BLURRED LINES…MOM AND THERAPIST

So, I posted this the other night, and then I removed it. I wrote this post from my heart. I knew it was a little edgy, yet I felt compelled to post. In the morning I reconsidered.  I was worried that it would offend parents so I pulled it. I was approached by some who had seen it before I pulled it and they provided me with some positive feedback. It got me thinking. This is my blog. No one has to like it. These are my opinions. No one has to agree. Other thoughts, maybe this will strike up some conversation, debate, etc…which is all good. I welcome the discussion…

Here is my original post in its raw form…

My son recently wrote his college essay. Of course I think it’s good because I’m his mom ( maybe it really is good ) but because he mentioned me as a “speech therapist”, it had me thinking of other things.. mostly being a speech therapist and a mom…

* note- this post may offend some

So, I think of myself as a Mom first and probably as a Speech Pathologist second. It has surprised me when parents have not understood that I am also a parent. The truth of the matter is , when my kids have been sick, I need to be home. One problem… there’s no sub. I have struggled over this and in turn, have gone to work many days when I shouldn’t have.

After over 20+ years, I have finally given myself permission to stay home. I am forgiving myself for all the years I went into work sick or when my kids were sick. I am learning that I, and my kids, are worthy of a sick day.

My hope, is that all my parents, can recognize me not only as a therapist, but also as a parent , so when life gets in the way for me, there’s a bit more understanding.

From one mom to another…..

Footnote: Here’s the essay that got things going…

Alec Gannon
College Essay

I will be writing until the day that I die. Not because of my love for writing. But because writing will be the death of me. Because when I write, I bleed. Every time my pen hits paper, all the letters and consonants and vowels spill from my veins. I write with my blood. I dot my i’s with cells. I cross my t’s with bones. When I write, I dissect my brain. I pinpoint hidden thoughts, and clenching them with my fists, fingers hooked around the curves of the letters, I beat them against a typewriter. For me. writing is often communicating feelings, passions, emotions, ideas, theories that would otherwise go unsaid, or misinterpreted, or be filled with “likes” and “ums.” It makes communicating easier. It makes expression simpler. There have been thoughts I couldn’t understand until I wrote them. In my mind these thoughts are scattered. However, when I put them into cohesive sentences I solve the puzzle. I am less confused. My thoughts are clear.
I have notes riddled with random ideas, poems, and jokes that I’ve written. Some of them were created to eventually flaunt to friends or family. Some are there because I thought they might one day be useful in a school assignment . But usually they are there because I need to write them down. They are there because if I don’t write them down, I’ll go mad. Because sometimes, I see or feel something that I must record. Because sometimes you’re in the hospital room of your grandmother, gladly telling jokes, minutes after she’s been explained how her cancer has metastasized, and you recognize the beauty in the moment, and her bravery in the face of death, and you are obliged to take out your phone and record it in your notes because her words were meant to be repeated years after she’s gone.
When I encounter tragedy, death, heartbreak, I’ll need to write about it. I’ll want to. But more importantly need to. Because if I don’t, the english language will clog my arteries. I’ll be filled with nouns and verbs from head to toe, until eventually, I explode like a pinata stuffed with dictionaries.
I don’t know if it’s because of my grandfather’s obsession with reading, or the fact that my mother’s a speech therapist, but somehow I am biologically composed to crave writing. My body is wired to be infatuated with others’ writing, and believe in my own. But I write with my blood. So when something’s going to kill me, I better have a pen in my hand to say goodbye.

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GOODBYE SUMMER HELLO BACK TO SCHOOL

I never like to say goodbye to summer and it’s not officially over yet, but tomorrow is the first day of school so it’s time to switch gears. I feel like I’ve made the most of the summer which makes it a little easier to make the transition. I kicked off the summer with an amazing family trip to Costa Rica. We traveled from the west coast to the east coast and spent several days at Tortuguero National Park, only assessable by boat or plane. We zip lined, saw incredible flora and foliage and experienced wild life up close and personal.  Here’s a little look at our trip.

After our trip, I transitioned back to reality and spent 5 weeks providing service for students requiring Extended School Year services. Making the most of the weekends, I spent time exploring the many great beaches Rhode Island has to offer. My favorite this summer had to be the The Charlestown Breachway. Armed with my book and small cooler this was definitely a place to unwind and relax. The crystal clear water with a moderate surf was so refreshing on those hot days. (By the way, you will NEVER hear me complain that’s it’s too hot. NEVER.)

 

IMG_1416

I also tried my hand at a little gardening this summer with a container garden. Usually I just plant a few herbs in pots but this summer I wanted to try some veggies. I probably could have planted the veggies in the yard but decided the bunnies would probably get to them (or maybe it just seemed like more work than containers). I planted tomatoes, squash, zucchini and a variety of peppers. The squash didn’t do that well but everything else has been flourishing. I’m thinking about learning how to pickle the peppers to have them for our annual antipasto on Thanksgiving. container garden2Last but not least, I have worked on some new therapy materials for the fall. I am armed and ready to go for the first several months with some fun new activities. I will be able to target food vocabulary, plurals, pronouns, following directions, expressive language and more while playing Cookie Match Plurals, using open target drill sheets, and packing a lunchbox with food and utensils, all part of my Speech and Language Activities, Lunchroom Edition. You can find it here at my TpT store. lunch time language picAs we move into fall we will be using my new “Scarecrow, Scarecrow” books. These interactive repetitive books are perfect for my students who are challenged with visual attention and need activities with a clear ending.  The related materials also target categorizing, following directions, basic fall vocabulary, spatial and sequential concepts. There is also a black and white companion book that can be sent home for reinforcement or it could be used during co-treat sessions with the OT. You can find this product here.

scarecrow picWe will also be using materials from another repetitive reader “Gray, Squirrel, Gray, Squirrel” which is still in the works. It is a reader that targets fall vocabulary, spatial concepts, following directions and more.  Here’s a sneak peak.

 

gray squirrelIt’s been a busy summer with a good mix of leisure and work. While I’m not really wanting to say goodbye to summer, I don’t really have a choice in the matter. It’s good to know that I’ve made the most of the summer and I’m prepared for a new year ahead. Wishing everyone a great 2015-2016 school year!

What Instagram Has Done For Me

I probably joined Instagram a few years ago and like most social media I belong to, I joined to keep tabs on my boys. I was also interested in seeing what some of my friends had to post as well. I posted an occasional photo here and there but I could go days and weeks without really looking at it. I’m not exactly sure when I decided to start following other speech pathologists, but when I did, a whole online community of generous therapists opened up to me!

Instagram was where I discovered other therapists looking to collaborate on the Newbie Blog Hop, including co-hosts SLP Chelsea and Jen from Speech Therapy Fun. Thanks to them, I have a blog, TpT store and most importantly a new online mastermind group that provides support and collaboration for a group of us who are looking to further our practice and share our information and resources with others.

Recently Jessica from Consonantly Speaking and Kristin from Simply_Speech organized a contest through Instagram. The challenge was to post a different picture each day of the month for May in an effort to raise awareness for Better Hearing and Speech Month. I decided to challenge myself and post a picture each day. I think in the beginning I was so worried about what I was going to post, I  hadn’t really thought much about what I would SEE posted by others.  I am so impressed with the group of therapists who participated and shared their ideas. I know I will be walking away with much more than I put out. Although there are still a few days left, I wanted to share some of my favorite posts from the contest….

Articulation, we all know it can be a little dry, so we are always looking for ways to make it fun and engaging. I know I can easily fall into the comfort zone of my favorites. I will definitely be adding some of these simple, but adorable craft ideas to future artic sessions.

Bubble craft picture from my.speech.er.  Each bubble has a speech target. I will use pictures in the bubbles for my non-readers.

bubble craft

I love this flag craft idea from slptree. I will certainly be using this over the summer.

flag artic

Who doesn’t love spaghetti and meatballs?? Can’t wait to make these meatball speech words with the students. Thanks to talkintime for sharing. spaghetti meatballs

In addition to crafts, we know the little ones love to “feed” animals, monsters and old ladies! I think I need to add Feed the Woozle shared by vlinderct.

feed the monsters

I’m also going to have to get my hands on one of these giant dies like sparklyspeechgirl shared. My kiddos love the smaller foam die. I can’t wait to introduce this giant one! Looks like we could even target some math with this!

die artic

Anyone who has read previous posts knows that I LOVE using arts and crafts in therapy. I’m planning on using both of these crafts this summer shared by speakingofspeech. Bubble prints and oceans in a jar! I have done oceans in cups with jello, and oceans on paper plates with plastic wrap, but never in a jar. Looking forward to the challenge!
bubble printsocean jars

I am an avid reader, although this spring has slowed me down a tad. I love this idea from speech4africa, using speech bubbles in books to target feelings, social thinking and more.

speech bubbles in books

Another great idea to target social thinking by sunshineonaspeechday is using a jello “brain” to identify different types of “smarts”!

brain

I think as a whole, you might not find a group recycling more than slps! We are forever saying, “don’t throw that away, I can use that! I’m just not sure how quite yet.” I love this idea  from slpstephiek for using recycled creamer bottles as bowling pins. Who doesn’t love to bowl??

creamer bowling

As I’ve mentioned in an earlier post, I have been trying to take back the speech room in terms of organization, aesthetics and function. I think there should be an HGTV (is that still a network??) show featuring classrooms and therapy rooms. Anyone else agree?? I love the polka dots and speech sign shared by slpstephiek. I also love these fabric bins shared by puttingwordsinyourmouth,  that look attractive yet are perfect for keeping items/materials out of view.

speech cornerstorage bins

This is one of my favorite finds that I could not wait to share with Kat, the OT. Speakingofspeech shared this food plate to be used with picky eaters. Why didn’t I think of that?!

FOOD PLATE

I love a good quote. the_speech_peach shared this one. I think it should be hung in all classrooms, regardless of grade.

speech quote

This is just a sample of the incredible posts shared by a generous online community of therapists. If you would like to see more, go to Instagram and search #instaBHSM. You won’t be disappointed.