Today's Friday fave is this hilariously awesome video of a little girl turning one of my personal favorite bits of wisdom on her father. As she struggles to buckle her seat belt, she refuses to let him help and reminds him repeatedly (and adorably) to worry about himself. Please enjoy.
"Why fit in when you were born to stand out?" - Dr. Seuss
As clinicians in the schools (or for me, a preschool) we sometimes have to get creative with the scheduling. Against the odds, we inevitably channel MacGYver and manage to make the seemingly impossible, possible. One of the tools in my scheduling bag of tricks is lunch. Lunch means different things to different people - an all too rare moment of serenity, a period of time to cram some food in your face while madly typing away at work, a chance to connect with colleagues in the staffroom... all of the above depending on the day. Sometimes I like to sit with one of my students for a lunch session. This may not be appropriate for all populations (I can imagine the horror on a middle school student's face as I walk across the cafeteria toward his table) but I have found that it is an excellent resource for preschool aged kiddos. Here are a few tricks that can help make your lunch sessions worth while for everyone.
1) Eat your lunch. Sometimes it can feel like you aren't working if you are also eating, but that is not the case. The more natural the setting is, the more you can model and facilitate language functionally.
2) Don't just talk to your student. One of the best parts about working with this age is that in preschool, speech kids are superstars. I get asked constantly "can I come with you?" "When will it be my turn?" "Where are you going?" - it is not uncommon for tears to fall. Naturally, the curiosity continues at the lunch table. Take this opportunity to start conversations between students, bridge communication gaps and help the peers learn how to communicate with your 'friend'. This is especially important for children who have augmentative communication.
3) Observe what the classroom environment is like for the student. I was taken aback the first time I had lunch with the preschoolers. The conversation, the spills, the yelling for "more bread", the peer regulators ("you can't do that"), the see-food eating... the word chaos comes to mind. It is the stark opposite of my quiet, controlled office, and understanding that can help me plan for my students to successfully generalize their progress into the mayhem.
4) Connect with the teachers - maybe start with acknowledging how amazing it is that anything ever gets done in a preschool classroom. This can be a great time to talk about and model some of the strategies that they can use to support the student, or find out what you can do to support them.
5) Let there be silence. Part of what makes lunch sessions hard is that SLPs do not like silence. Don't work too hard to create communicative opportunities, instead make the best of ones that occur naturally. Even though they don't compare quantitatively to trials in the office, their functionality is invaluable.
6) Join lunch periodically, rather than each week. Like all things, lunch sessions can lose their appeal if done too often. Try to rotate kids and classrooms to maintain the novelty. Maybe even keep some lunches for yourself :)
"You can learn many things from children. How much patience you have, for instance." - Franklin P. Jones, American Humorist
Good morning! Who's ready for a long weekend, this girl is? I hope all of you have plans to relax and spend it with friends and family. We are celebrating our short week over here and have a whole-school field day planned for the students.
Molly and Larissa are speech-language pathologists in San Diego, CA, who are looking to share inventive, inclusive, fun ideas for developing communication. This is also their platform for highlighting the many amazing people and resources in the community.