Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Dear Parent.....

Dear Parent,

I am writing to you as your child's speech pathologist. I only get to sit and talk with you at length once a year during the annual IEP meeting because you are a very busy person. You have seen me a handful of times in your life. I don't really feel like you know me, know my heart and dedication although I try to show you each time I visit with you. I see your child every day. I try to show your child my heart, dedication and love everyday whether they come to speech or not that day. I show all of my students that same love.

I am the person you yelled at today. Me, Amy Minor. You kept calling me the speech teacher, but I am a person with a name. The words you say to me hurt sometimes. My job title is a speech pathologist, but my job is to help your child be as successful as possible inside and outside the speech room. I remind myself daily how important my job is before I walk into these school doors. You talk to me as if I am trying to decrease services "just because I want to". You told me I am not doing what is in the best interest for your child. Instead of yelling at me, I gladly would have listened to your input and concerns. I am very open to what you have to say. You brought your threats to the meeting about a lawyer and yes you scared me. Did you realize that? I may have continued to act professionally in that moment because thats the kind of person I am; but as a person who makes significantly less money than you, I was scared. You told me I don't care about your child and questioned my intentions all while I was sitting in a meeting after school hours (hours that I am not paid for) listening to you criticize my skills as a speech pathologist. Skills that I acquired after 6 years of college-a bachelors degree, a minor in psychology and a masters degree.  Skills that I continue to pay for through student loans and yearly continuing education hours. Skills that I have acquired through experience. This is what I want you to take away from this letter, parent.

I am a speech pathologist. I am a person, a wife and now have a child of my own. I LOVE my job. I love my job so much that I get to school early in the morning. Yes I am one of the first people through these doors every morning. Many times it is to prepare for the upcoming speech sessions that day. Your child was the most difficult child I have ever encountered in my speech career, but that made me want to work even harder. I have researched behavioral techniques. I have bought special materials to help your child accomplish the goals we have set this year and took time out of my day at home to even make materials specifically for your child.  I love my job so much that I will drop my child off at child care this next school year. Yes I will drop my child off at child care in order to come help children like yours here at school. Do you realize that I do that? Do you realize that I was so eager to help your child succeed that I used to lie awake at night trying to think of a new way to tackle a goal in order for your child to succeed? There are minutes on IEP paperwork and I saw your child for those minutes every single week. I am so dedicated to your child and all my students that I made up sessions even though I didn't have to. I spent countless more minutes talking to teachers, administrators, making activities, buying activities and setting up a successful environment for your child. I sent home homework and activities over break for you to work on with your child.  I spend a lot of my own money each year to provide the newest of materials for your child and the rest of the students on my caseload. I worked extra jobs so I could do that which was more time away from my family.

At the end of the school year, your child who was moving on to  a new school gave me a HUGE hug, a kiss on the cheek and said "bye minor". This brought me to tears because when I first met your child, there was no production of the sound /b/. Your child went from throwing tantrums because your child had no other way to communicate to three years later being able to tell me "bye minor" using words.  So, when you told me that i don't care about your child. It struck my heart. Please know this parent. I do know your child. Unlike you, your child knows my heart. I would only recommend for your child what I would recommend for my own. A lot of my recommendations came from hours of contemplation over your child's best interest for the remainder of this school year and the for the transition to a new school. I gave up a lot to be able to help your child every day and I make that choice everyday and will continue to make that choice when the new school year begins next year for my new students that I will receive. I love all my students. I love your child. Please keep these things in mind when you want to yell at someone who works with your child.

Mrs. Minor

Monday, June 2, 2014

Summer Zoo Visit Freebie

I was recently at the Zoo and saw many families and children interacting and talking about the animals. I wanted to provide parents with a simple resource to refer to for some simple questions to ask their school age children when at the Zoo to provide for some real life language/vocabulary stimulation. This is an easy sheet to refer to to provide some carryover for vocabulary skills learned during the school year during speech sessions.

Grab the freebie by pressing on the picture above!!!!

Enjoy your time at the Zoo!!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

End of the Year Student Information Page

I always like to have a quick snapshot view of a student at the beginning of each school year. I made a student info sheet to place in the students working file at the end of the year. This will allow any therapist to pick the folder up next school year and not have to do a bunch of research about the student regarding dates and goals/current accuracies.

Pick up the item here!

My first real post (post-baby)!

Hey everyone! I am finally able to squeeze in some time to jot down a post so I decided to let you all know whats been going on in my house.  I wanted to explain where I've been for the last 10 weeks!

My son, Kade, was born on Valentine's Day this year. He turned breach the day before his due date (stupid me tried to get off the couch without asking for help when I was having trouble). I had a c-section the next day! I had a really easy recovery thank goodness--up walking the day of and we got to go home a day earlier than planned.

Kade was a VERY tough baby from the day he was born. He battled really bad reflux and has had issues with that ever since. Medicine didn't help my little man at all and if he wasn't sleeping (which was very little) or eating, he was screaming. It was very very hard on this momma's heart. We ended up going to see a pediatric chiropractor and it helped a lot, but we still battle the reflux every day. I hear from everyone that the baby eventually out grows it, so I am really hoping it happens soon so my baby can have some relief. He deserves it.

Anyways, the reflux (among other things like severe gas and tummy issues), made him not be able to sleep well for the first 6 weeks of his life. After that things got a little bit better, but only until now is it getting much easier for him during the day. When you don't have a baby that sleeps during the day, there is little time to eat, rest or do chores much less be active on my blog FB page or blog.

You all are wonderful and I really appreciate you guys continuing to follow my blog despite this hiatus I had to take to take care of my son. Hopefully now that he is taking some much needed naps during the day I can squeeze in some more time to blog. I look forward to interacting with you guys again and being an active participant in the speech blogging community.

Did any of you guys have a baby with reflux issues? I am really curious what age your babies grew out of it.
Here is a picture of my sweet baby boy! 

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Guest Post! Ways to Spice Up Any Word Therapy! by Allison's Speech Peeps!

Hi there! It's Nicole over at Allison's Speech Peeps today.

I am sooo excited to be guest-posting on Major Speech Pathology Fun with a Side of Gluten Free today! This has always been one of my favorite blogs so I'm honored that Amy's letting me spend a little bit of time with you today. 

Today I'm going to talk to you about some fun ways to spice up word therapy. In my mind, "word therapy" can mean anything from practicing articulation words to consonant-vowel-consonant words to synonyms/antonyms. All you need are some flashcards with words on them. My groups were working on learning sight words this week so that is what I used. 

1. Hide and Seek. 
What child doesn't love the fun game of hide and seek? Even if you have a tiny therapy room, it's nice for the kids to get up once in a while and move around. Simply "hide" target words around your room and ask students to find them. For specific words, I always clarify the word I want them to find. For example, when working on rhyming, my students must find the word that rhymes with "book." If they come across a different word, they must leave it there (shhhh....don't tell anyone!) and remember it for later. 

Can you find my sight words?

2. Light it up!

Grab a small flashlight and display cards with words on the table. Turn down the lights and have students say the words that are in the spotlight. My kiddos love this, especially when practicing articulation words!

3. Jump Around!
Use rings or even duct-tape and place words inside on the floor. Call out words and have each student jump into the ring with the word. This is a super easy way to assess whether they know the words. The kids also love it!

Therapy can become hard to make fun during this time of the year. I hope these ideas gave you some fresh inspiration! Thanks so much for letting me have some time with you!


Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Spring Basic Concepts Freebie

Today I have a spring basic concepts freebie for you all available in my TPT store! This freebie was designed to target basic concepts receptively. I have some relatively low language students in the ID classroom this year, so I made this to help them! It has been successful and they really like the spring clip art! The clip art came from Jenn over at Crazy Speech World! Yay! Grab the freebie here

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Social Skill Products that I fell in LOVE with!

Hi friends!!! I recently got contacted by a sweet lady from Social Thinking® with the opportunity to review some of the products created by Michelle Garcia Winner. I was honored. I had recently heard so much about her and the advancements she has made within the social skills community, so I snatched this opportunity up in a heart beat. Since I was at the secondary level this year (junior high), I requested two items that could specifically target the age group that I provide services for. There are many products to choose from on the Social Thinking® website and they all seemed great!

The two products  I had the chance to use in my classroom and review are: 

Both products were very appealing to the eye when I first received them and the products appeared age appropriate. I often find it difficult to find age appropriate items for my junior high caseload. 

First I will talk about Should I or Shouldn't I?  It is a set of multiple card decks full of age appropriate scenarios for the middle school/high school population. You can see some examples from the pictures below that appear on the website. There are prompt and challenge cards with situation scenarios. There are also number cards. There are many ways you could use the stimulus cards. The way I found the game best utilized in my classroom was to have a student draw a card and answer the question. The other students in the group would then rate the students answer according to the rating scale that each of them were provided with (this comes with the game as well). I then had my students write down WHY they gave the rating that they did. It was really interesting to see WHY and it really ended up in some really beneficial discussion following each stimulus card. We found out that some people take certain words/answer differently and it increased my students social knowledge/awareness even after a few sessions using these cards. 
(Pictures from the Social Thinking® website)

Next, I will talk about Social Fortune, Social Fate. The concepts in this book were spot on and there was one child that has been a challenge for me this school year and when I introduced the concepts of this book, it truly was the "aha moment" he needed. This book is made up of various comics or anime stories that target various social scenarios that could occur for an older student.

(Pictures from the Social Thinking® website)

The anime alone was a hit with my students. There is a social fate and social fortune ending to each comic depending on which way you have the book facing. (See above) I first introduced the concept of social fortune, social fate by explaining how words can determine how someone else reacts. We have some control over how a situation plays out based on the words we choose and how we choose to proceed with the conversation. Many of my students needed to learn that "just because we think it and we think its good to be honest, doesn't mean its the RIGHT thing to say". I think it was another eye opening for my students to learn that social situations are everywhere! Everywhere! I had one student tell me "its like we live in a social world!!". I wanted to say "well DUH!!!!" I was SO very glad he picked up on that by himself though. With my students with social goals, it doesn't matter how many times YOU tell them, it matters when the student has THEIR aha moment and it makes sense in THEIR head. To be completely honest, some of my eighth graders thought the graphics were a little "young", but I still was able to incorporate the concepts of the book into social scenario discussions about situations that were occurring in their everyday lives. 

I highly, highly recommend these products. I don't just say that about all social products. I find it is rare to find products that target social skills that are appropriate and adaptable to fit each of my students and these two did just that! I hope you enjoyed this review as much as I enjoyed using the items in therapy. I think one of the cool things about these products too are the reasonable prices. These items are both under 25 dollars and the quality of the product for that price was impressive! 

I encourage each of you to go look at the Social Thinking® website and see if there is a product that would be beneficial for your caseload.