Since we work with so many different students and staff members, there are not really any cookie cutter sayings that are always good all of the time. For that reason, I am sharing two general ideas about what SLPs should always say.
1. Always share a student's STRENGTHS. When we are in IEP meetings, writing progress reports, or discussing students with their teachers/parents, it is so easy to get caught up in the child's weaknesses or difficulties. Often times, challenging behaviors, lack of progress, or just overall severity of their disability can dominate our discussions...especially during annual IEP meetings. It can be discouraging for everyone, especially the parent. To help these situations, we as SLPs can really lead by example and share our student's strengths. Yes, we are required to do so in our IEP documents, but I'm talking about really sharing some good info on what the child is doing well. Don't just rush over this part. Providing good positive information to the team can impact the mood of the entire meeting. It's so important to have good information to share about what the student is doing well because there's always something.
2. Be specific. This ties in with number 1. Providing specific feedback is much more constructive and useful than general statements. Instead of saying, "Little Bobby is making good progress in speech," give specifics. A statement such as, "Little Bobby is attentive during speech sessions and is now able to produce his /r/ sound 50% of the time," provides much more specific information to the parent and teachers about how our student is doing.
We also need to be specific when providing feedback to our students. Saying things like, "Good job," don't let the student know what they did RIGHT. "That was a great /s/ sound," or "I didn't hear your /s/ sound that time," provides more specific feedback so they can replicate it or try to correct their error. It's easy to fall into the habit of giving general feedback statements (and I have to really fight it myself), but providing specific feedback is more helpful to our students.
These are two areas that I always try to be conscious of in my own SLP life. To read some other things SLPs should always say, be sure to click back to Doyle Speech Works and read the other blogs that have linked up.