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

Best Selling Speech Therapy Materials

Ever feel like you are stuck using the same materials again and again? These speech and language resources are perfect for your next therapy session. Some of my best selling and highest rated activities!

One Sheet Articulation Activities

No prep articulation activity pages to target each speech sound from isolation to sentence level. Includes visuals for how to make each sound. Includes all sound areas in all positions. {b, ch, d, f, g, h, j, k, l, m, n, p, initial r, s, sh, t, th, v, w, z} Perfect for homework or centers!

Students can work their way through the articulation levels with one simple worksheet. Start with sounds in isolation, move to words, phrases, and then sentences. This is great for students to use during those long breaks away from therapy! Grab it here.

These articulation lanyard cards are perfect for the on go therapist! Targets /b, ch, d, f, h, g, j, k, l, m, n, p, initial r, s, sh, t, th, v, w, z, vc, cv, cvc, cvcv/. Pushing in to classes, but are always running around with your students? Then these are great to use with your students for quick therapy targets. Sized perfectly to fit on your lanyard!

Only choose which cards are on your high priority list for target sounds. That way you can add or take away cards as needed depending on your caseload. Grab it here.

Teen Problem Solving & Inferencing | No Prep | One Sheet Activity

This simple, no prep, problem solving & inferencing activity is perfect for social skill lessons! Great prompts for teens and older students. Covers a variety of topics and situations.

Use the pictures to help guide students in their problem solving questions. Each page includes a short passage for student to read detailing a particular problem. These problems are real life scenarios students face in today’s ever changing world.

Also includes blank pages with world bubbles about each picture. This can be used to help extend your lesson by role playing what each individual may say. Perfect to use for students and those hard to had to take data on social skill goals! Grab it here.

No Prep Dinosaur Articulation Coloring: All Sounds

No prep articulation coloring and dab it worksheets. This MEGA packet includes all sound areas in all positions. Each page even has the word list of each target picture.

{b, ch, d, f, g, h, j, k, l, m, n, p, r, s, sh, t, th, v, w, z}

Students will love coloring, dabbing, or even smashing their target sounds with this fun dinosaur coloring sheet! Includes one black and white worksheet per sound. This makes for an easy print and go activity to finish our your dinosaur unit, or use on it’s own! Grab it here.

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.

Speech, Language, and Hearing Screenings

With my move to a new district this year also came with me being the only SLP. I was excited to figure out how I wanted to set up screenings that made sense to me. At our district we screen all Kindergarten, 2nd, and 4th grade classes to start the year. Here is what I used to stay organized as I screened about 150 students in one week.

Step 1: Can you hear me now?

Hearing screenings… the one thing we get thrown into. Sometimes the school nurse does them (if this is you I’m jealous), sometimes the SLP gets them. Honestly I don’t mind doing them… if the students can follow directions. I had one student who would tell me I didn’t hear that every time I hit the button, and only when I hit the button… I’m sure there are lots of ways to have students respond, but these are someways I had my students respond to the tones.

  • Raise your hand when you hear the sound.
  • Touch the ear you hear the sound in.
  • Give me a high 5 every time you hear something.
  • Touch a sticker on the table when you hear the sound.

Step 2: What to use as a screener?!

I looked all over the internet and TpT to find a screener that matched my style of screening. I ended up using the Interactive Articulation and Language Screener bundle from The Dabbling Speechie. I loved how it was broken up into grade levels and even came with screening forms. I ended up making my own forms just for how my brain works, but the full color pictures worked great! I now keep both screeners clipped to my cabinet for easy grab and go when I have REDs. I’m

Grab the bundle here from The Dabbling Speechie!

Step 3: Keeping Track of Pass/Monitor/Fail

All this screening ends up leading to something right?! How can you keep all the students in the correct piles to make sure you don’t miss someone?

I used a color coding system for pass, re-screen next year, and fail (refer). Each grade also had their own folders so I can pick them all up at the start of next year. I printed out a class roster so I could also highlight which students I saw and which folder they ended up in. This extra step made double checking that students were receiving the next steps of RtI or referrals much easier.

Yes I didn’t have a green highlighter so it didn’t all match 😅

Step 4: Keep em moving!

Now you may ask how did I get through my students so quickly being that I had several grades to take care of all of my own. Well lucky for me since I am at a smaller school classrooms are rather close to me since I am up near the office. I put a rainbow rug that is usually in my room outside with some quiet books and puzzles for students to work on while they were waiting to be called in. I would have students on a rotation, two on the carpet or one is in my room. Every time a student was done with me I would send them back to the classroom to grab the next student in line. Many of the teachers already have their students numbered which made keeping the students on track easier.

Stickers! Using my special smelly stickers also made it easier for teachers to identify who they had sent to see me and who still needed to see me. Any student loves to get stickers whether they want to admit it or not. Making them smelly stickers is an added bonus!

Grab them from Amazon!

I hope this helps with your screenings in the future. Please comment below any tips or tricks you have found handy as we know this field isn’t ever a learning process.

Top 5 Games for Middle School

Most of my middle school speech and language sessions are homework or classwork related. I find myself helping students with topics from longitude and latitude to math proofs to water cycles. As SLPs and teachers we have to remember that these students are still KIDS! Kids love games, and taking sometime to build relationship with them will end up helping our students in the long run. Bonus if the games also target their IEP goals!

Below are my top 5 games I use in therapy or on game days. Do you have a favorite game that didn’t make the list? Comment below. All links are affiliate links.

Bubble Talk

Bubble Talk is very similar to Apple to Apples, but you use pictures as the prompt. Students take turns being the judge of the captions students decide upon for each picture prompt. It’s perfect for turn taking, conversation level articulation, inferencing, and describing. You can even use these pictures for other therapy sessions as there are 150 colored pictures included. There are a few pictures that people may not be a huge fan of, but I choose the picture for every round. You can use this game for 10 minutes at the end of a session, or make it last the entire time!

Pickles to Penguins

I originally heard about this game from another SLP in my district who works with 5th and 6th graders. Honestly I think you can use it with any grade, as it is really open ended. The main game is all about how you can connect two cards together. You always have a main card in the center, and you try to get rid of your cards by connecting them to the card in the center. I end up making up my own rules to target my students’ goals for the day. PERFECT for EET goals or expanding MLU as students have to explain how the two cards are similar. There are other ways to play the game that are included in the rules. Most of the pictures are real pictures, and even the ones that are animate do not look “childish”. I find that my older students will not participate in games if they feel it is young for them. You get hundreds of picture cards which can be used for therapy too. For it’s price you could just use the cards as articulation cards!

Blurt!

Do you need a new vocabulary or inferencing game? Then you need to grab Blurt! It has two different levels of cards which are perfect for a variety of ages and abilities. Students read hints for the vocabulary word the other student identifies the vocabulary word. I think what makes this game different than other games like this, are the two levels of cards. Blurt! game does not take up a lot of space either, and can easily store in your therapy bag for the day! It simple and easy to play. Perfect for fun Friday.

Telestrations

This game is great for your larger groups, as the more people you have playing, the more fun it gets! I use this with my push in social skill groups to show perspective. Each round lasts about 10 minutes. Every person is given something to draw on their notepad in dry erase marker. Once you draw the word you pass it onto the next person and they guess what it is. From there you pass it onto the next person who draws what the guess is. This continues on until the notepad returns to the first person. Telestrations is like a drawn version of telephone. When you are done you can go back through and see how the picture was passed on correctly or incorrectly and exactly how the breakdown occurred. I enjoy this because sometimes my students with social language deficits need to see how things occur, and not just be told. **Also a fun game to play with family and friends!

Scattergories

This game is a classic, but my students LOVE to play it. I can target goals from articulation to categories, to social skills all with this one game. I put a twist on mine, and have students only focus on one category at a time with one letter. This allows the game to slow down a bit, and for a deeper conversation to be had about each category. In a given session we may only get through three categories, but we go very in depth. I always tell my students to “stretch their brain” to push past the first few things they know. Giving them time to focus on one category at a time allows them to build up the confidence that they do know, or know more than they think, when just given a bit of extra time.

My Middle School Madness: Part Two

Thank you so much for following along as I talk about how I landed my middle school SLP job, the struggles, and the triumphs! If you missed part one check it out here!.

First day of school/work picture!

Worrying about a new job in a new place was quickly replaced by excitement and the apartment search. I took time over the summer to follow as many middle and high school SLP instagrams as possible. As soon as I received my new work email address, my new credentials, MA, CF-SLP, went after my name. I learned that I had my own closet room at the middle school, but there was not a place for me at the high school that I would be covering one day a week. At time time I didn’t care, I had my very own desk to store my profesional things! I was finally achieving the goal I had spent five years working to achieve.

Picture from my room. I tried to start off the year by writing on my board what each area was going to do for the week.

Then it came to the first day of school, well for new teachers anyway. We went through the introductions and all the niceties that come along with starting a new job. I quickly realized that I was the only new staff member that shared my time between the middle and high school. Also, I realized how no one knew what a Speech-Language Pathologist really does. This is not something that they prepare you for coming out of graduate school. That was not the last time I would come to that realization. I sat through days of professional development that felt like it had nothing to do with me, but as a new profesional I thought that I was just behind and had a lot to learn. Over time of countless PD days I have now realized that most presentations and topics are teacher focused. The lonely island of being an SLP was slowly starting to come into focus.

I used the Monae’s Speech House Big Mouth Posters for my first bulletin board. Find it here!

I spent my weekend and any free time before school started trying to make the perfect schedule. I had a caseload of ~55 students and needed to schedule my time between two buildings. This was difficult as we have A/B schedules and the high school and middle school are on completing different schedules/times. I color coded, made notes for the students when they come, and even had lists for teachers what hours I needed their students. Honestly I thought why does everyone complain about making schedules? That was so easy to do! (I admit now I was wrong).

I met my other SLPs in the district. Each are placed at the various elementary buildings, and each with their own personalities. My mentor, another SLP in the district, was very helpful getting my room at the middle school set up. The other SLPs donated some materials to help get me started as I was a new position hire for the growing secondary speech/language population. Luckily my handy stash of materials I thought would be used for elementary students had several board games I could use! I thought maybe I was prepared for this after all!

In our district the SLPs do not start seeing kids until after all the K-5th grade students are screened/recreened. Although I was not an elementary SLP we all joined forces to screen students. This allowed me to ease into my role in the district, gain confidence with the age group I’m familiar with, and have more time with the other SLPs.

All this was great, but I was ready to start seeing MY KIDS.