Wednesday, December 28, 2016

My Time Machine

I'm one of the lucky ones---I've had a stable job for 24 years.  So stable, in fact, that I've worked at the same school, IN THE SAME ROOM, all of this time.  When I sit back and think about it, it has become my own personal time machine.  It doesn't seem like 24 years to me---actually time goes by in the blink of an eye.  One minute, you have toddlers, and the next, they're adults.  If you are lucky, you have some constant in your life (a house, a community, and in my case, a room) where you can reflect and observe the passage of time from a position of stability.  As I ponder from my speech room, here's what I know:

  • When I started in 1992, my computer had no hard drive. Everything was 5 1/2 inch floppies.
  • There were only 4 phones in the school (landlines).  A school receptionist wrote messages to us from outside callers and stuck them in our box.
  • The internet didn't exist.
  • IEPs were handwritten on carbon paper.
  • What's 504?
  • What's a computer mouse?
  • What's a cell phone?
  • I had a delightful caseload of about 25 kids; none in regular education classrooms had autism.
  • Augmentative communication was emerging.  Boardmaker wasn't in our school. I hand-drew lots of communication boards.
  • Kids of that time are now some of our parents.  
I feel a little like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz.  As she is in the tornado, she watches her life literally flash before her eyes.  I'm sure you remember the scene. 

 Forgive me for my rambling.  I only have one month left in my time machine.  This has been a great ride.   Time for something new!    

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

PODDs Everywhere!

Hello Friends,

I'm literally counting down the days until I'm no longer at my school.  Retirement is awesome!
 So many doors are opening for me, both professionally and personally and I'm overwhelmed with happiness.

As one final work project, our assistive technology guru (Wendy Lybrand, MS, CCC-SLP) and I submitted a grant to the CHCCS Public School Foundation.  This grant was for each system-level classroom in the district to have a PODD.  What's a PODD, you might ask?  To see one in action, I invite you to watch this video.

So the grant was partially funded.  Our school system will have enough for printing and assembling ten PODD systems.  I'm ecstatic!

This communication system can be used individually or in a small group. I love it because both core and fringe vocabulary are presented, and this invites a conversation between the adult and the child.  At Ephesus, (where I will be working for 48 more days, ha ha), we have two classrooms that will benefit from the generosity of the Public School Foundation, and I couldn't be more grateful. I am leaving the students and teachers with a powerful communication tool in place.  Tears flow.