November 20, 2016

My SLP Story {A Frenzied SLPs Linky}

Do you ever wonder what led your SLP friends to become SLPs? We all have our own story, but often do not know each other’s. This week, the Frenzied SLPs are hosting a linky to share our SLP stories. Sharing your story can be a great way to remind yourself why you chose this field, and relive some of the passion and excitement that can often fade over the years. I encourage you to read our SLP stories and reflect back on your personal story. Feel free to link up with your own blog post, or share in the comments.


My personal SLP story begins around 2009. I was a 4th grade classroom teacher who knew very little about what went on in the speech therapy room. I had very few students who received speech therapy services and really never knew what they did while they were out of my room. I didn’t think much about it…until my own daughter began stuttering. Taiylor was 2 and struggled a lot as she began learning to speak. Our family doctor wasn’t concerned about it, but I was. I finally pushed for a speech evaluation after her third birthday. She began attending private speech therapy in 2010. I was able to watch every speech session via video in a parent viewing room. I was so impressed with her SLP, and my curiosity about the field began to grow.

This was also around the time that I was beginning to think about leaving the classroom. I had taught for several years and just knew I didn’t want to be a classroom teacher for 20 more years. I knew I wanted to stay involved in education, but just didn’t know what I wanted to do. I changed schools hoping new scenery might change my opinion of teaching, but it did not. Every day I prayed and researched about what other careers might be a good fit for me…and everything kept pointing back to speech-language pathology.


At this point, my daughter was no longer in speech. After a few months of therapy without a lot of progress, she woke up from a long nap one day with no more stutter. She actually walked up to me after her nap and said, “Mommy. I don’t have to think when I talk anymore.” We went back for a few more speech sessions, just to be sure she really no longer needed it and it never started again. Some say this was purely developmental stuttering and she outgrew it. I say it was God’s way of leading me to what would become my new career.

After many prayers and discussions with my husband about speech-language pathology and needing to go back to grad school (I already had a master’s degree in teaching), I took the leap and enrolled in a leveling program.

I completed my leveling courses while I finished my 7th year of teaching. After being accepted into my graduate program, I found a job as an SLP assistant and the intense journey to becoming an SLP began.

Grad school was amazingly difficult. Working as a full-time SLP Assistant, being a mom, and pulling off projects and late night study sessions was a challenge. However, my husband instantly saw a difference in my happiness level and passion for my new field. I knew in my heart I had made the right choice.

Graduation 2015

I graduated from grad school in August 2015. I knew I wanted to work in the schools, and that is where I am today, but I also discovered I love working with adults. My clinicals in the SNF and hospital settings were life changing experiences. One of the things I love about this career are all the different options. Every setting is different. Every patient is different. Every school is different. Every SLP is different.

I love helping others improve their lives. I love being able to help a child learn their first words, produce that tricky /r/ sound for the first time, and experience success in the classroom or in a group setting. I love helping my stroke patients improve their communication skills or improve their swallowing so they can eat the food they want to eat. Being an SLP has changed my life in more ways than just where I go for work. I am inspired and passionate and thankful for this field every day.

I am still a new SLP. I actually just got my CCC in July 2016. The passion and excitement that led me to becoming an SLP is fresh in my mind and heart. By writing down my story, I know I will be able to read it on those difficult days in the future when I need encouragement. I hope sharing my story helps inspire others who may not be feeling the passion anymore. I encourage each and every one of you to think about what led you to this field. Think about the new graduate excitement you had and dreams of improving the world and the lives of your clients. Write your story down and share it with others. You never know who you may inspire…including yourself.

To read more SLP stories, click through The Frenzied SLPs linky below.

October 23, 2016

Tips for Effective and Efficient Teamwork

Teamwork - the combined actions of a group of people, especially when effective and efficient (Google definition)



This week, The Frenzied SLPs are all about teamwork. Working as part of a team can be tricky, and may not always be easy. Sometimes it takes great effort to make the team work.  Many SLPs (like myself) travel between schools, which can make the "team" concept even more challenging.  I would like to share some tips with you that I have found to be helpful in making it all work.

I shared the google definition of teamwork above because it paints a great picture of what working together as a team really is.  It's more than just "working together."  It's working together AND being effective and efficient.  That's what makes a great team. The following tips are my suggestions to help build effective and efficient teams. 

1. Remember whose team we're all on in the first place.  Teachers, paraprofessionals, administrators, SLPs, counselors, custodians, office staff...everyone is on the same team.  We are here for our students.  It can be easy to get lost in the "us vs. them" rut, especially in times of disagreement.  If we can remember that we are all here for the good of the students, it will help us get through those difficult times.

2. Be willing to learn from others. Experienced SLP or newbie does not matter.  We can all learn from each other.  I have learned a TON from my supervising SLPs and more experienced colleagues, but I think they have also learned from me.  We each have our own unique experiences and knowledge we can share with our colleagues. SLPs can learn from teachers, and teachers can learn from SLPs. Be open and accepting of what your teammates have to share.  You never when you'll learn something new!

3. Make an effort to mingle. A lot of days I am behind on paperwork or stressed out about deadlines and difficult sessions, and I just want to sit in my room and eat lunch with my door closed.  However, I try to eat with the teachers at my schools as often as I am able to. It's not every day, but I am for at least once a week at each of my three schools. This is so important because it allows you to get to know each other better, outside of IEP meetings and conferences where it's all student talk. I enjoy these times and it helps me to feel more like we are a team when we can relax a little together. 

Those are my teamwork tips.  What great teamwork tips do you have to share? Feel free to leave a comment below.

For more teamwork talk, click through the rest of The Frenzied SLPs linky below. 

September 6, 2016

Progress Monitoring...Baselines and Beyond {Linky}

Whew!  The past few weeks have been hectic!  We are in our third week of school and it has been a whirlwind.  The start of the year is always pretty busy, but I feel like this year it is even more crazy than usual.  Maybe because I have three schools this year, two of which are new to me.  That means I have two entirely new caseloads to get to know and collect data on.  My days have been filled with progress monitoring, which makes it perfect timing for this Frenzied SLPs linky.  We are sharing all about...progress monitoring!

https://www.facebook.com/thefrenziedSLPs

This topic is one of those areas that can vary widely from person to person.  Every SLP has their own way of collecting data.  I have been trying out new ways to collect and store my data this year, but I always seem to go back to being a paper and pencil kind of gal.  Most recently, I have been experimenting with using SLP Toolkit and some Smarty Ears apps for progress monitoring (more info to come in a future post), but I just really like good old fashioned paper data sheets.

I usually start my year getting to know my students and assessing progress on their current goals.  I like to do this right of the bat because it allows me to see if they have retained their skills over the summer break, and lets me know how much ground we have to cover before their next IEP meeting. 

I also tend to have quite a few new transfer students each year.  That means I have 30 days to assess, plan and revise goals as needed. 

Needless to say, my first few weeks of school include data, data, and more data! 

For articulation, I like to use simple data sheets where I have the list of target words down one side and dates across the top.  Then I can use a quick +/- or write in a sound substitution as we go through the word list. 
https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Articulation-Cards-Data-Collection-Bundle-1433355
I have several ready to go data sheets with word cards in my Teachers Pay Store.  All can be purchased separately or in the bundle.  I keep these cards laminated in a 3 ring binder with extra copies of the data sheets in sheet protectors.  This allows me to grab them quickly when I need them.  You can also cut the word cards and store them on a binder ring or in bags, or even just display them on an iPad. 

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Articulation-Cards-Data-Collection-Bundle-1433355

My bundle includes several different target sounds, with more to be added in the future (all can also be purchased separately).   Each set comes with a ready to use data sheet, saving you time! 

When collecting baseline data, I always use as many words as I can for each target sound and assess the sound in all positions.  My baselines include anywhere from 20-40 words, depending on the phoneme.  I run through all words on the list because it may be that the student has the sound in one single word.  That would be a great place to start when teaching! 

After I have my initial overall percentage, I then select 5 words that the child missed and use those words to teach and practice the sound.  We will practice for 3-4 sessions (depending on the child), informally assessing the target words at the beginning of each session.  Once the child is able to produce the 4/5 target words correctly, I will then run through the entire baseline again to see if they are able to carryover the phoneme into other words.  Then, if needed, we will select a different 5 words to teach and practice and repeat the process. 

Collecting baseline data can be time consuming, which is why I like to keep it as simple as possible.  Having prepared data sheets and word lists allows me to grab and go with little prep time.  I then have records of student progress that I can add to their file for documentation. 

For more info and tips on progress monitoring, be sure to check out the other bloggers in the Frenzied SLPs linkup.  And feel free to share your tips for progress monitoring in the comments below.  :-)

August 21, 2016

Best Year Ever Bonus Sale & Tips from the Frenzied SLPs {Linky}

http://www.oldschoolspeech.com/2016/08/the-frenzied-slps-best-year-ever-bonus.html

Ahhhh!!!  I'm not ready!  I've been back at work since August 1, students start this week and I'm still not ready.  How can that be?  Too many meetings, training sessions, and staff development to attend.  In reality, I am more prepared than I feel.  I have a ton of great resources and lessons planned, my data binders are organized and ready to go, and I've read up on all of my new students.   It's going to be a great week.

To help kickoff the BEST YEAR EVER, Teachers Pay Teachers has announced a BONUS one day sale for Monday, August 22.  The Frenzied SLPs have linked up to share some great resources you will want to check out during the sale.  We're also sharing some back to school tips of the trade to help make your life a little less frenzied.

My best tip for busy SLPs is to establish procedures for screenings and referrals early on.  If you have clearly explained the protocol for speech referrals, it will save you so much time down the road.  Things to consider: Who will handle initial screening of students?  Will the SLP conduct a whole class screening?  What if teachers have speech or language concerns as the year progresses?  How will RTI work? These are all things your district has most likely established guidelines for.  Make sure you understand the process and clearly communicate it with your teachers.

To help with speech sound screenings, I use this articulation screener.

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Teacher-Friendly-Easy-Articulation-Screener-1942959

 This screener is quick and easy to use.  I use it if I need to screen individual students, or entire classes.  I also pass a copy to my teachers if they ever have an articulation concern with one of their students.  Since I'm legally not allowed to screen a student without parental consent, loaning this screener to their teacher helps them to be able to know what is or is not developmentally appropriate.  My teachers find it very easy to use, too!  It also comes with this speech sound development chart, which is a great resource for teachers!

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Teacher-Friendly-Easy-Articulation-Screener-1942959

You can find this easy articulation screener in my store on Teachers Pay Teachers. Don't forget to use the code ONEDAY on Monday, August 22 to save 28% off everything in my store!

How do you handle speech referrals and screenings in your district?  Feel free to share in the comments below.

And be sure to head back to the linky and check out all the other great Frenzied SLP resources!  There are some great ones!



August 13, 2016

Back to School Freebie!

This time last year I was preparing for back to school, going through a blog overhaul and prepping for my first ever Disney cruise.  It was a crazy August for sure.  This year, I'm less overwhelmed as I prepare for back to school, but I still find that last year's post applies to me now.  I don't think the first day jitters will ever go away, and I'm not sure I want them to.  I love the excitement of back to school.  That's why I'm sharing this post again.  I hope you find it helpful!


From Aug. 2015:
As the school year quickly approaches, I find myself growing a little more nervous each day.  I have to admit, I have some first day jitters!  This year, I will be starting at a new campus, and I will be on my own (mostly).  For the past two school years, I have been an SLP assistant and graduate student with quite a bit of supervision.  Even when I wasn't being directly supervised, my SLP mentors were always nearby.  Things are changing this year.  I will be working as a CF, which requires much less supervision.  I am so excited, and I feel very prepared, but those jitters are still there. {Update: I now have my CCC!!!}

Even as a teacher I experienced first day jitters each year.  It's really a combination of excitement and the unknown mixed together.  Starting at a new campus is a  little scary.  Will they welcome me?  What will my caseload be like?  All the unknowns make me a little nervous.  So I try to channel my nervousness into productivity.  :-)

I've been thinking a lot about this school year and what I can do to be the best SLP this campus has ever had (it's good to have aspirations, right?)  Thinking back to my years as a teacher, and conversations I have had with my SLP supervisors over the past 2 years, I know that communication with the teachers is a key part to having a successful year.  To help with this, I have created a FREE teacher communication packet which will hopefully make the communication a bit easier.

SLP-Teacher Communication Forms

My packet includes the following:
*A blank "Notes From the Speech Room" page
*A "Today in Speech" page for sharing what students are currently working on in speech
*A blank "Important" page
*A blank "Reminder" page
* 1/2 sheet "Speech Meeting Reminder" pages (for IEP meetings, conferences with teachers, etc.)
*A speech schedule page to help teachers keep track of when their students will be going to speech




All of the pages are in black and white for quick printing.  There is an editable file to use when you would like to type directly on the pages.  There is also a pdf file if you prefer to hand write on the forms.

This product is a freebie that I hope will be useful to other SLPs, assistants, and graduate students as they start the new school year.

You can download the file in my TPT store by clicking HERE.  Please leave feedback and let me know if this product helps you as you get ready for the new school year.

:-)
Kristin

July 31, 2016

Best Year Ever TPT Sale {Linky}

It's that time again! Back to school! And Teachers Pay Teachers is throwing a big sale just in time! I'm planning to make this year the best year ever for me and my students! To help celebrate, my entire store is on sale for 20% off through August 5. Plus, on August 1-2, you can save an additional 10% by using the code BESTYEAR at checkout.

http://thespeechroomnews.com/2016/07/tpt-back-school-sale-whats-cart.html

To help kickoff the sale, I'm linking up with Speech Room News to share some of the best resources I have available in my store, as well as some awesome resources by my TPT seller friends. Happy shopping! 

From my store you definitely should check out:

1. Articulation Sudoku MEGA Bundle (you can also purchase the individual products separately if you don't want the entire bundle)


2. Easy Articulation Screener (great for SLPs and for teachers to gather info for referrals)


3. Themed Sounds in Syllables Practice - great for working of target phonemes at the syllable level, but can also be used for word level, too.


Other great products to check out:

1. Wh- Question Bundle from Ms. Gardenia's Speech Room - my students LOVE these books!


2. Speech and Language Homework from Kiwi Speech - this will be so great to use this year!


3. Articulation Homework by A Perfect Blend - I love quick homework products!


4. Response to Intervention Bundle by Speech Room News - this looks amazing!


Don't forget to follow my store while you're shopping.  You'll be the first to hear about new products and sales.  You can also join my email list and get exclusive subscriber freebies and deals!  bit.ly/TwangNewsletter

And don't forget to head back over to the linky at Speech Room News and check out all the other great resources being talked about!  

July 25, 2016

SLP Planner Roundup

Can you believe summer break is over already?  I have a few more days before I return to work (although students don't return until the end of August).  Whether you're back already, or returning soon, it's time we start talking about planners.  To help everyone out, I have compiled a list of some great SLP planners that will be so helpful for you as you prep for the new school year, with some tips to help you select the best fit for you.

1. The first decision that has to be made is whether you will have one main life/work planner, or if you would prefer to keep separate life and work planners.  I prefer one because I like to be able to have all my important dates and appointments on one calendar, but I do have separate work/personal sections built in.  Many of my SLP friends prefer to keep their work planners separate.

2. The next thing you need to decide is what pages you would most use in a planner.  I need to have a monthly calendar spread, as well as weekly pages for more specific notes.  I also like to add in pages to help me keep track of IEP meetings, evals, and reports due each month.  I also add in my school calendars. This year I will have 5 different district calendars to keep up with!

3. The last big decision is how you prefer to bind your planner together.  Do you prefer spiral bound? Do you want to be able to add/remove pages during the year? Maybe a three ring binder would be a good option for you.  There are many different binding options, and most are fairly inexpensive to have done at your local office store.  I always take mine to an office store to have it spiral bound.

Now...where to look for the best SLP planner for you? Teachers Pay Teachers of course!  Quite a few of my SLP friends have created beautiful and functional SLP planners.  The best part of theses planners is that they have been created by SLPs.  The prices are great, too!

Last year I actually purchased two different SLP planners and merged them into one.  I selected the pages I liked best from each and added my district calendars and contact info page.  I enjoyed being able to customize my planner, and I spent less than $15 on the entire thing!

This year I made the leap to an Erin Condren planner.  I love the vertical weekly format with three sections.  I use one for work, one for personal, and one for TPT/blogging.  Her planners are on the pricey side, but you can use my referral code and get $10 your first order! Just click HERE
 
 Erin Condren Referral Code

If you're not that thrilled about spending $$$ on an expensive planner, the following is a list of SLP planners sold on Teachers Pay Teachers.  You're bound to find a style you love on this list, or you can purchase several and combine them!

No matter what kind of planner you choose, be sure to check out these awesome planner stickers from Kiwi Speech on Etsy.  They are great for SLPs and teachers!


And Wilma Dean Trout has handmade planner accessories, too!  Get them in her Etsy shop starting August 1.

Happy planning!

Planners are listed in no particular order. Click on links to view descriptions and prices.

Editable SLP PlannerSLP PlannerOrganization & Data PlannerSLP PlannerOrganization PacketSLP PlannerSimplified Speech Therapy PlannerSpeech PlannerUltimate Editable Speech Language Therapy PlannerLife & Therapy Planner for SLPsSpeech Therapy Yearly Organizer & PlannerSLP PlannerSLP Planner & Fillable FormsUltimate SLP PlannerEditable Planner-Binder Covers/Forms for SLPs & Special Education TeachersSuper PlannerSLP Like a Boss Planner

1. The Speech Attic - Editable SLP Planner
2. Speech Language Pirates - SLP Planner
3. The Speech Bubble - Organization and Data Planner
4. Crazy Speech World - SLP Planner
5. The Speech Owl - SLP Organization Packet
6. Kayla SLP - SLP Planner
7. Carissa Speelman - Simplified Speech Therapy Planner
8. Word of Mouth - Speech Planner
9. Doyle Speech Works - Ultimate Editable Speech Language Therapy Planner
10. Speaking Freely SLP - Life & Therapy Planner for SLPs
11. Busy Bee Speech - Speech Therapy Yearly Organizer & Planner
12. Sparklle SLP - SLP Planner
13. Speech to the Core - SLP Planner and Fillable Forms
14. Road to Speech - Ultimate SLP Planner (Editable)
15. Speech Wonderland - Editable Planner-Binder Covers/Forms for SLPs and Special Education Teachers
16. Super Power Speech - Super Planner
17. Beautiful Speech Life -  SLP Like a Boss Planner





June 14, 2016

iTap by Smarty Ears {App Review & Giveaway}

love using good apps in my speech sessions.  I travel between several schools, so being able to use the iPad helps reduce the amount of stuff I have to carry around.  The newest addition to my collection of apps is iTap by Smarty Ears Apps.  Today I want to share my thoughts on this app, and you can enter to win your own copy!


iTap Test of Articulation and Phonology allows SLPs to assess/screen articulation and phonology, record speech samples during the assessment, and generate reports to share with teachers and parents.


When you first open iTap, you will have the opportunity to watch a video tutorial.  You can also access the tutorial through the settings if you need it again later on. 


When adding students, the app allows for identification of any dialectical influences.  This is a great feature and also a great reminder for the SLP to be aware of possible dialectical differences that may have an impact on the student's articulation.

As you progress through the assessment, pictures are presented to elicit target words.  Each target word addresses multiple phonemes.  The target phonemes are highlighted in green, which also indicates a correct production.  ***Note: Vowel errors are not addressed in this assessment, though you are able to make additional notes as you evaluate.


When the student produces an error, tap the target phoneme to record their response. A list of common phonological processes will pop up for you to select from.   ***Note: A great feature of the app is that you are able to flip the target image around so you can sit across from the student.  The documentation area will face you and the target word and picture will face the student.


By selecting "substitution," you are then able to select which phoneme the student produced in place of the target phoneme.


For cluster reduction, you are also able to note which phoneme the student produced correctly.


The app also includes a quick screen of multisyllabic words. These words are scored as correct/incorrect rather than noting specific phoneme errors.



After the assessment is completed, the SLP is then able to provide an overall intelligibility rating at the word and phrase level.  ***Note, the app does not address phrases, but the SLP can include phrase level productions as needed.


One of my favorite features of iTap is the scoring and report information.  iTap does provide a standardized score for your students.  ***Note: You can read more about the standardization sample on the Smarty Ears Website.


The reporting feature provides a general overview of the student's performance, with more specific information in the areas of position, manner, voicing, words, multisyllabic words, and types of errors.


The word analysis allows you to see each of the target words and the errors noted on each word.


For multisyllabic words, an overall accuracy percentage is provided based on the number of syllables in each target word.


My favorite feature is the pie chart summarizing the error results.  I am a visual person and I love the visual representation of the results.  I can also use my snip it tool to cut and paste this into my IEP program to display in a student's report.


All of the results are then formatted into a well written report.  This report can be saved to your computer, emailed, or printed.


Overall Impressions
My favorite features of this app include:
-Easy to navigate
-Can be completed in a short period of time
-Great for quick screens or progress monitoring
-Being able to flip the screen for use during assessments
-Clear layout of results
-No bulky flip books or protocols to carry around
-Scoring is done automatically 

My Suggestions for Future Updates
-More words added to the multisyllabic word portion
-Wider standardization sample completed for scoring

Overall, I love this app.  I have already used it a ton in the few months I've had it.  I have used to it to screen students, progress monitor, and as a part of a full evaluation.  Even though I did not use it as my only source of data for the evaluation (I also used the Goldman Fristoe, speech samples, and observations), iTap fit well into my assessment routine and generated some excellent information for my evaluation.  

iTap is a great assessment tool for busy SLPs, and especially for those of us who travel and don't want to carry around bulky test kits.  It is great for collecting data during evaluations, screenings, and for progress monitoring.  

Now for the best part!  Smarty Ears has provided me with TWO FREE COPIES of iTap to give away.  This app sells for $74.99 in the App Store, so this is a great opportunity!  Enter in the Rafflecopter below.  Winners will be selected on Tuesday, June 21. Good luck!

***Disclaimer: This review represents my personal opinions.  Smarty Ears provided me with a copy of the app, but no other compensation was received.
a Rafflecopter giveaway