It wouldn't be a proper #instacfy post if I didn't share some tips that I picked up from my CFY, or CF as the true term is now. So, through blood, sweat, and tears here are the things I learned from being a CF:
1. Waiting out behavior truly does work.
This goes for students and adults. When you're a newb, you don't believe that if you ignore a behavior, or wait it out it will stop. Guess what, it will. You know that teacher you keep smiling at and saying good morning to, but she walks on by? Ignore it. Keep doing it, eventually you'll get a response - or at least I did in my case. Alexis - 1, Grumpy - 0! Same goes for the child who is now throwing himself on the floor because he didn't get the card he wanted. That's his choice, you can calmly address it "Bob, when you're ready to come play appropriately you can choose a card," or you can continue to play with the other kiddos and when he rejoins you calmly you positively reinforce. I mean, I really didn't think that worked...I was so so wrong, it's a life saver.
2. Keep it simple.
You're in a meeting, this is your chance to either pass out and die from terror or impress everyone with your super speech knowledge. Fun fact, no one has any idea what you're talking about when you use terms like "lingual lateralization" or "reauditorization". You've now just confused the parent, and looked a little confused yourself. Stick to easy terms and words that people know, which is super hard because you just spent all this time memorizing all those ridiculous medical terms in grad school!
3. Smile, apologize, and if you have to - pull the "mandated" card.
Teachers are under a ton of stress, and you coming and pulling out their kids a zillion times a week/day doesn't help. Be flexible, and I mean super, yoga pants wearing flexible. Hang out in class and work on some goals, take the work with you (sometimes - only when appropriate), apologize for disrupting a lesson and see if you can carry it over into the session, and when all else fails - and I mean you're basically standing on your head balancing a speech notebook and smiling from ear to ear fails - pull the mandate card. "I'm sorry, but this service is mandated and I need to take him/her" always does the trick. BUT and this is a huge, Kim K, BUT be flexible! The world is not going to end if you don't do the linguisystems ditto you printed out that day. Adapt your session to the child and you will save yourself from faculty room torture!
4. Keep EVERYTHING.
...and I mean everything. Every note that you sent, received, or telepathically intercepted. Keep every memo that was given to you, monthly calendar, your own calendar, etc. This is essential to keeping yourself organized, but also covering your butt. Say the preK went on a field trip Thursday, and you cancelled your sessions. Where's your proof? Oh right, it's on the calendar I saved from June! Tadaaa, saved butt.
5. You're not doing brain surgery.
First, Speech is unbelievably, one million percent the most important job in the world...to me and anyone else who is an SLP, or is being helped by an SLP. However, by no means is it the only important job in the world. Understand that speech may sometimes fall to the side if other matters are needing tending to. Don't be offended, and don't feel the need to defend your profession. You're important, you're doing a great job, and you're appreciated. Second, relax. I say this all the time, but no one is going to die if you use the wrong prompt or print the wrong ditto. Feeding therapy is a different ball game, but day to day school therapy - everyones living. If you relax and have fun, the kids will too.
OK, that's a tiny bit of wisdom that I have from this wonderful year! I'm off to tackle my first summer working in an extended year program, with preschool! I'm so excited and can't wait to share my activities and experience with you!
Peace out SLPeeps <3