Thursday, June 28, 2012

Why not just give the kid a bowl of sugar?

I'm not a health food fanatic, and did feed my own children poorly from time to time.  That being said, this was an actual snack a child brought into school the other day.   Please enlighten me if there is anything of redeeming value here.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

iPad Rage

As my friends know, I love iPads and love using them as one of my tools during speech therapy sessions.  They are great for joint attention, communication, motivation, sequencing steps, following directions, academic skills, and countless other uses.  Many of my blog entries are about specific iPad apps that have worked for me.

This summer, during my ESY experience, however, I've encountered a problem---a couple of children new to me must have had virtually unlimited unsupervised access to iPads, developing what I term 'IPad Rage'.  These children see me (a new person to them) with my iPad triggering this sequence of events----

1. I am sitting with a child, starting to open my preferred app to use in therapy
2.  Child says (screams) "IPAD!!!"
3.  Child lunges toward it.
4. Child attempts to yank it out of my hands. (I move it out of reach.)
5. Child flails, hits, or continues to yank.
6.  I put the iPad up high on the nearest shelf.
7. Child attempts to climb cabinets to get it.
8.  I attempt to stop child from climbing
9. Child attempts to bite me.
10.  I take iPad out of the room and hide it.  End of struggle--but unfortunately at least for the next few weeks, no iPad will be used during speech with this particular child.

My colleagues and I have conducted a few presentations with teachers and parents about appropriate iPad use in both schools and in the homes.  Our main point has been if an iPad is to be used as an educational tool, it is one part of a triangle; the other parts being the child and the adult.  An iPad is a tool to help facilitate skills----The iPad doesn't teach; the adults teach using the iPad.  Otherwise, a child, when left to his own devices, will learn that the iPad is another way to disengage with the outside world.

If any of you readers out there have thoughts about this, feel free to comment.  I continue to love iPads and find them to be wonderful tools in therapy.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Let's Make Jellyfish---printable directions

We make happy friendly jellyfish in our Extended School Year program!   The kids made these last year, and I wrote about it here.  Since then, I have learned to post directions to share in Google Docs, so here is the link for the directions in pdf

I put together a very simple communication board for one child, but my main goal for the group was for them to learn the routine of following a schedule, and using appropriate language to request. (Three of the four children could speak.)  The OT was with me (this was a co-taught group), and provided much needed help with the fine motor aspects.  We may end up doing this or similar activity again to develop some Joint Action Routines

Click here to download directions for the Jellyfish craft in pdf.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Finding a voice (or whistle)

I'm at home today.  The Extended School Year contract was for only 4 days a week.  At first I was a little bummed----less pay!  Then I thought---less work!   I have time to watch magical little videos!

The above is a trailer for a slightly longer movie (the trailer is one minute; the movie is five minutes).  The name of the movie is "Whistleless"---about a determined bird struggling to find his voice.  There are no words, just beautiful animation and music. I would recommend you clicking on the link below to watch the full length (5 minute) version. 

I loved this partly because it represents what we want for all of our children---for them to find a voice.
(I also loved the animation and music and so much more....)

With my day off each week, I can reflect a bit on why I like my job. It's shown in the picture below---providing eager children with the tools or skills necessary to communicate.  This can be very rewarding!

SLPs help kids find their voice!!!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Guess the Mystery Food

This sounds like the name of some speech/language game, but no---this is the real summer school lunch.
Feel free to comment!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

What can Dolphins do? Latest printable adapted book

As many of you know, I'm working this summer in the Extended School Year program.  It's a nice job, with great kids, and I'm anticipating that the theme will be around oceans, beaches, sea animals, and fun.  To prepare for this, I've been making a few materials, and the latest is a dolphin book that I grabbed off of Tarheel Reader, revised it a bit, and adapted it with Boardmaker icons. Print the book, print the icons, laminate, cut out the icons, afix velcro, and let the kids match icons to the pictures as you read it.  Expand their knowledge base with questions!  Let them fill in the answers!  The possibilities abound.

   This book is very similar to some previous books I've developed or adapted (cats, dogs, horses, and chimps).  Download free!


icons to use to adapt the book

Click here to download the book "What can Dolphins Do?"

Click here to download the icons in Boardmaker

Click here to download the icons in pdf


Thursday, June 14, 2012

Nostalgic moments

David and I are on a road trip.  This is the week between regular school and ESY, so we always take advantage of this and go somewhere; away; anywhere other than here.......

This year, we chose to return to some old stomping grounds---specifically Lexington and Danville, Kentucky.  Danville is the location of the Kentucky School for the Deaf (my first teaching job), and Lexington?  Lots of memories ---
       Lexington was where I lived when I was little,
                                where my mother died,
                                where my grandmother lived,
                                where my dad remarried
                                where my brothers were born
                                where I met David,
                                where I got married,
                                where I attended the University of Kentucky
                                where I first worked as a speech pathologist
                                where Zach was born......

First job after college---teacher of the deaf

First house for David and me!   Apparently well-loved now by different owners
I relived those days on this trip. I visited with an old friend from Danville (met her on my first day there in 1979!).  I visited with a nephew I hadn't seen in 21 years and met his wife and daughter.  We talked a LOT about family history.
        David and I biked around Danville and around Lexington, and visited our old house.  So many memories have been brought to the surface; I'm awash in them.  How do I return to reality next week? 


Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Letter to Graduate Student Interns in Speech Pathology

I work with wonderful speech-language graduate interns from a great program (University of North Carolina).   These interns help me a lot and I try to help them. They come with a variety of skill levels---some have literally no skills (1st year) while others are nearly ready to graduate.  This letter is addressing not the clinical skill level, but other areas which are not usually measured heavily on their evaluation forms.

Dear Speech-Language Graduate intern!

 For the record, I love graduate speech interns working in my elementary school office.  You all bring fresh ideas, current research, enthusiasm, and desire to do good work.  This rubs off onto me!   You help me be a better speech pathologist, and I'm grateful!  Some of you come from other professions--I've worked with students who were in business, who were eye therapists, and who were artists.  I've worked with students who were mothers, and some who had just left their own mothers.  You are all very interesting and very smart.  You have to be smart to get into the top notch program you are in now!   You are, in fact, in a higher rated program than the one I graduated from, with lots more opportunities to do different things.  I personally would like to take some of the classes you are currently taking, and I heard that some of you took a 'speech trip' to Guatemala.   Take me with you!   

For all of your smarts and enthusiasm, I do have a few tips to help you through the practicum experience.  This list is based on what I've observed collectively---most of you do fine in most areas!  No one is perfect, though, so these are general tips to make your practicum experience an even better one!

1.  You actually may not want to ever work in a setting such as mine (elementary school).  I get it! My life plan was to not work in a school---life plans don't always work out.
      The practicum setting is what it is----you must show enthusiasm on your face when you arrive!  I want to work with someone who wants to work with me.  Force yourself to look like my school is the coolest practicum site ever and where you want to spend your career

2.  You may actually never want to work with children.  You may really not like children.......however, when you are with a child, you need to act like that child is the most special person and the most wonderful person ever.  You need to be five times more enthusiastic than you actually feel.  If the child thinks you like being with him, then he will be reinforced by what you are wanting him to do.

3.  We all have our 'stuff' my case, I have car problems, four sort-of-grown kids, ants in my kitchen, sick relatives, gluten issues, fatigue..... the list goes on.  You have your 'stuff' too.  I understand; however, my problems are not your problems; and your problems are not my problems.  We are in a professional relationship, so we need to focus on the job at hand.

4.  Dress professionally.  Cover midriffs, and don't show all of your distracting tattoos. 

5.  Show up to this practicum site in a timely manner.

6.  Show initiative!   During 'down time', please don't sit at the little therapy table and look at me expectantly. I often have my own work to do, unrelated to what you are doing.  You are welcome to go into any classroom, observe, see how a speech kid is doing, make materials, read a therapy manual, or explore Boardmaker.  In short, I love independence both with the kids I work with and my graduate interns.  

7.  Spellcheck your work.      No additional comment needed here.

8.  Keep track of your own practicum hours.  Use a spreadsheet and do this daily!

9.  Don't expect me to know all of the answers.  I don't!   I work with children from all walks of life and with various disabilities.  I'm totally amazed all the time by some new disability or new variation on a disability.  I don't have the answers----but I problem-solveYou need to learn to do the same.  It's not something you learn from a textbook.

10.  Plan your lessons and show me the plans.  Google docs is a good thing!  Write it all out, and share it prior to the school day.  It then becomes my responsibility to read your plans.

So.....speech-language graduate interns-----it's not so much the coursework in my setting.  Once you have the very basics, it's all about enthusiasm, professionalism, showing initiative, and the nuts and bolts of practicum.

I love you all and I really love it when you tell me that you have your CCCs!   I hope you like my setting; I hope you learn something from me.    I hope you become successful clinicians.


Ruth Morgan, CCC-SLP
Speech-Language Pathologist


Sunday, June 3, 2012

Caching Down the American Tobacco Trail

The trail
 The American Tobacco Trail is a Rail to Trail that my husband and I love.  Today we went bike riding and were on a mission to find three geocaches on the section of the trail that is to be closed next week for a year long upgrade. Geocaching involves using a handheld GPS to find treasure boxes, in this case, in the woods.

This was a fun way to spend a beautiful day.  Check out this if you need to know what geocaching is.

 Cache number one was a bison tube attached to a lizard which was in a tree, deep in the woods.  This was a lot of fun, and easy to find.  The paper log to sign our names was in the bison tube.

Bison tube holds the sign in sheet.

The next cache was deeper in the woods.  We actually missed the trail going in and had to make our way through some dense pine tree stands.

The cache, placed by the same person as the lizard cache, was a dodo bird container.  Again, it was cute and easy to find.  We signed the log, replaced it and moved on!

dodo bird cache

The last cache----very easy!  Kids would love this!

Tool King signing the log