I love my profession. I am a speech-language pathologist, and I wake up each day to make a difference in the lives of actual people with heart-beats, futures, wants and needs. At times, it does get hard. Really, über-hard.
Does my day sound like yours? Right now, I need to catch up on my Medicaid billing, plan for my whole-class lesson in life-skills, document 3-5 year-olds that are receiving speech services, finish progress reports, prepare for 3 ARDs and therapy plan for about 30 students. I, technically, have about two days a week to get this all done, and I am overwhelmed. I also acknowledge that I am grateful for have a job that makes an impact. At the end-of-the-day (barring all uncrossed to-do items aside), I tried my darnedest to make the world better. That feels good.
I am also grateful for opportunities in my j.o.b. to work alongside some awesome SLPs. On these days, I tackle projects, collaborate with smart, kind folks and keep my eye on the let’s-make-SLP-lives-better prize.
Hey, we are busy, and we love our jobs. I work each day to find things make our days as SLPs better. I am going to use my story and supply you with ways to, hopefully, improve different portions of your day. There are also a few motivational resources if you are running out of steam.
Let’s see how I did today.
I start out the day by getting organized. Spending 10-15 minutes to get organized first-thing, makes a difference for your day. Put this time in, and it’ll be worth your SLP-while. Here are a few resources to help drop-kick your hectic day into gear:
How to Be a Speech-Language Pathologist
Then, I collaborated with a fellow SLP to get ready for an assessment. She needed to complete a social-pragmatic assessment for an 11-year-old. Now, I must admit that I geek-out on these kinds of assessments. I am not ashamed to say that I am one of Michelle Garcia-Winner’s groupies. She is an SLP who has done a lot of work with Social Thinking (socialthinking.com). Social Thinking is how we think about others. It definitely brings in Theory of Mind, the ability to know that others’ have thoughts, feelings and desires (separate from your own).
Here’s the deal. In my personal experience, some of our students on the autism spectrum who can talk and do well in academic areas, at times, do not qualify for services. These are also the same students who do not have friends, have difficulty working in a group and complete their homework and do not turn it in. To be honest, because we use tools (standardized assessments) to assess their language, their social-pragmatic challenges do not necessarily show up. So, with inappropriate assessment tools, a student cannot qualify for intervention. So, here are a few great resources to assist you with stellar social-pragmatic assessments:
Jill also put together some great pictures to use for social thinking assessments and therapy
Right now, I am collaborating on a project that is much needed. We are putting together a survival guide for assessing English Language Learners. Each chapter breaks down information for specific languages into speech, phonology and language. The charts really get down to the nitty-gritty of it all. Is what you are seeing indicative of students learning a second language or is something more going on? There are also over 6,500 languages in the world, and, alas, we did not cover all of them. If you are tackling a language that is not profiled in one of our chapters, we are providing a step-by-step, Quick Tips guide for your assessment. You are busy, and we get it. So, the work is done for you.
We’ve got Spanish, Korean, Arabic, Mandarin, Tagalog, Vietnamese, Hindi, Japanese, Farsi, Czech, Russian, French, German. Stay tuned for information on the release of the Guide. Contact us if you need the information on a language today.
It’s lunch time, folks. That means that it is okay to get up from your desk and eat. Better yet, take the time to change the scenery. This is good for your productivity and your brain. Taking a break from your daily prime duties as an SLP may surprise you. By taking a moment out of the daily grind, new ideas and thoughts may come your way. Early in my career, I realized that ideas would come when I stumbled upon a quiet moment. Remember, pushing through your to-do list may, in fact, stifle your SLP-mojo. Tip: Wearing comfortable shoes can also increase your creative flow, and it keeps your feet happy.
Here are a few life-changing books to make your work-life more productive and meaningful:
Sacred Cows Make the Best Burgers by Robert Kriegel and David Brandt
Switch: How to Change Things When Change by Chip Heath and Dan Heath
Guess what, once I got back to my desk, I had the idea to write this post.
- Honestly, after writing a report, your eyes start to cross and you (or maybe it’s just me) have sweat stains. Someone catches your mistakes. One time, I read a report that had three students names in it. That was not good, and corrections, thankfully, were made.
- You get to collaborate with a like-minded professional. We each have our strengths, and we should join forces to do a better job. It’s about cumulative effort, and it’s more fun.
- You will likely learn something new. We are better at our jobs because of experience. Reading another report, in actuality, is like a little moment of professional development.
I spoke with a parent of a 4-year-old boy about developmental norms for her son. By the end of the 26 minute conversation, Mom felt better and strategies for given to support the child in the home. Aren’t we pretty lucky to be in a profession that gives us opportunities like this?
Here are resources pertaining to developmental norms for our students and clients:
It is time to tackle progress reports. I am summoning my inner-SLP-beast to get this task completed. I can do it. Right?
The progress reports are not complete, and I am going home. In the past 10 or so years, I have learned that the work will always be there. And, to be the best speech-language pathologist for my students, teachers and parents, I need to be okay with saying, “That’s enough for today.”
Here are resources for work-life balance: