A Speech Pathologist’s New Year’s Resolutions
As we move into January, I want to write down my resolutions for 2014. I’m not usually big into setting resolutions, but re-evaluating your clinical skills is part of growing into a better clinician. For me, it’s important to be challenged and to keep increasing my knowledge and skills. So here it is – my list of SLP goals for 2014.
Use Data as Best I Can
I am fairly confident that I take a good amount of data. I also feel that it is quality data (my graduate program was big into data collection).Where I want to improve is using that data. I use my data when it is time to write progress notes and write new goals but I think I can improve. If I schedule a weekly twenty minute period where I go over my data sheets, it will improve my session planning. I know it’s not easy to find extra time in the day so my plan is to schedule that time in to one of my planning periods. I can use the information I’ve kept to plan what direction I will take in the next sessions. This goal is definitely attainable (as long as my planning time isn’t overloaded with report writing and IEP meetings…) as long as I keep a “make it work” attitude.
Get the Most out of Groups
I run a couple of large group sessions with about eight students in them. I know that size isn’t ideal but it is a reality in public schools. With so many students in one session, I want to do a better job of addressing all of their goals. One way I do this is by splitting them into two separate groups and each do an activity focusing on shared goals. This has an obvious shortcoming – I can’t be in two places at once. Another idea is to focus on individual goals for one session and rotate through. This is doable because my students in separate special education classes typically have similar goals. Also, most lessons will benefit everyone because there is always a communication and social piece.
Collaborating with Colleagues
I’m around teachers and other members of students’ IEP teams daily. I want to utilize these resources and also spread what I know. To do this, I plan to turn time that I would spend chatting with my colleagues into time that I spend discussing students and brainstorming ideas to help them succeed. For my students in the high school who take regular education classes, it is important that I stay in touch with their teachers. This is also a difficult task because they have five different teachers throughout their day. One way to achieve this goal is to frequently speak to their special education liaison. This is the member of the TEAM who is the contact person for a particular student. Often times they have taught the student in a study skills class as well. If I make a plan to regularly email and talk to my students’ liaisons, I can better be informed of their performance in classes.
Keep in Touch with Parents
At the high school level it’s difficult to stay in contact with parents. The students are older and don’t need notes sent home after every session. I do think check-in’s with parents would benefit myself and the students. I’m also betting that parents would be on board. It could be as simple as an email or call home each month. I’m also thinking sporadic contact when something new happens in sessions such as the student does a great job with something. I really think this will help everyone involved – parents, student, and myself.
As a newer clinician I consider myself pretty tech savvy. I love using the iPad and incorporating apps into my sessions. There are some specific resources available in my work settings that I want to take advantage of. Finding time to play around with them before I use them has been holding me back. One example is “mirroring up” my iPad to the classroom’s SmartBoard (an interactive white board). This is a fancy term for the iPad syncing up to a larger screen. That way, I can have the interactive SmartBoard, mimic my iPad screen so I can use the iPad for group lessons. My plan is to use my best friend Google to search how to connect the two pieces of technology. No more excuses.
Stay tuned for follow up posts on how I’m doing with my resolutions. I’m hoping that they will be easier to accomplish because I broke the tasks down and made a plan for each. It’s all part of evolving into an experienced clinician-hopefully one that keeps her resolutions. Let us know what your resolutions are this year! Tweet your thoughts/comments to us or go on our Facebook page.