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The First Week in Speech

The First Week in Speech



You’ve completed your schedule. You’ve met all the teachers. You’ve reviewed all the goals. You are ready to start seeing your students for the first week of speech. But, what do you do?? Do you play a game? Do you take baseline data? There are no right answers, but maybe a couple rapport-building activities will set you up for a successful year.

If your students are meeting you for the first time, this is a vital point in your relationship. They have memories of the previous SLP and the routines they had last year. So, you don’t want to make it seem like you won’t be working hard in speech, but you also want to establish yourself as a safe, fun, engaging teacher, too. These are a couple of strategies I use when I begin speech sessions for the year.

1) Meet them with a smile. It’s amazing how far a smile and good attitude can take you.
2) Give them a tour of your room. Where they will put their folders, the materials you will use, and the seats they will be at. I always like to make them feel as comfortable in my room as I do.
3) Use this FREE RESOURCE to play break the ice games and get to know your students.
4) Complete a speech book so that your students will know their goals and understand why and when they will be coming to speech.
5) Set expectations. You’ll want to let them know the expected behavior in speech and reward that behavior when you see it.

I hope this gives you a good amount of material to complete for the first week in speech. Let me know your ideas for the first week in the comments!
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Lacee Johnson
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10 Tips For Surviving Your First Year At A New School

10 Tips For Surviving Your First Year At A New School



How to survive your first year at a NEW school

1. Schedule a tour at the school prior to your start date to meet the administrative staff, secretaries, maintenance staff, and teachers if available. This is a great time to pick up your keys and introduce yourself to some important people. In my experience, the school secretaries and maintenance staff are some of the most helpful people on campus, especially when you’re the newbie!
2. Get a map of the school and learn the layout. You’ll want to know where the gymnasium, lunchroom, ELL class, computer lab, and library all are. Most likely, your kids will be in these places when you go to pick them up for speech.
3. If you are at multiple schools, get to know the procedures for signing in and signing out of your school. The principal is a great resource when it comes to questions like this. Some schools have a strict policy in case of fire alarms or emergencies, they will need to know to account for you or not.
4. Check out your therapy room and determine what furniture you need or don’t need. Do you have enough tables and chairs? Do you have a locked filed cabinet for your speech files?
5. Go through the speech materials left over (if any) and determine what you don’t need AND what you may want to order. Think about your caseload and find out if you have any sort of budget to spend on new materials. (Fingers crossed!)
6. Review your caseload and IEP system. Meet with the school psychologist to find out if you had any new transfers over the summer or any new students that need attention. The school psychologist can be a wonderful resource when it comes to the special education system. Usually, they are super helpful when it comes to paperwork and IEP meetings.
7. Set up email, phone, and voicemail with the IT department. Keep their number handy in case you have any technical issues. Find out which printer your computer prints to and test it out to make sure it works. You will be printing A LOT of paperwork!
8. Attend any back to school breakfasts, staff meetings, or school events and make yourself available to teachers and parents.
9. Bring coffee or treats at some point and invite everyone to come introduce themselves if they haven’t already. I keep a Kuerig in my room all year and it is the best relationship builder. I mean, what teacher doesn’t love coffee?
10. Don’t be afraid to ask questions!! Find a staff member that you click with and lean on them for advice and knowledge during this first year!

Good Luck!
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Lacee Johnson
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It's the SEVENTH of May!

It's the SEVENTH of May!


Do you know what that means?? On the 7th of every month during the school year, hundreds of SLPs on TpT select one item and discount it 50% off for the day! All you have to do is log on to teacherspayteachers.com and search #may17slpmusthave in the search box. Then, shop until you drop! I wanted to share with you what I have selected this month. It is perfect for summer practice and a great way to impress the families you work with.


This product is a resource that I give to parents, teachers, and other professionals right before school gets out for the summer. Included are ten, free – low cost activities that parents can do to elicit speech and language skills over the summer. Specific examples along with activities are provided to bring awareness and knowledge to parents that have kiddos with language disorders. Target audiences for this product would from PreK-5th grade.

Activities are all in black and white and there is no prepping needed except for stapling and handing them out!

Page 3- Zoo Activity
Page 4- Camping Trip
Page 5- Lemonade Stand
Page 6- Ice Cream in a Bag Activity
Page 7- Picnic
Page 8- Beach/Pool Day
Page 9- Take a Drive
Page 10- Gardening
Page 11- Sports
Page 12- Read

You can find this resource HERE!

Happy shopping!!
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Lacee Johnson
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What Keeps You Up At Night?

What Keeps You Up At Night?



Let’s face it. Our jobs are hard. Emotionally hard. Most of us work with students with low-socioeconomic status, broken families, and problems we have never experienced. Thinking about what our students do after they leave the safe walls of our school is troubling. Do they have a hot meal? Are they getting proper hygiene? What if they don’t even have a bed to sleep on? Ugh. These thoughts always cross my mind. This keeps me up at night.
Constantly thinking that I’m not good enough. I don’t have enough experience or expertise in a certain area. I didn’t take that stack of paperwork home so now I am overwhelmed and frazzled. My day is crazy busy, as I’m sure yours is too. This keeps me up at night.
Am I doing enough? Am I enough? Am I really trying my best? This keeps me up at night.

I am reminded by these bible verses that I Am Enough.

Psalm 138:8 The LORD will fulfill his purpose for me; your steadfast love, O LORD, endures forever. Do not forsake the work of your hands.

Philippians 4:6-7
6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Have a wonderful and peaceful week!!
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Lacee Johnson
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Parts of Speech Wall Decor

Parts of Speech Wall Decor


This is the perfect addition to any speech room! What is better than having cute, functional decor hanging in your speech room? Use this parts of speech wall to complete a bulletin board or fill up a blank space in your therapy room. Included is three different color options: Pink and blue, pink/teal stripes and teal, and rainbow! 

This wall is perfect for incorporating speech and language concepts into any activity. Have your students choose a verb, antonym, or adjective and use it in a sentence. Ask them to give you the past tense form of the verb or answer a WH question about a noun! The possibilities are endless!

You can grab it HERE!
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Lacee Johnson
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How To Push Through The Mid-Year Slump

How To Push Through The Mid-Year Slump


If you’re anything like me, the Springtime is the hardest part of the school year. The newness of the year as worn off, and frankly, so has my enthusiasm. I think the months of February-April are super tough to get through. But, this year I have taken a new perspective in hopes to try to make the best of it. In case you’re in the same boat, I wanted to share some tips that have helped me this year.

Tip #1: Self-care. It is easy for us as caregivers to want to please or help everyone around us. This means we rarely put ourselves first. My advice to you is to be selfish at least once a day. Go grab that Starbucks you have been itching for or leave for lunch to grab the smoothie bowl you’ve been eyeing. Take time to really connect and unplug with the world. For me, I’ve been sitting out side with my dogs and leaving my phone inside. You will be surprised on how much you hear and see when you aren’t glued to your phone. This weekend, I had my husband drop me off at my favorite clothing store and I bought a dress that wasn’t on sale and I didn’t feel guilty about it. Every now and then, I deserve a pricey dress.

Tip #2: Make a list of things you are looking forward to. We are going to Europe this summer (Yay!) and I haven’t had time to plan our itinerary. I finally set down and listed things on my bucket list to do while we're there and suddenly, June doesn’t seem so far away!

Tip #3: Re-energize, even if it means taking a personal day. This may be unreasonable for some, but trust me, if you take an entire day to do as you please (which for me is loads of unstructured, unplanned time) you will feel ready to seize the day tomorrow.

Tip #4: Find new activities to do with your students. Try out a new sensory bin, or a fun craft to get them excited about therapy. If you are having fun, they will be too!

I hope these tips help you navigate through these long months of the school year. Thanks for reading!!
P.S. Here is the t-shirt dress I bought. It is from Madewell and I am obsessed. :)

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Lacee Johnson
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Working with Students with Autism...What I've Learned

Working with Students with Autism...What I've Learned



So you’ve transitioned to a new setting or your caseload this year has a heavy autism population. What do you do? Don’t freak out and think about all the things that you are insecure about, or all the things that can (and probably will) go wrong. You are smarter than you think. You know more than you think. This population can be extremely rewarding to work with. Do not fret. You can do this.

When I think of what I’ve learned in the small but valuable time I’ve primarily worked with this population…I think of three things. I'll call them the Three P's.

Pairing. Patience. Perseverance.

Pairing.
You may be thinking, what does this lady mean? Pairing is a common term used by ABA therapists. In laymen terms, pairing is basically establishing and maintaining positive rapport with your child. You want them to see you as a positive reinforcement, someone they can trust, and someone who plays and rewards them. In the beginning, this may feel like wasted time, as much of your pairing will be child led, unstructured time where you are simply building a relationship. During the pairing process, you will find out valuable things such as, what the child is interested in and how to establish yourself as a reinforcement. This way, you can gain instructional control and create an environment where social engagement can happen! There is no set time for how long or how often you do this. From personal experience, I never stop pairing. I had a recent experience with a new client that was super hard to reach. I honestly felt like I was getting nowhere. We spent our sessions spinning in a chair, drinking chocolate milk, and playing games on the iPad. BUT, something amazing happened. Our last session, he immediately ran towards me upon arrival, greeted me with a hug, and I was able to increase my demands of requesting, “Spin Me” and “I want chocolate milk.” on his AAC device. I may or may not have cried. I try to pair at the beginning of every session, if the opportunity is there. It really is nothing more than having some FUN with your kiddos. This leads me to my next tip…

Patience.
You may find that you do not see a lot of progress at a fast pace when working with children with autism or children with related disorders. If you are used to working with students who have mild articulation or language disorders, this may come as a shock when you spend weeks teaching ONE preposition word. If I’ve learned anything from working with students with autism, I’ve learned how to be patient. You may trial and error multiple different interventions from Discrete Trial Training (DET) to Natural Environmental Teaching (NET). Find what works with your student. Patience has made me a better clinician. I feel that, the longer the time it takes to teach a child a skill, the better the reward when it finally clicks. And last but not least…

Perseverance.
The official definition is, “The steadfast in doing something despite difficulty or delay in achieving success.” Do not give up. The best reward comes when you finally reach the child on their level and they become successful. It is no easy feat to do what we do every day. You are a rock star therapist!

I would love to hear about how you manage your difficult caseload population. Feel free to share your tips with me!


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Lacee Johnson
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