Group Table– This is the first MUST HAVE in any speech room. I love having my students close to me while we work on their goals. The colored seats are a great way to tell students where to sit, or let them choose their favorite. Last year I added colored dots to my table to match the stools (something I’m looking into doing again).

Storage– Another must in any speech room is storage. How are you going to organize all your games, flash cards, files, and more? I am lucky enough to have these great shelves for easy grab and go activities. Tip: To help hide the lower shelves I used curtains and command strips.

Calm Corner– If you have the space for a separate corner, desk, or chair for students to process in I highly recommend it. My calm corner has forgets, books, pills, and other items for my students. When I do centers in speech it is also used as a break area for kiddos.

Sound Wall– I think sound walls are a great way to add some functional speech decorations to your room! These are from my speech decor kits you can find on my Etsy and TPT shops. They are valuable in 4 different colors.

Mirror– As we all know mirrors are another MUST HAVE speech therapy item. I have small hand mirrors for everyday use, but my large mirror also gets a lot of love from students. Perfect for modeling, following directions, or practicing emotions.

Wall Tapestry– The wall tapestry is from my Etsy shop and is available in a variety of designs! Perfect for an office, classroom, or wherever you need a little extra décor. The styles that I have in stock quickly change, so if you see a style you like make sure to grab it quick.


What are some of your favorite speech room must haves? Let me know by commenting on this blog post or joining the conversation on Ginger Speechie socials!

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A Letter to ASHA

Dear ASHA,

We, the school speech language pathologists, are frustrated with being given inadequate therapy rooms. Some of us are happy just to get a room with a door at all, and that is unacceptable. We provide a range of specialized services that require a proper space for our students.

School SLPs are often overlooked by admin and school boards when it comes to a proper space for our students. Speech services are not always seen as critical, even with advocacy provided by building and district SLPs.

FERPA (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act) does require a basic level of privacy for our students, many of whom do not receive this when a therapy space is shared with other teachers or staff.

What message are we sending to our students when we provide services in storage closets, school hallways, cafeterias, or similar spaces? This is often the norm, not the exception, when it comes to school SLPs/SLPAs.

We look to you to not only advocate for us, speech language pathologists, but also for our students. Our profession has been in the school setting for far too long to continue to be looked over when it comes to proper therapy spaces.

How do you as our national governing body plan to make changes and advocate for us on a national and state level? We look forward to your statement and support of your school speech language pathologists.

Sincerely, A Frustrated SLP

What can you do to help make change? Reach out to ASHA through the ASHA National Office. I have linked the Action Center page below as well as listed their phone number to help voice your options. Share this post with other SLPs, admin, and supporters to get the word out. Reach out to local teacher unions you may be a part of a share your experience and the experiences of others.

Action Center:

online contact form

Phone: 800- 498- 2071

email: grassroots@asha.org

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Home Office Behind the Scenes

Your workspace can be an enjoyable space for you to spend time. My setup has completely evolved since working from home, growing my business, and getting into PC gaming. Check out some of my favorite items linked below!

Wall Tapestry– The wall tapestry is from my Etsy shop and is available in a variety of designs! Perfect for an office, classroom, or wherever you need a little extra décor. The styles that I have in stock quickly change, so if you see a style you like make sure to grab it quick.

Large Mouse Pad– If you are working on a small mouse pad you are doing yourself a disservice. Not only does this double as a backdrop for my products, but also allows me to use my entire desk space for moving around my mouse.

Curved Monitors– Do you really need a curved monitor? Yes! I don’t really know the science behind it, but I do think they feel better on my eyes. I recently purchased a second one, that’s how much I love it!

Light Up Keyboard– I love having a keyboard that is a little smaller than your usually keyboard (60% to be correct). There are so many light features which brings just a little extra joy to my typing and gaming experience.

Gaming Mouse– Even if you are not a gamer, I would recommend this mouse. The extra lights are a bonus, but I love how lightweight it is. For something that you move a lot, the weight difference is noticeable.

Cart with Drawers– These carts are everywhere, but I like this one since it has a verity of drawer sizes. The width of the cart is perfect to fit my Cricut. I labeled drawers with vinyl decals I made myself.

Cricut Explore Air 2– This was my first ever Cricut product and of course it had to go with the Ginger Speechie vibes with the lilac color! I use my Cricut to cut of the stickers you can purchase in my Etsy shop.

Rolling Cart– Another popular cart design, but this one is different because of the flat top option. I am able to store my oil diffuser, scale, and other products on top for easy use. The top is removable which adds extra storage!

Oil Diffuser– This adds just a little extra peace to my workspace. Depending on how I feel or how I want to feel is the smells I decide upon. It even has a light that you can choose the color adding to the “vibe” you are going after.

*If you purchase from the amazon links above I do earn a small amount of money.

Dress Challenge Final Thoughts

I wanted a challenge. Something that I could look forward to everyday when I went into work. This past year due to COVID we were aloud to wear jeans everyday to work. I decided to merge my challenge with this change of clothing. The dress challenge was then born. everyday I went to work I would wear some type of dress or skirt to work. My dress challenge in April really made me realize somethings that I didn’t think it would. Here are some of the highlights.

Pink hair for April Fools Day!

1) Re-wearing clothes that make you feel great help improve your attitude on the day. I swear I felt better on days where I was really feeling my outfit. I even when through one of the hardest days yet of my career during this time, and looking back I am so happy I was wearing a comfortable dress on that day.

Monochrome Moment

2) I have wayyyy too many clothes that I don’t like, and need to get rid of. If they don’t make me feel great, then why have them? I know that I have some clothes that are two years old, and I have never worn them. I always said that I would wear them someday, but if that hasn’t come yet then it’s not worth holding on to. Knowing that all pants were out for the month allowed me to realize what dress and skirts I actually like!

Denim jacket became a staple!

3) Dresses can be powerful. There was something about taking on my feminine side and having dresses be a closet staple. (Yes, anyone can wear a dress/skirt, personally I equate them with my feminine side). The freeness that comes with wearing a dress and still kicking some therapy booty was so powerful. I think sometimes we are afraid to express the feminine side in case we come off as “weak” or “unable to complete a task”, let me tell you, YOU can do anything in a dress! I paired them with shorts and found athletic dresses that have built in shorts for those days that I know I may have to tackle a lot!

Cardigan from Shein.

4) My students were able to relate with what I wore. Little girls would come up to me and say how they are wearing a dress and we matched. It was wonderful to make those small connections throughout the day. This pairs with number 3 above with showing littles how powerful that side of ourselves can be! I feel like overtime we begin to wear dresses less and less for a variety of different reasons, but I want to reclaim the reasons I may feel like I can’t.

Black & White became a theme

5) Confidence in my body grew. Sometimes I didn’t always like how a skirt, shirt, or dress would fall on me, but it was amazing how the more I wore, the more confident I was becoming. The first few days I was super self-conscious wearing a dress to work and kept pulling at the hem. Slowly overtime I found a confidence in myself that grew to love whatever I chose and others didn’t have to worry about it.

I loved pairing graphic t-shirts with skirts or over dresses!

6) Stepping outside my box- this was my biggest takeaway. I put together color combinations, materials, and clothing items that I never thought I could pull off. I’ve found a fashion that I think 14 year old Elizabeth would have been proud of.

Speech Room Setup

My speech room received an upgrade this year, so I wanted to share what I am doing with some of the extra space I have. Some of these practices are to help with social distancing due to COVID-19, while others are here to stay permanently.

Interactive Bulletin Board: 🌟This year I’m using a numbered organizer for all of my students to have their own supplies. Inside they have crayons, glue stick, and reward punch card. Hopefully this helps cut down on germs!🌟I’m using @aperfectblendteaching interactive language board to target a wide range of language skills. This is perfect to discuss while we are putting on our hand sanitizer.

SLP Style: 🌟Love my new SLP lanyard from @igotchewshop Use code GINGERSPEECHIE for 10% off 🌟 Together Again face mask from @shopdisney 🌟 PTA provided buttons so our kiddos can see our faces!

Sensory Corner: 🌟Sensory area for my students this year. There are pillows with different textures, sensory bottles, and other sensory items for students. 🌟In order to keep students safe, I have my Clean Me bucket. This is for fidget toys, headphones, and other things that need cleaned once used. I might not always have time to clean them right away, but when I do have time I can clean them for other students to use. Grab your decal here to make your own!

Color Coded Stations: 🌟Colored stools paired with a dot on the table help keep students in their area during therapy. This also allows students to know where to go for speech/language centers.

I’m a School SLP

I’m a school SLP.

That means that I focus what I learned in graduate school on children from ages 3-21 with a wide range of abilities. I can help your child who has trouble with his “s” sound. That also means that I can help the student who stutters while presenting in front of the class. That student who is nonverbal? Yes, they are on my caseload too. Don’t forget about the student who has language difficulties, and sometimes answers questions with the wrong ‘wh’ question. Or how about the student with autism that keeps getting in fights because they have difficulty interpreting social situations? I am on their team too.

Some students you may not realize that I also see could be the child who just had their cleft lip repaired. The student with a life long syndrome that affects their ability to swallow, and eat at lunch with their peers. The student who was in a car accident, and now has a Traumatic Brain Injury affecting their speech.

You may see us playing games in the room, or see us walking around school with one student and think it’s easy. I’m a professional who is constantly evaluating and reassessing my students so they get the best therapies possible.

School SLPs have to ride this fine line between the school and medical communities. What I say next is not everyone, but it’s enough to be said. We are often alone (or greatly outnumbered) in our school districts. Most teachers, staff, and administrators don’t fully grasp our scope of practice. Medical SLPs, OTs, PTs, and doctors don’t always think our evaluations, recommendations, or therapy practices to be up to their level. The letters after my name are the same whether I work in a school or hospital. School SLPs play games, love hands on activities, and participate in school spirit days that to some in the medical community may diminish our professionalism in their eyes. It’s difficult to for me to find my place, and that’s not something that grad school prepared me for. I think this feeling is why school SLPs feel so connected to each other via social media.

I love puns, bright colored classrooms, silly sock days, classroom parties, eating school lunch with my students, and working with teachers, paraprofessionals, nurses, and counselors to help our students.

We (myself included) need to help educate both the school and medical communities on the importance behind what we do. Only through this can we better help our students, families, colleagues, and our own importance in serving the school districts. Be that importance show it’s self in salary, supplies, or even a room larger than a janitors closet.

I am a school Speech Language Pathologist.

Speech During A Pandemic

As we enter the month before most schools start, I began to take sometime to get my list of must have for school next year. My school has not made the decision yet on what we are doing, but I do know that speech during a pandemic is going to have to look a bit different. Here are some of the items I have on my back to school list.

Expectations– Spend the first week of therapy talking about expectations for your speech room. Most years I have done this in bits and pieces, but this year I am going to tackle it hard. Make sure the students know what you expect for them, and have them decided ways they can keep other students safe that use your classroom. Some ideas are showing where the tissues are, using hand sanitizer when you come in and out of the room, staying in your assigned seat, etc.

Clean Me Bucket– I know that I don’t have a ton of time between groups, so I made this Clean Me bucket for when I do have time. Students can put things in here that they have used so I can clean them for other students. You can grab your decal to make your own bucket here.

Dry Erase Markers– Did you know you can write on most tables/desks with dry erase marker and it comes up easily? (Make sure to try it out first.) Draw a square, circle, line boundaries to keep students in their area of the table to reduce the spread of germs. Having students stay in their bubble of the table doesn’t have to be scary for them, but turn it into a game!

Sensory Bottles– Sensory bins are so last year… Just kidding! I will still be using sensory bins, but to start the year I’m using sensory bottles. These can be filled with lots of small objects that you can use to illicit language. Sensory bottles are also a great way to meet sensory seeking behavior needs, while being able to quickly wipe down between students.

Extra Dice– Make sure to have simple things like extra sets of dice so each student can have their own. There are a TON of ways you can use dice, especially with articulation. Give a student a word, have them roll the die, and say and color in the word on a 100 trials sheet the number on the die. You can grab some free 100 trial worksheets here!

Face Mask– As a speech therapist we HAVE to be able to model our mouth for our students. Although it is unclear if school next year will mandate masks, I still purchased myself two masks with a clear window. This will allow my students to see my mouth for a visual model.

No matter what you do, make sure your students know the WHY behind it. Yes, even your preschoolers and other young students who may need reminding. The more communication and explanation, the more seamless your school year will be!

What are some of your tips for next school year?

Teletherapy Tips and Tricks

I want to start off this blog post by saying I do not do teletherapy full time, but I do want to share my background with you. In graduate school I had two clients through teletherapy, ages 9 and 4. I also did my graduate thesis over perceptions of telepractice in the school setting, and I did a poster presentation on this at my state conference. Previously I did VIPKID which teaches Chinese children English over the internet. That is where I learned how to keep students motivated and engaged. If you would like to see some other great SLPs who do this full time check out Lady in the Box, Whimsical SLP, and Stacy Crouse on Instagram or TPT.

Motivation & Engagement

Recently I wrote a post on ways to keep your students engaged during therapy sessions (you can check it out here). I never thought I would have to be writing again so soon on how I do this through teletheraphy. My main go to product? Find A Star (FAS) activities. Not only does it help keep your students motivated, but it also helps keep you on track time wise. Stars are hidden under pictures and numbers. Students must find all 5 stars before the session is over. I normally like to have they choose a number/card every few minutes. I use the pictures on the cards to ask questions, and prompt further language. Students are being rewarded, while still targeting their goals! I let students choose numbers/images based on their ability to stay focused, not on their ability to perform a goal area correctly. This keeps the sessions positive, and the FAS something to look forward to.

Grab the FAS bundle here to get started!

Something else I use a lot to get students engaged are props. That can be something that you have already around the house, or something you find on Amazon. My go to props are giant eyes, ears, and microphone that I printed off and laminated. The students usually laugh at the over sized props when I put them on my face. I use them to indicate to students that I need their eyes and ears on me if they are getting distracted. The microphone is perfect for the students who need some prompting to talk. Remember that for most of our students this may be strange to them talking to a computer.

Work Space

Now this may be different for every person. Make sure that you have a space that you can set aside to do your therapy sessions. Have an old corner of your house that you don’t use? Great! I find it easier, and less stressful, if I have a dedicated space to work at rather than setting up my station everyday. This allows me time to not worry about setting time aside for setting up my work station everyday. Now I understand not everyone can do this, but think outside the box! Finally, use backdrops to your advantage. Maybe put the FAS on the wall behind you as a reminder to keep your students focused. I also have a blanket on my lap as I like often get cold if I am sitting in one place for too long. remember to take breaks, and get up and move around! If you can set up your computer on a platform you can stand at that is even better.

A view into my workspace. I do not have a wall behind me, but I keep the background free from items that might distract my students.

Therapy Ideas

Just because therapy is now done through the computer, that doesn’t mean you can’t still do the things you normally do. If you like doing themes to keep yourself centered (like me) then keep doing that! If you are a bit more individualized, keep doing that! Therapy is as unique as you and me (and that’s ok).

What if your student can’t stay seated? Send them on a scavenger hunt around their house for certain items. If they are a student who will wander off and never return, set a timer for them! You can also do charades with the students, or brain breaks using videos like Go Noodle.

What if your students doesn’t talk? Remember receptive communication and auditory bombardment that we were taught in school? Yes, that is perfect for a time like this! Students may not understand for a little bit that you are the same person asking them to do the same things they do at school. You are no longer in the environment they are use to, you are now inside their homes.

What if I freeze!? That is bound to happen at some point! Have a list of questions you can ask the student. This can make you ready for any situation, and help warm both you and your student up for the day.

Grab my free list on brain breaks here!

Messing Up, Boundaries, & Grace

You are human. You will mess up, and that is okay. It can be a bit stressful knowing that the parent is their while you are doing your sessions. Remember, you are the professional. Trust your schooling, trust your experience, and trust your gut. Your students may run away, or cry, or not talk at all the first few sessions, and that happens! Remember what it is like when you see a new student face to face, that can be hard too. If a parent is trying to take over a session, do not be afraid to ask them for less input during your sessions. That also works in the opposite way, maybe your parents think that teletherapy is free babysitting. If you need a parent to stay in the room, tell them that. Taking out the physical proximity that face to face therapy brings only means you need to increase your communication with the parents. Going from therapy at school, where you see the parents once a year at IEP meetings, to seeing them every week is not only new for you, but also for them. Give yourself grace.

If no one has told you today, thank you for all that you are doing.

Teletherapy Ideas- Sample Packet

Teletherapy Ideas 💡 I wanted to share some of the resources I will be using if my district closes due to COVID-19. My entire store is an additional 20% off until Tuesday 3/17/3030. Please let me know if you have any questions. Grab my Teletherapy Sample Packet here!

Teen Problem Solving & Inferencing Worksheets– This resource can be easily mirrored on your students screen. You can talk through each question, or have them write on the screen. Each senior even comes with a page with word bubbles you can role play with your students.

One Sheet Articulation Activity– This is a big one to target a wide range of speech levels. It takes you from sound to sentence level. Students can mark off each section once completed, and even do the maze themed to the sound!

Articulation Pattern Worksheets– Normally I have students cut and paste the images at the bottom of the page, but this is easily adaptable to teletherapy. Students can read each image aloud, and then draw a line to what the missing image is!

Mega Articulation Coloring Sheet Bundle– This bundle includes 14 different themes to use with your students! Students can say each word and then cross it out of their screen. The bundle also is an easy way to send a packet home for your students who don’t have computer access at home.

Digital Articulation Bundle– This includes 5 click through PDF resources. Depending on the software you use to provide services, students or you can click through each resource. This adds an interactive layer that some of the other resources might not always provide.

Ultimate Speech, Language, Social Skills Bundle– This bundle includes a little bit of something for everyone. Lots of leveled activities that can easily be adapted to teletherapy. The ultimate bundle saves you 30% on 15 activities versus buying each item on it’s own. This bundle is perfect to use as take home packets as well!