With a new year of speech class just around the corner and having started for some already, it’s time again for many physical, occupational, and speech-language therapists to make their rounds.
It may be that you’re considering a career in SLP in a public school setting – here, we’ll lead you through what you’re likely to encounter this 2016-2017 school year.
Remarkably, 2 of every 5 Speech Language Pathology jobs are found in education and the demand is growing!
SLP Back to School Tips
Although a school year always sounds like a lot of time to make a difference, it’s not always that things run exactly as planned. Absent students, snow days, and other unexpected events can throw off your lesson plans without proper speech class prep.
You’ll be meeting new students and continuing to build skills with familiar faces, so organization is key to pick up this year on the right note. Keeping things orderly in the speech class room is probably your number one priority, helping with everything from efficient skill building to safety precautions.
Once you’ve found peace of mind with an organized environment, it’s time to get familiar with your caseload. Although the only way to truly prepare for your students is getting to know them, it never hurts to gain useful information ahead of time.
Setting up for Speech Class
The first day of school is awkward for almost everyone. There’s nothing better to cool the heat of summer than with some icebreakers – regardless of how bad that pun was. Although adults grow to loathe these tired activities, kids usually enjoy any excuse to tell others what fun things they did over the break.
Not only will these activities help everyone to become more familiar with each other, but also it presents a starting point for individual needs.
After introductions, it’s time to let students know what expectations you have for them this year. Since speech class isn’t on the schedule of every student, it’s not likely that you’ll be an iron-fisted instructor, yet setting firm guidelines can help everyone reach their goals.
To make achieving these goals as efficient as possible, incorporate the internet. From print-out, games, to other activities, the internet can provide you with tools to help maximize each day. Since you need to tailor each session to your student, finding extra resources can present fresh ideas to build skills in new and fun ways.
As much as it can be fun and games, keeping accurate notes and organized records of each session is the bread and butter of your work – especially for IEP meetings.
Being a school’s single SLP can be overwhelming at times, but luckily there are resources available that can keep the stress to a minimum. Some of the best sites we found for SLPs in education were The Dabbling Speechie, Speech Room News, and this list of common practices just to name a few!
Since many schools are bringing more technology into the classroom, it may be that your students are issued iPads — devices that can have a range of benefits for autistic students.
It’s always a little sad to see summer fizzle out, yet the school year is a time for growth and open to many improvements. For all the SLPs in education, we salute you! Hopefully, each year is better than the next, and students can continue to grow under your expertise.