Use the Backpack Communicator
In the age of digital and online communication, blogger Deb Tomarakos touts the benefits of the old-fashioned "speech folder" to keep parents up to date on students' progress. She includes introductory letters, the school calendar and an update sheet that lets parents know what their child has been working on:
"Old-fashioned or not, I have found that speech folders are an easy way to communicate with parents. While many of us have entered the digital age, our students still come to school with backpacks, and parents search those backpacks for information about their children's school days. My speech folders are created from simple two-pocket folders. Because I work with young students, I wanted to put something cute on the cover of the folder. After seeing many different folders for school organization on Pinterest, I came up with the idea of creating O.W.L.S. folders for speech. O.W.L.S. stands for Our Weekly Lessons for Speech/Language."
Stay on Top of Tech Tools
In her post, "Speech Therapy With a Twist," Cindy Meester reveals the ABCs—apps, books/blogs and connections—that kept her treatment sessions practical, productive and fun:
"I love my Kindle app. I have downloaded many free books for my reading pleasure. But also free ones to use with kids in therapy. One source (more for me than therapy) that shows free apps is BookBub on Facebook. Another source I use is Amazon and search for free Kindle books for kids—lots of choices! I also get free book options from the blog, 'No Twiddle Twaddle.'
"There is a plethora of SLP blogs and SLP Facebook pages this past year. I had listed some on the side of my blog but have not been able to keep up with all of them. What a wonderful way to get new ideas and connect with SLPs!"
Pay Attention to Your Taxes
In a post cautioning audiologists not to hand off their private-practice taxes totally to their accountants, no questions asked, audiology business coach Richard Poage spells out how an accountant's interest in those taxes may differ from your own.
"It is important to realize even a relatively large audiology practice will always be a relatively small part of any accountant's tax business. In most cases today, your return is prepared by someone in your accountant's office electronically uploading your data—a QuickBooks file, probably—into a program and clicking on ‘prepare.' Often there is no complete review, just clearing up an exception report of things that ‘look funny,' which is typically performed by a staff bookkeeper.
"Like in your practice, the patient who comes in every two years for an evaluation and pays you for it is a valuable customer, but not one that you really have the time to know everything about their health care situation."
Teach Skills With Puppets
In her post "Co-teaching Social Skills," SLP Cheri Chin recounts how she and her colleagues missed the mark the first year they tried to engage students with multiple special needs during a half-hour socials skills group. Role playing and book reading dissolved into meltdowns and chaos. Pandemonium reigned. Then she discovered some social skill lessons that involved puppets. They were geared toward preschoolers but actually connected with her older students:
"This year, we hit the jackpot and found some new lessons (http://connectability.ca/2010/10/29/using-the-school-age-social-skills-program-kit) intended for preschoolers. Even though our students were in second and third grade, we figured it was worth trying a new approach.
"These kids are now participating in a social skills group! They talk about the characters outside of lesson time. One of the kids will only enter the room when it is time for social skills group. And other teachers actually come in to watch these lessons. We are that popular. And awesome."