Avoiding SLP Burn-Out

Speech therapy is a rewarding job. I have to admit it, though: speech-language pathology can be super, super stressful at times.

I remember a few years back, during a particularly difficult time in my career. I was working in an outpatient setting at the time. I have always been a lifelong learner, and I sometimes go a little crazy in my search for answers. I was reading everything I could find. I was taking ceu courses non-stop. If I couldn't attend in-person, I was watching online ceu videos non-stop at home.

speech therapy burn out stressed speech-language pathology article

I want to give my students (or patients) my all. This is a wonderful thing, but I was putting work life so, so far ahead of my own needs that I wasn't sleeping. When I did, I started dreaming about work. I would wake up in a panic, remembering things I needed to do that day. Unfinished reports, visual schedules that needed to be created, materials that needed to be laminated and prepped. I was running on fumes. I had zero energy. No amount of coffee was fixing that.

 I was forgetting why I became a Speech-Language Pathologist in the first place.

 During this time, I was also reading all these lovely articles with speech-language pathology coming up high in a list for "careers that aren't stressful". MMMkay.

Luckily, my family members made me take a step back and focus on "me".

That involved getting back to the gym and going on walks. Those brain breaks we make our students take? We need them too.

When I came in the door, I forced myself to "check out" of work mode. It wasn't easy getting speech therapy off my brain. I needed to do it, though.

 I stopped reading all of the online forums and articles once I'd gotten home from work. I started going to library and checking out "fun" books. My husband and I found some fun shows to watch. I started making more of an effort to eat healthy, real food.

What I learned was this: when I took care of myself, I learned how to be a better speech therapist for my students. We can't be in work mode 24/7. If you find that you're starting to feel burned out, take it seriously.

That might mean taking 10 minutes each day to sit quietly somewhere and enjoy your coffee.

It could mean doing a 15 minute yoga session to unwind before or after a crazy day.

It could mean shutting off social media and walking away from your phone or laptop.

Whatever it is, though, make sure to do it: you deserve it.

Thinking Outside the (Cardboard) Box: SLP Mom Reflections

The other day, I came back from an errand to find my toddler son outside with his babysitter. His clothes were soaked, and he wore the hugest grin on his sweet face. He was squealing with laugher.


What had made him so happy?

His red car, a watering can, and a bucket.

You see, I'm a big fan of modeling language through play. We've played with these exact same toys before.

 I've pushed him in his car multiple times. I've modeled words like "go", "stop", and "turn".

We've gotten out Daddy's large blue bucket, and bounced his ball inside, while I modeled sentences such as, "Ball in. We bounced the round ball in the bucket."

We've pretended to water the flowers (okay, the grass- I'm not much of a gardener) and talked about it as we did it.

My son's creative babysitter, however, thought of a new use for all of these toys. When I came home, they had just finished "washing" his car. I'm certain this activity exposed him to new vocabulary.

Additionally, it was a great reminder for me.

Sometimes, it's okay to not "play" by the rules. His clothes were soaking wet? No big deal. It was a hot summer day, and the experience was well worth it.

Sometimes, we need to use our imagination. The everyday toys and items we have around the house can become anything in a child's eyes.

That's why we currently have a huge fort/ mansion in our play room, made entirely of cardboard moving boxes.

And sometimes, your coworkers (or babysitter) might have thought of an entirely new way to use the same old toys you have lying around your therapy room. Ask them!

Visual Schedules for Speech Therapy

No print Speech therapy visual schedules for Google Slides™! This no prep, digital activity is PERFECT for the busy Speech-Language Pathologist who needs to access a visual schedule FAST!
Visual schedules provide a way to structure your speech and language sessions. Visual schedules assist with transitioning to a new activity, and in my experience, can help reduce challenging behaviors.

I wanted to create a resource that would quickly allow me to go from session to session in a jam-packed day while providing my speech therapy students with access to the structure they need. With this digital resource, you won't need to print out or laminate anything. Seriously! This is huge, and I'm so excited about it! All you need to do is tap! (Of course, if you're using your computer, you'll need to click ;-)!) With EVERY visual schedule included, you can choose to "repeat the activity" OR go back to the "home" slide again. This is a MEGA visual schedule resource which contains 72 ready-to-go "just tap" visual schedules. You can select the schedule you want from a hyperlinked menu. If you don't like my wording for the text, you can edit it. You can find it here.
If you can't find the schedule you need- no worries! I've also included an "open-ended" First/ Then visual schedule. Within the Google Slides™ app, you can click the "+" icon, choose or take a picture, then add it to the pre-made open-ended schedule. You can also type the wording how you'd like (just keep scrolling for video demonstrations)! The "table of contents" page is hyperlinked and will allow you to easily access whatever schedule you'd like!

So here's how to use this resource:

First, you'll click on the link within the PDF. You'll need a Google account (free) and the Google Slides app (if you'll be using this on the iPad).

Here's a snapshot of how to access present mode. (On your computer, you'll simply select "present").

Next, you'll select a schedule..

In present mode, you simply "tap" (or click) after completing a task. The task becomes checked off!

Repeat the activity as often as you'd like, or go back to home and select a new schedule!

You can edit the wording:

You just exit out of "present mode". You double-tap (or just click on your computer) to change my wording and make it your own! (Shown with the "make your own" schedule option). You can edit the text in pre-made or "make your own" visual schedule options.

Still don't see what you need? No worries! You can take your own pictures and make your own schedule. This is the best part!

You'll just go back into "present" mode to use that schedule you created!

I hope this resource saves you a TON of time.

Please note The Pedi Speechie is not affiliated with Google.com or Apple.

Free St. Patrick's Day Speech Therapy Activities #slpstpatrickhop

St. Patrick's Day is ALMOST here, and I am SO excited to announce that FRANKIE IS BACK! I've teamed up (again) with some of my fav SLPs on TpT to bring you FREE St. Patrick's Day Speech Therapy materials! Seriously, we have your entire week planned out!

I'm not sure if you joined us for our #slphalloween hop, #slpchristmashop, or #slpvalentinehop (just search those terms on TpT if not), but it's the PERFECT time to join in on the fun if you haven't already!

Here's how it works. I created a super nerdy, kind of catchy story-song about a frog that adores St. Patty's Day (because, let's be honest... who doesn't?). You can sing this one to the tune of "The Ants Go Marching". Your students won't even mind if you don't have a great singing voice, I promise. Mine don't!

You'll download and print your copy of the story/ song here (and I'd be super, super excited if you left me feedback!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!), then you'll gather the rest of your materials. It's basically like finding a whole bunch of gold at the end of a speech and language rainbow. We appreciate YOU, and would be super grateful if you follow each of our stores on TpT!

Speech Wonderland created an engaging category packet for you! My students have LOVED putting her flip book together in our other hops, and I know they'll be so pumped about this booklet as well!

Next, Sparklle SLP has you covered with story sequencing visuals, smash mats, and sentence flips! This is the perfect way to keep little hands busy during your session!

Working on WH- questions with your students? You will ABSOLUTELY want to grab SLPTalk with Desiree's fabulous freebie...

Phonemic awareness is super awesome with The Speech Owl's help! She created a fantastic, Frankie-style packet to address goals such as rhyming and identifying beginning and ending sounds!

Last- but certainly not least- The Speech Attic has the most adorable, colorful, and fun basic concepts packet for you! You will absolutely be feeling lucky when you download this packet!

Have an amazing, LUCKY St. Patty's Day!

St. Patrick's Day Ideas for Speech Therapy

Hey guys! St. Patrick's Day is almost here, and you can BET that I'll be celebrating this fun holiday in my speech therapy room!

Here are few activities you can try with your students...

1) If you're working on basic concepts, try this activity out to teach "more" vs "less". We just used construction paper and glue!

2. I've been on a roll with creating following directions sets, and my students are LOVING this St. Patrick's Day packet. You can grab it here. (This packet is also available in the holiday bundle. For seasonal themes, check this out). 

3. Leprechaun tic-tac-toe is so legit. This is easy to make. Laminate the board so you can write in any target you wish! We worked on vocalic /r/, but you could just as easily target idioms, categories, or anything else your heart desires!

...oh, and P.S. ... CHECK BACK SOON. I've been working hard with some SLP blogging buddies to bring you something special for St. Patty's Day.

FREE Speech Therapy Valentine's Day Activities

I am SO, so excited because... FRANKIE'S BACK! In case you missed him at Halloween or Christmas... click those links. Your fav frog is back, and I've again teamed up with some amazing SLP blogging buddies to bring you FREE Speech Therapy Valentine's Day activities!

As usual, it all starts with a song. Since my students absolutely love listening to me sing (I really haven't figured out why yet, my voice is terrrrrrible), the words in this story/ song combination pair perfectly with "The Wheels on the Bus". It's all about a frog named Frankie, just basically living the dream, and loving Valentine's Day. I included a color ink version for you, and a low ink version for your students to take home. Download the story here.

Somehow, every time I write these nerdy song/stories, my SLP friends can create incredible materials to go along with them!

So, here we go...

The Speech Owl created phonemic awareness activities for you that your students are going to LOVE...

SLPTalk with Desiree created a super engaging WH-questions packet for you...

Sparklle SLP 's motivating reinforcement, visuals, and sentence flips packet will help keep little hands busy during those drill activities...

and Speech Wonderland loves you so much, she created this amazing categories activity for your students!

Clearly, we adore you and ALL that you do for your students! Hoppy Valentine's Day! We'd be super appreciative if you left us feedback, followed us on TpT... and shared this blog post with pretty much every SLP you know. Because he/she deserves some freebies, too!

Until next time,

Correcting Lateralized Sounds : Articulation Tips for S and Z

I'm incredibly passionate about correcting lisps. I've blogged about this before, created a Correct that Lisp packet, and even put up videos talking about my favorite ways to correct a lisp! Oh, and just so you know... I can never say enough about Sandra Holtzman. I took her 28 hour continuing education course on orofacial myology, and then worked with her while creating my lisp packet. She's brilliant, and her approaches have made me a more confident- and competent- therapist. I know how frustrating it can be to correct a lisp. I also know how incredible it is when you do correct a lisp- and trust me, it is DEFINITELY doable! My new mission is to seriously help all SLPs correct that lisp  like a boss.

The other day, I was working with a student who has made phenomenal progress. This student mastered correct lingual placement of /s/. To do this, I like to use a coffee straw or a wet Q-tip to provide some feedback. After that, we moved on to the whispered /t/. This is just like it sounds: when your student is able to place the tongue tip to the alveolar ridge, you have them gently whisper a /t/ sound. The long /t/ comes next, and that means- gently- adding a controlled burst of airflow to that /t/ to make it "long". That's how I elicit the /s/- I just never tell my students that's the sound we're working on at that point. We move on in a careful progression and actually use final /ts/ words to eventually elicit /s/ in the initial position of words. We're very careful along the way that our selected words don't contain any competing /s/ and /z/ sounds.

Anyways, back to this particular student. We'd elicited /s/ in all positions, actually. This student was an extremely hard worker and had excelled. Now, we happened across a /z/ word in therapy and... the lateralization returned! Don't worry, though: we figured it out, and fairly quickly.

I thought I would share this with you, in case you run across the same situation.

As I mentioned earlier, we used the long /t/ to elicit an /s/ earlier. I reminded my student of this, and how we keep our tongue on the "spot" (aka the alveolar ridge) while producing /s/. We practiced a gentle /s/ in isolation as a review. I then explained about how we use our "voice box" for some sounds. I explained how /z/ is just like /s/: our tongue is still "on the spot", our airflow is still "nice and skinny". The only thing that we need to do now is gently "turn on" our voice box.

I think the true keys to correcting a lisp are patience, correct lingual placement, and a gentle, controlled airflow. 

We'd had luck all along using sounds produced correctly to elicit our other targeted sounds. This was no exception. I modeled a slow, controlled, "Sssssssssssssssss--zzzzzz" and my student was able to follow suit, while keeping the tongue tip to the alveolar ridge. 

We practiced an isolated /z/. Then, we added some vowels as we practiced, with a slight pause prior to saying our /z/. My student quickly made progress because we'd already laid down the foundational skills required: a knowledge of correct lingual placement, coordinated and precise lingual movements, and an understanding of controlled, gentle airflow. 

It might take time, but it is possible.  You CAN do this. You ARE the person your student needs. Never forget that. 

Make sure to go out there and correct that lisp like a boss!

We can keep in touch via email and on TpT!

Until next time, 

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